Mystery of History Timeline Meets Summer of Design

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What do you get when you cross a Summer of Design with Mystery of History?

A creative historical arts project!

Here’s how to make a gorgeous (dahling!) timeline board:

First, you need to make chocolate pudding.  Or chocolate cake.  Something chocolaty, anyway.

Then, take the empty cocoa container and pour in some school glue.  About 1/4 cup for starters.  (You could use any container, technically.  But who wants to be technical when chocolate is involved.)  Smile


Pour the Glue

Stir in about half as much water, or until it gets thin enough to spread easily with a paintbrush or foam brush, but not so thin that you could pour it on your cereal mistaking it for milk or a non-dairy alternative.

Gather fabric remnants, scissors, and a heavy-duty cardboard trifold display board (aka tableau de presentation robuste), found at most office supply stores.

Display Board

Cut fabric into odd shapes (for a crazy quilt effect) or into neat squares, diamonds and dodecahedrons (for a tailored, well-thought-out mathematically precise quilt effect).  Guess which way we cut?

Cutting the fabric

Don’t worry about all those little fringes and loose threads.  My mama would say, “It gives character.”  And I would add it adds texture, if I may so freely admit my lack of desire to cut with precision.

Before gluing, make sure the board is placed on a surface that doesn’t mind getting a bit of glue on it, and tuck newspaper or magazine pages under the flaps so glue doesn’t drip between the crack, forever gluing your display front flaps to your display back. Not a pretty picture when the goal is to have a free-standing trifold display.

Lay newspaper


Paint a little glue in the general area of your first fabric swatch position (the above picture was taken after the process had begun) then mash the fabric piece onto the board.  Continue the repetition, paint-mash-paint-mash-paint-mash until the two outside flaps of the board are completely covered.

Glue fabric piece by piece

The  next picture is a close-up shot, so you can see the paint-mash process in detail.  The stainless steel bowl holds fabric swatches because it was getting quite confusing figuring out which swatches had been mashed and which ones awaited mashing.

Timeline decorated with fabric scraps

More paint-mash-paint-mashing and the board is nearly covered!  The edges need a few special shapes, which are easily trimmed to fit.  If edges hang off the, uh, edges, they can be easily trimmed with scissors after the final glue-down when swatches have less inclination to wiggle around.

Crazy Quilt Timeline Board

The final step is to take a wee bit thinner wash of glue/water and carefully paint the entire fabric-covered surface.  Using a foam brush helps keep the mashed fabric in place, while the fresh layer of glue not only keeps the mashed fabric mashed, but helps sturdy-ify the whole project.

This last bit of advice is nearly as important as the rest of the instructions combined.  Create and post a sign similar to the one pictured below:

Do not touch

Let everything dry overnight or at least a solid few hours.  This particular board will be used throughout the year at our homeschool co-op group.

I’ll show you the finished product and the prettified insides of our timeline chrono-canvas next Monday!  Be sure to sign up for email updates to keep in the timeline loop.  Smile

Happy Decoupaging!


REALITY CHECK Something sweet about getting back to a routine, a schedule, a plan, a timeline.  And something sweet about knowing fall will be in the air (fairly, hopefully, dreaminingly) soon.  I can smell the cider brewing!


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