I’m not a drinker, but I am a mixed-bag of British, Welsh and Irish heritage (heavy on the Irish). As such, I’m constantly drawn to the cozy atmosphere of the pub, where friends and fun can mingle and enjoy a pint, cuppa, or bottle of the libation of their choice. I have a sneaky suspicion there might be a few others enjoying that atmosphere come St.Patrick’s Day.
I also have a geeky affinity for pub signs from both real and fictional establishments, and have made a few of these for my own kitchen, which we like to call our Southwest Pirate Pub. Naturally, when last year’s Pegg/Frost vehicle The World’s End was released with 12 great fictional pubs, including the title pub, I thought, “I must have me one of them nifty signs there.”
I had a similar reaction when I first saw Shaun of the Dead, Fellowship of the Ring, American Werewolf in London, and read all the Harry Potter novels. Rather than wish I could visit fictional establishments, or their real-life counter parts like Hobbiton’s Green Dragon, I decided it’s easier to bring them home by creating mini-pub signs based on my favorite gathering spots.
What you need:
• Small squares of balsa wood or corrugated cardboard (balsa preferred)
• Print-outs, catalog and magazine cut outs, stickers or photographs depicting your favorite fictional watering hole
• Black or dark brown craft or antiquing paint
• Craft glue and/or decoupage glue
• Yarn, twine, hemp or other ribbon
• A nice cup o’ hot tea for refreshment when you’re done… or have a pint if you’re of age. We’re at the pub, after all.
Cut out the pub sign image to eliminate any background you don’t want shown. Place the cut out on the wood or cardboard (don’t glue it yet) and use a crafting blade to carefully cut around it. Make sure to leave about a half-inch at the top (you’ll need that space in a minute).
Paint or antique the sign and let it dry. Then use a thin layer of glue or decoupage to paste the pub image where you want it. When in place, paint the entire sign with decoupage or 1:1 water/craft glue mix.
Use a small screwdriver or drill bit to gently poke holes in each of the top corners of the sign, and attach the yarn or other twine. Ready to hang!
Make one each year and build up a collection, or give them as fun housewarming gifts with a coordinating pint glass or mug.
The fun part is being creative and finding fictional pubs that will suit every personality: Mos Eisley Cantina (Star Wars), The Prancing Pony (Lord of the Rings/Hobbit), Moe’s (The Simpsons), Hog’s Head or Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter series), Merlotte’s Bar & Grill (True Blood), Tapper’s (from the Midway arcade game), One Eyed Jacks (Twin Peaks), and plenty more.
We might not be able to enjoy a pint with Pippin and Merry, but at least we can feel a little more like we’re there.