Polystyrene – it goes the wrong way

Since we first moved in, almost a year ago, acquiring a kitchen blind has been on our urgent todo list.

Yes, urgent jobs get done fast in this house!

It’s urgent because anyone sitting in our garden of an evening can see right into our kitchen and hallway. It’s not been done yet because I can’t really imagine anyone sitting in our garden of an evening other than Chris and I… except the cat… and our upstairs neighbours … oh and
the hoards of people who jump over the wall and crawl through the jungle at the foot of our garden just for a quite sit on our lawn.

I’m obviously kidding about the last bit, at least I hope I am. Especially given my habit of forgetting to grab a dressing gown for nighttime visits to the toilet .

So, after a year of procrastinating I have finally gathered all I need to make the blind. A surprise gift of a gorgeous scarf from my sister gave me aan idea for how to decorate it.


Cat scarf. Soz about the terrible photo it is loverly


I initially wanted to make potato stamp cats but couldn’t imagine finding a potato big enough. I wanted big cats. Jacket potatoe sized at least. Luckily my art teacher big sis and my crafty mum had some suggestions. Cut a rubber stamp from… a rubber they told me. (As in a pencil eraser all you sniggering school kids!)
Not wanting to buy new rubbers just to make stamps and sure I wouldn’t find 2nd hand giant rubbers (stop sniggering) I had a brainwave. Discarded polystyrene takeaway containers.

I was excited.
Mum and Frankie were skeptical.

Polystyrene goes the wrong way my mum told me crypticly. My sister agreed immediately – polystyrene isnt what you want she explained .
Why? I asked. 
My sister frowned in an effort to explain. it just… well…it goes the wrong way. My mum nodded enthusiastically.

I was nonplussed, they sounded a little like euphemistic homophobes from the 1970s giving me dating advice and I’ve never been good at accepting dating advice. Ask any of my flatmates.

Realising that I wasn’t going to give up on my foolish polystyrene dreams my mum handed me a Biro and a scalpel. You’ll need these she told me with the air of someone waving off a kamikaze pilot. I didn’t like to refuse and into my bag they went.

So, last Sunday, sitting on the floor in my dressing gown armed with only a Biro, I laid out my materials.
Printout sillhoettes of cats, check.
Glue gun, check
some pallet wood off cuts, check
Scalple, check
Selection of empty takeaway containers fished out of my mum’s recycling bin or found on the pavement outside my house. check!


Now, let me tell you. Polystyrene. It goes the wrong way!

You want to cut out a shape? A shape that looks like something? A shape that looks like something you want to stamp on your kitchen cutains? Good luck my friend, good luck! Because polystyrene is well and truly batting for the other side.

On my mums advice I used the Biro to draw round my cat shape.


Apparently this helps guide your cuts so they go your way rather than the polystyrene’s way.


Even with a Biro to whip my polystyrene into shape this took ages. But I was jubilant. At the risk of sounding like Frank Sinatra I did it my way!

Suddenly I had a horrible thought. What if the paint slid off the shiny plasticky surface?!? I phoned my sister in panic. She wasn’t comforting. It might well do she told me. That’s why we suggested using rubbers.
Taking pity on me as i wailed down the phone about the time spent bullying polysterene. she told me to paint the stamp with a brush rather than dip it in the paint. Then, slightly less reassuringly, she wished me luck and put the phone down.

At that point, Chris, always a realist, asked- wont the polystyrene melt when you try to hot glue it to the wood?


I felt attacked by problems on all sides. Unsure of how to cope I did the only sensible thing possible. I went and spent a few hours blowing rasberies for my friends Jess and Rod. Their lovely son has learnt to blow raspberries and he values any new performer that his parents can lure into the house.

After a dribbly spittle filled respite I returned to my cats with purpose. And made a simple test run to quell my fears.


It totally worked!

Fired up on raspberries and with no further fears to stop me I got moving. A week later- don’t judge me, I am soooo scared of my mini glue gun- I have cat stamps.

Success. The end.

What, you thought you were going to see pictures of my finished kitchen blind? Up on the wall? Preventing me from flashing the neighbourhood cats? Really? I’m touched you still have that much faith in me but come on.
That blind is well and truly on the pinterest graveyard.