Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Paper Moon Project

The minute I found out that this year's prom was going to be at the Museum of Aviation with a "Fly Me to the Moon!" theme, I knew I wanted to build a paper moon photo booth.  These were popular in the 1920's when people would pay 5 cents to get a picture of themselves sitting on top of the moon.

 I started with an 8' X 4' piece of birch plywood, which costs about $20.  Then I taped a piece of string (about 4' long) to the middle of the board's side, and the other end of the string to a pencil. The string served as a radius, which I used to draw a semi circle.  I moved the tape off the board and changed the length of the string for the inside of the moon.  This took several tries. I added a nose and lips with my pencil.  The moon leaves a lot of empty space on the board, on the inside of the moon, and the corners. I used as much as possible to make various sized clouds and a star.  Then I got busy with a jig saw, cutting out each piece.

I painted the moon and clouds using house paint samples and acrylic. Then I cut small (3"- 5") pieces from a 2X4 piece of lumber, and nailed one or two wood blocks to the front (from the back) of a large cloud, before covering the front of the wood piece with a smaller cloud. This allowed for the clouds to stand on their own and give some dimension. Because I used finishing nails, touch up with white paint was very easy.  The moon was drilled to the front of a backless bench with 2 screws!

We covered cushions with black fabric and set them on top of the bench.  The moon was thick enough to stand on it's own, but we drilled the left over 2X4 to the side of the bench and tacked the top of the moon to it with a finishing nail, just for good measure. 7 ' long black fabric hung from a railing (we stapled it to itself) and then strings of paper stars spray painted gold hung down for bling.

If I had to do it again, I'd probably raise the bench on a little platform, so feet would dangle. I'd paint the support bar black, in case the photographer gets a bad angle and it shows. And I'd find a second light source (we used a shop light) so that there weren't such dark shadows coming form one side.

I used a 2nd piece of 4 X 8 plywood to make two more photo booth type areas, based on the hundred year old French film, "A Trip to the Moon."  I wanted the dance to have a vintage feel. The large man in the moon didn't work as well as I'd thought because people stood in front of it and all you could see was the eyebrows of the face. But the I cut holes for the rocket windows and people peeked out of those for some cute pictures.

For the dance floor I made 6 PVC pipe 8' X 8' squares, with cross bars at the bottom (2' legs coming out each side). We tied tulle around the middle, and strung it with lights. These frames weren't as strong as I would have liked and the logistics of hanging the lights was more complicated than I thought it would be, but it did add a nice visual to the dance floor and since nobody sneezed, they stood all the night.

I was given a decorating budget of $350, including the helium tank and balloons (which took about $100 from the budget).

As a teen, I lived for dances! I was happy with a gym, a handful of friends, good music, and maybe a package of cookies on a table. Although, I still believe that you shouldn't need much to have a good time, every once in awhile it pays to go the second mile and have a little fun with the process. 

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