Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Toy Box Part 2

Yesterday we finished up with the conservation and structural stabilization of a 1950s Children's Hospital toy box. Today we are continuing with the restoration. The flap that was added that was part of the missing section from a side of the box, the patch over the corner and all of the small tears needed to be addressed. This was done through a combination of airbrushing and detail work.

Gabe took care of the masking, starting off with the yellow of the crescent moon. 

Pictured: The acetate mask was done by Gabe, so that once Aaron had matched the color of the moon he just had to evenly cover the open area.

Pictured: Progress shot of the airbrushed moon, it's only partially finished.

Pictured: Tada! New moon!
The next step was to airbrush the blue-green background color. This meant masking off all of the yellow and the print on the box. Its also really obvious here why taking apart the box to make it lay flat made it easier to work on. Imagine trying to prep, mask and airbrush on a three dimensional object (we've done it, but man it's not fun).

Pictured: Progress photo of the background airbrushing.

Pictured: Aaron builds up multiple layers of paint to create the right look for each block of color.

Because the box had to be folded up again, we were circumspect in our use of airbrush, preferring to paint only those areas that were larger. This left the restoration of the small tears to be detailed by Melissa.

Pictured: Melissa trimming down a rough spot before painting.

Pictured: I think this is the first photo we have ever included of Melissa's marvelous watercolor box. I believe she has more than 60 basic color options and as you can see she creates her own to precisely match whatever she is working on.
Unlike with a poster, our job wasn't finished once the airbrushing and detailing was done. The box needed to be refolded and put back together. This was a delicate job, for the obvious reasons. Crease the wrong place and not only would the box fit together incorrectly, we could also damage the areas we had already fixed. John and Melissa worked on this part together. The edge of a table is a natural place to make straight fold lines with things like this, however, our tables are pretty beat up, so John used a piece of plexiglass to help create the necessary straight edge we needed. Then they carefully began refolding all of the flaps and corners.

Pictured: John and Melissa, seeing how the first fold goes. In the foreground here is a Picasso.

Pictured: The first fold went well, so they continued.
After all of the flaps had been folded, it was time to put it back together and see how everything looked.

Pictured: John and Melissa putting the box back together.

Pictured: John and Melissa examining the box after folding it back together.

Pictured: A closer shot of one of the sides of the box after restoration.

The box came together nicely, except for one or two areas that needed a little more attention. However, Melissa was able to handle those minor fixes easily .

Pictured: Two areas had broken during the folding process, but Melissa handled those easily.

After repairing the last minute fixes, John and Melissa took the box up to the front for its glamor shots.

Pictured: John got a great shot of Melissa holding the box.

Pictured: Top of the box.

Pictured: Final photo of the box after conservation and restoration.
John just gave me a history lesson about this toy box, so now I'm passing it on to you. This box is a British toy set from the 1950s when England was in an economic depression after WWII and children's toys were extremely expensive. This means that not as many were produced and so to find a complete set, particularly with the box is extraordinarily rare. The collector who brought this in has several sets of the toys that go inside, which include two beds, two children, two end tables, a flower bouquet, two nurses and a doctor. As far as we know this is one of the only full sets remaining. So it was an incredible treat to work on it. And when the owner came to pick up the box he brought in the toys that go inside and let us take a few pictures:

Pictured: Children's Hospital toy box and set. The rubber band wrapped around the child in pink is original to the set.
The owner was so excited and thrilled with how the box turned out. I think he originally meant to sell it, but once he saw the final product he just couldn't let it go. And who could blame him! This is a wonderful piece of history and we had so much fun working on it.

It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at postermount@aol.com or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: http://www.postermountain.com and http://www.lapapergroup.com/. Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!

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