What to do with Chinese Fortunes?
November 30, 2004 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Arts and crafts time: I have hundreds of Chinese fortunes.

For the past 13 years, I've kept every Fortune Cookie fortune that the S.O. and I have gotten. I've got a cigar box full. (We eat Chinese a lot.)

My sister-in-law, seeing the box, said that it's a shame we didn't display them in some way.

Here's the challenge: what do you do with several hundred tiny strips of paper, all slightly different sizes? Added challenge: you have to be able to read them.
posted by ColdChef to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Decoupage them to the top of an end table? If done carefully I think they'd be legible.
posted by inky at 8:54 PM on November 30, 2004

Use clear duct tape and make a wallet and perhaps matching checkbook cover out of them.

Decoupage them to a table or desk top, then go over it with water-based polyurethane so it's not all sticky. (On preview, I think they would be legible once they dried, especially if you prep painted the table white first.)

Paint the cigar box and decoupage the fortunes around the outside so you have a clever place to save more fortunes.

Affix them to magnetic backing, put them on your fridge, and give a new and exciting twist to magnetic poetry.

In a photo album or scrap book, and put fortunes under various photos as captions.

Sell them on eBay to freaks like me who are totally envious of your cigar box full of fortunes.
posted by jennyb at 8:59 PM on November 30, 2004

Craftster is my one stop shop for awesome ideas for accumulated bits of craftable crap.
posted by jennyb at 9:01 PM on November 30, 2004

Disclaimer: I have poor taste, being both male and in college. But you could sew strings of them together to make one of those bead-esque strand curtains for a doorway, and be able to read them anytime you passed through. That would certainly be attention-grabbing, if you could make the strands durable enough for daily traffic. (I am more than sure that someone else will come up with something better.)
Your options are limited by the legibility constraint: I assume folding is right out, and it has to be a project which can be comfortably examined -- not heavy, cumbersome, etc. Hmmm.
posted by jenovus at 9:01 PM on November 30, 2004

Buy some generic picture frames and cover them and the mattes with the fortunes and put pictures of the two of you in them. Might make a nice series.
posted by geekyguy at 9:01 PM on November 30, 2004

posted by jennyb at 9:07 PM on November 30, 2004

David O. Russell (director of I Heart Huckabees) has an old idea for a feature film that you could make into a reality:

In 1990, I wrote a short film about a man who concealed microphones on every table in a chinese restaurant, enabling him to eavesdrop and write insanely personal fortunes that eventually involve him in several people's lives. This was the first time I tried to write about a kind of existential detective.
posted by pokeydonut at 9:47 PM on November 30, 2004

You could make several little books out of them. All you need to do is find some heavier card stock, cut it a little larger than the 15-20 fortunes that go inside. Then sew one end together with a few stitches. They make good presents, and should work as mini coffee-table books as well.
posted by lorimt at 10:14 PM on November 30, 2004

The easiest thing to do would be to arrange them under a piece of glass or plexi on your coffee table. You would be able to change it as you like and be free to use the fortunes later another way.

On a calendar or diary you could make pockets just big enough to hide and hold the fortune while leaving a tab to pull.

Put them in recycled gumball eggs and hide for people to find.

Stealthily take a clean box into the bathroom along with elmers glue and the fortunes. Lightly glue a fortune every fifty sheets as you unravel the TP into the box. When you have run out of fortunes, TP, or air, carefully roll the TP back up onto the spool, cough, flush, wash hands, exit. Make some coffee and sit back until hilarity ensues. Or something.
posted by roboto at 11:08 PM on November 30, 2004

You might try a customized lampshade, a variation on the mounted slide project presented in Issue 12 of Readymade Magazine.

If you wanted to make the fortunes a bit more translucent, to allow more light through them, you could try first coating them with some oil-based treatment, perhaps linseed oil. (Or, to stay true to their provenance, the grease from a bag of Chinese chips.)
posted by Tufa at 11:27 PM on November 30, 2004

Response by poster: All good ideas. Thank you all very much.
posted by ColdChef at 5:06 AM on December 1, 2004

Always check out craftster.org for stuff like this!
posted by agregoli at 7:32 AM on December 1, 2004

Piggybacking: Are there any good idiot's guides to how to do decoupage? I'm all thumbs, but for some time I've been saving concert tickets, with an eye toward decoupaging them on top of a coffee table. I just have no idea how, or where to start.
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 AM on December 1, 2004

Vidiot: Mod Podge is an excellent gluey goop. You would want to prep the surface of the table, unless you like the way it looks already. Then spread a thin layer of the mod podge on the table and lay your ticket stubs down. I would let it get a little tacky so they stay put, then put another layer of mod podge over it. That's decoupage in a nutshell.

If it's a table that gets a lot of use, I would use a water based poly instead of the mod podge (same technique, lay down a thin layer, position the tickets, let the poly dry and then put as many coats over it as necessary) because it will make a more protective barrier.
posted by jennyb at 3:36 PM on December 3, 2004

posted by Vidiot at 12:19 PM on December 4, 2004

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