I had first envisioned my version of Jen Neitzel’s Authentic Happiness list as a fabric-covered bulletin board divided into thirty squares where I could pin or velcro small squares of paper.  I wanted to be able to have a ‘permanent’ board where I could change out old things for new things as the mood struck.

When I decided to work on it this last weekend, I started to think of what I had around the house that I could make the board out of.  I have so many ideas and start so many projects, that if I don’t first think of what I have on hand, I end up with an avalanche of craft supplies, half-used and waiting to be finished off.

As I took inventory, I nearly tripped over the backing board and glass from a rectangular three-part wall frame that had fallen apart almost as soon as it was given to me as a gift.  I had already crafted the wood frame (along with some wide cloth ribbon leftover from a gift-wrapped birthday present) into an earring holder that hangs in my room. I’ve literally been moving this glass and board from one corner to another as I put my house together, slowly, after moving in last summer. I was sure, as all crafty packrats are, that I would find the perfect use for this.  No throwing it out – that’s sacrilege.

My packrat tendencies did not let me down. Bam.  Here it was: the perfect use.  I decided to paint some sort of skeletal/line design on the glass and keep the scraps of paper wedged between the board and the glass, allowing me to change it out while keeping the paper from curling or falling off or disintegrating.  Almost like my happy things were little pressed flowers tucked behind transparent images.

So I set out to put it all together.  It took me one evening from start to finish and here’s what I needed:

  • backing board and glass from disassembled frame
  • acrylic paint and small brush
  • image to lay under glass (I needed this as I can paint with precision but lack organic drawing skills – if you can freehand, more power to you).  I chose a graphic set of lungs and a line drawing of an anatomical heart.
  • Mod Podge and brush or foam applicator
  • Paper (I used old scraps of construction paper as well as some scrapbook paper I had in my stash)
  • Four small/medium binder clips (this is what I had on hand, you can also use picture clips if you want it to look more official)

Step 1:

The first thing I did was clean the glass and set out to paint it.  I used acrylic paint instead of glass paint so that I can wash or scrape it off in the future if I change my mind about or get tired of those images.  I placed the image under the glass and painted.  I chose to paint on the top (as opposed to the backside of the glass) so that it would add texture and also to avoid it rubbing or scraping off as I change out the scraps of paper underneath.

Step 2:

I used Mod Podge to glue the scrapbook paper to the board so that there was a subtle background design.  I weighted the paper down as it dried with whatever I had on hand. Once dry, I coated the top of the paper with Mod Podge.  This is optional, but I wanted to be sure that as I pull papers off and attach new ones, that I don’t tear the background image. (You can definitely skip this step and leave the chipboard background as is.)

Step 3:

I cut scraps of paper to write on and cut out small photos or stickers that represent the things that make me smile, the things that bring me joy. I used museum putty to attach them so that I can simply pull them off and reuse that putty for the new scraps of paper.  (I had this on hand, but if you don’t, it costs only a few dollars for a deceptively large amount and can be used for all sorts of things – I also used it this weekend to attach wallpaper samples to my wall so I can decide which pattern I like without damaging the paint.)

Step Four:

I placed two binder clips on the bottom of the glass and board to keep the glass from succumbing to gravity and then I placed two on the sides very close to the stop.  This is more than secure enough to keep it all together and allows me to easily un-clip and change out whatever I want.

Step Five:

Hang it.  Wherever you want.  I put mine in my dining room which is really my sewing/crafting/painting/game room.  I see it every time I walk through that room to get to the kitchen. It is a constant reminder of the happy things in my life.  I see it first thing in the morning and right before bed and numerous times in between.  I loved Jen’s idea and that it inspired me to make my very own version while holding to the core of her idea.  It also makes me incredibly happy to make a project with things I already have on hand – it’s like a puzzle and a money-saver all wrapped in one.