17 May 2012

Real Post Packages for Imaginary Wizards: Second of Four

I recently reported (here and here) on the be-costumed movie night I enjoyed with some of the cast/world builders of the past summer's wizarding event. One fun aspect of the evening was the delivery of the post.  Last summer only the kids received mail and that was fine as it fit in with the storyline we'd created for the day.  But everyone likes to get mail!  So I had fun creating some for some of our school of magic faculty.

Image source/credit (left)                                           

Our Professor of Muggle and Magical Studies is quite the dashing dresser in real life.  He would look perfectly at ease in one of the bow ties above.  He has a bit of the Lord Peter Whimsey way about him (the Edward Petherbridge version). An especially amusing part of the summer's event was this elegantly dressed professor teaching the young First Years how to dress so as to properly pass in non-magical society.  As he himself was simultaneously wearing a long dress tie and a bow tie, the results were entertainingly discombobulated.

The item for the Professor's post package was a SpellCatcher. In its previous, non-magical life it had been the container for a very large, very smelly bottle of bath perfume!  I recognized its true nature immediately one day at the Salvation Army Family Store, a resale shop west of here.  I removed the stinky bottle and cleaned up the glittering pyramid.  

The SpellCatcher was about 8 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide.  I had no box in my vast stash of boxes that would fit it.  So I cast my eyes about me and what I saw was this sitting on a pantry shelf.

Clearly something had to be done to 'demugglefy' it!  Step 1 was to locate a large cardboard box to use as the painting box.  Step 2 was two coats of blue spray enamel (the leftover paint from the House Keys I made for the summer event).

Step 3: a smattering of gold spray paint to give the surface a bit of depth and blingitude.

Step 4: the proper packaging labels (so that the folks at the wizarding warehouse would be able to quickly and correctly identify the item for shipping).  These I made using Microsoft Word.  The graphic was the same one I made for the letterhead stationery I used for the Professor's letter (below).  I tinted it blue to match the box color.

The font I used on the SKU label is called "Keypunch."  You can download it for free here.  The round target shape to the left is actually another font, pumped up to 48 point size.  The font is called "CropBats AOE" and is free here at DaFont, an excellent resource for fonts.  The barcode is a graphic I grabbed from Google Images after searching the term barcode

Now, on to the letter and packaging.

As with all five of the letters our school of magic faculty received, the return address reflected the international nature of the company behind all of their packages.  As a side note, I researched street names and address styles for the five countries the letters and packages were fictionally posted from.  My best examples were usually those of hotels.  I modified the numbers of the buildings and zip codes and, occasionally, altered the spelling of the street names.

The envelope & letter were typed on an Underwood 319 - a 1970s-era portable typewriter (pics of this machine can be seen at this earlier post). The ribbon was the black/red kind, so I utilized the red for the product name. The postage stamps were real, in this case from the Netherlands.  The cancellation and Par Avion marks were from my personal collection of postal-related rubber stamps.  The large Owl Post stamp was the one I designed for the event and had custom made for all our postal work.


Professor E--------- E--------- A--------- T-----------
North American School -- -------------- --- ----------
Middle Western Region
North American Continent
ACME Spellmaster Magical Encasement Co.
Dam 8, 1013 JA Amsterdam
The Netherlands
9 March 2012

Dear Professor T----------:

We at ACME are happy to announce the establishment of a new Division in SpellMastering.  After several years of dedicated Research and Development on spell binders and enchantment snares, we have entered the Beta Test Phase for our premium level model: The Celestial Gold 1.0.  The design algorithm for the CG 1.0 utilizes a proprietary formula to contain the spells that have been inadvertently cast by inexperienced and newer students of magic.

As a Preferred Customer we invite you to be among the first to experience the newest and best in wizarding safety.

In conjunction with this letter you should soon be receiving a newly minted CG 1.0 (Production ITEM: 931004) spell catcher.  The User Guide and Service Manual are available as downloadable apps at our website.

Should you have any questions, our R&D scientists are available Monday - Friday from 7:30AM to 4:37PM at FLOO: ACMESAFESPELL.


Fantasia Louisa Fanderoll
Chief Marketer

The packaging for this item, as for all the others, was heavy brown wrapping paper.  I will use other paper to wrap packages, but for this kind of fictional game, I prefer the the old fashioned "flavor" of brown paper; it makes the package seem a bit timeless! 

The stamps matched those on the Professor's letter - from The Netherlands.

I used cotton crochet cord to tie it up. (I never use tape or glue for these 'old timey' packages, which adds to their really real quality.)  To make the box look a little worse for its travels, I scuffed it with colored chalk. The cancellation marks, Special Delivery, and Received marks were from my postal rubber stamps stash.  The blue By Air Mail sticker I made using Microsoft Word.  (I make 'em by the whole sheet, using address label sticker sheets I get at my local office supply store.)


One thing I noticed, and it was a delight to me, was that my friends/wizardly colleagues opened their packages very carefully so as not to tear the wrappings.  And afterword, they carefully re-wrapped them.  As the gift giver, this pleased me; as the artist I loved seeing that the things were seen and valued on all their creative levels: outsides as well as insides.


See also:  Real Post Packages for Imaginary Wizards: First of Five
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