A COUPLE from Newport’s creative attempt to fill their World Cup sticker album has become an online sensation.

Alex and Sian Pratchett, who now live in Oxford, have been attracting thousands of hits on their blog, Panini Cheapskates.

Mr Pratchett, 30, started collecting stickers for the 1994 World Cup but never filled his Panini book. But this year, he told wife Sian, 30, he would fill his 2014 book and she came up with a money-saving way to do it.

Mr Pratchett said: “My sensible wife said ‘that’s nice, but perhaps there are better things we could spend our money on?’ “We got the album for free from the Co-op and we’re making our own stickers.”

They got out the felt tips just as the first match, Brazil v Croatia, kicked off.

The couple started a blog to share their creations with friends, but soon it started growing “beyond their control”, said Mr Pratchett.

He added: “I think there has been gentle bemusement. People think it is a strange thing to do if you can’t even draw, but we’re not taking ourselves too seriously. Everyone likes stickers.”

Among the superstars they have sketched are Belgium’s Vincent Kompany, England’s Steven Gerrard and Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

The pair now have more than 1,400 followers on Twitter, following their daily doodles. As of Thursday, day eight of the World Cup, their blog update read: “171 down, 468 to go.”

Each portrait takes about 20 minutes, and the couple are filling up the book at 20 a day, to get it finished by the final.

Mr Pratchett said: “It’s taking up so much of our time, while I’m at work I draw pictures on my lunch break. It’s like having a second job.”

Mr Pratchett, who is a card shop manager, admitted his wife was better than him at drawing.

He said: “I am absolutely hopeless. Sian is a lot more arty than me.”

The couple, originally from Newport and Caerleon, have been together since they were 17.

Mrs Pratchett came to Oxford Brookes to study occupational therapy, and her husband followed her here.

With Amazon charging £39.39 for 100 packs of five and £2.99 for a pack of 31, the minimum spend to fill the album without swaps would be about £54, if those packs contained all the available stickers between them.

Follow their progress on paninicheapskates.wordpress.comor @cheappanini on twitter.