Friday, 13 December 2013

Top Secret Christmas Craft 2: Gift for the Geeky Roomie

I’m live-blogging some of my Christmas crafting this year, so I’m going to have disclaimers: WARNING: if you spoil the surprise for a receiver of one of these gifts, bad Christmas karma WILL get you. Be sure of it. And if you are my roommate, this post is about YOU and DON'T PEEK.

So my roommate is a big nerd, and I love him for it. We bonded early on over Lilo & Stitch for reasons that are deep and meaningful and complex...and cute and fuzzy. In the movie, they talk a lot about 'ohana'--family. Because Bruce came in and became a part of my hodgepodge family, I felt the message was suiting. 


Plain wood photo frame
Printer (optional)
Paints and brushes
Permanent fine point marker
Water based varnish (eg Delta Ceramcoat gloss interior/exterior varnish...available at the craft store)


1. Decide on your image. Here, my image is Stitch, and some skateboards. Draw these on paper or print them off the computer.

2. Scribble onto the back with a graphic pencil so that the entire image is covered (on the backside) with graphite. This will cause your piece of paper to basically work as carbon paper.

3. Place your paper onto the frame so the image is where you're going to want it to be when it's finished. Trace the image with a ballpoint pen. Be firm. The graphite will now transfer, fairly lightly, onto the frame where you have traced.

4. Paint your background. I used acrylics for this frame because they're versatile and I can use them thick or thin. For the background, I watered down some yellow simply by adding some plain ol' water to some yellow acrylic on a plate. Then I 'washed' the whole frame with the yellow. Don't worry, the pencil markings will show through.

5. Paint your character. I can't give you a whole lesson on how to paint here. But if you're nervous, choose something that doesn't have shading. For example, many cartoon characters don't have shading (look at The Simpsons, generally speaking...other TV cartoons, too.) Or stick to more abstract shapes, like flowers and stars and so forth. I'm a long-time painter, so my Stitch looks pretty accurate. Don't worry if yours doesn't; it's still going to be super thoughtful!

7. Let it dry, then outline the character's lines with permanent fine tip pen. Let that dry at LEAST three days. It needs to off-gas or it could smudge.

8. Varnish the whole thing with a soft-bristled brush and your water-based varnish.



Freehand your art...I freehanded my lettering. Just remember: if you mess up your pencil lines, you'll have to paint with a thicker paint to make them disappear. So at least try to get your pencil lines right the first time.

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