Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Egg Critter how-to (sort of)

Okay, so I did manage to make a reasonable copy of our cute little flag-waving fella:
And I remembered to take a few pictures along the way, so I could share it with you.
It won't take long - I made mine in one evening. (see previous post for a list of supplies)

(It wouldn't be right for me to give you a pattern, even if I'd made one, because it wasn't my design to begin with. If I could find the artist, I'd refer you to her. Anyone know who it is?)

First, I sketched the basic outlines with pencil:
(my wooden egg came with primer already on it, but if yours was plain, you might want to give it a coat of white for starters) The line for the bottom of the jacket should be about 5/8" up from the bottom, measured straight up from the table, not along the curve. The bottom of the face should be just about at the half in the front, and curve up to about 1/2" from the top (measure straight again, not along the curve) at the center back. Line for the top of the belt should be half-way down the area between jacket fronts, and the lower line about 1/4" down. Corners of jacket at neckline are about 1/2" apart.

I used one paintbrush for almost all of this. It was a flat brush, natural bristles, about 1/4" wide. Don't try to use the kind that come with kids watercolor sets - get a decent brush, or the hairs will be coming out all over your project.

I had a little difficulty at first, because I couldn't find my flesh-toned paint. I know I have it, but I left it with another project-in-progress a while back, and I wasn't able to locate the project. (I know where it was before I moved the sewing room, but where I put it after that...I have no idea.) So I had to get creative and mix my own. Lots of white, a fair amount of something sort of peach-colored, and a touch of red, and I had something that looked sorta skin-colored. Do yourself a favor, and buy a bottle. I had to mix paint because it was late at night, and the craft stores were all closed up.

Paint the face/head area first, with the skin-color paint, and let that dry.

Then paint the "pants" in red (mine is called Crimson):
sorry for the blur - it was late
You can see that I ignored the pencil line that went straight across under the jacket, and went up to the belt lines. You'll want to paint a little over the bottom (flat) edges. If you don't have something to set it in so it can dry upside-down, just hold it a few minutes and fan it. It won't take long.

After that, I sorta forgot about taking pictures. I kept meaning to stop and go to bed (it was late), but every time I rinsed the brush, I would come back to the table and think, "Maybe I'll just do the next bit, and then go to bed." Next thing I knew, I was all done. But I think you can see where things went from here. I hope.
(I was going to make another and take more pictures, but the week sorta got out of hand, and I figured you might want to try making one yourself before the 4th, so I'm putting this out there anyway.)
After the pants, paint the jacket base, leaving the center bit white for his shirt (I just left that as-is, didn't paint anything). I used a very dark blue called Goodnight Blue. I really used the sketched lines here as my guide, just tried to hold the brush steady while I filled in. Usually, I'd paint along the edges of the area first, and then slopped paint across the rest of it. (No, really, you can see my sloppy brush-strokes everywhere.)

If you work fast enough, you can probably make the lines for the sleeves with a toothpick in the wet paint of the jacket, which should produce the effect of pale blue lines. I wasn't fast enough, so instead, I mixed white with a touch of the blue, and "painted" them on with a toothpick. I then cleaned up the lines by painting more dark blue paint over it where it went wonky.

Paint the black line of the belt, but leave the buckle for later.
Paint the flat heart black, on both sides, and set it aside to dry.

Paint the hands, using flesh-tone. I thought this would be hard, and I hadn't sketched them in. It was easy. I let the width of the brush dictate the thumb area, and then did a sort of elongated half-circle for the rest of the fingers/hand. You don't have to be terribly precise, because next you paint the cuff, and that will cover up any weirdness between the jacket/sleeves and hands. But if you're nervous about messing it up, practice painting a hand shape on some paper first. Let the hands dry before you paint on the cuffs.
Paint on the cuffs with white. Be sure you stay within the sleeve lines so it looks realistic.

After the hands and cuffs were totally dry, I used a toothpick to paint the belt buckle. You could use a finer paint brush, I just didn't want to get one out, and the toothpick was already right there. I used silver for mine, but you can use any metalic color. Or, you could draw it on with a metalic marker, if you have one.

Now for the face. Dot the eyes with black paint using the end of your brush or a toothpick. They should sit roughly in the center of the face, about 1/2" above his shirt. Mine are a little tilted, but I decided I didn't mind.
Use your fine point Micron (or other) black pen to draw the rest of the facial features. If you mess up (I did), paint over it with the skin color and start again. Nobody has to know. Again, if you're nervous, draw some practice faces on paper.

Blush the cheeks using a 1/2" stencil brush and rosey-color paint. You want the brush to be almost dry before you put it to the face. Tap it on a paper towel until it seems like there's not much paint left on it, then blush the cheeks. If you mess up, just paint over it, and try again. Or, you can use real blush, from your make-up kit, and a cotton swab or your finger. I didn't do that on this guy, but I often do use actual blush on craft projects.

For his hair, I snipped up a scrap of raffia into 1 1/2"-2" lengths, and hot glued them onto his head. You could use yarn, or whatever else you've got handy. It doesn't matter much, because you're going to put a hat on him.

Fold up a tiny newspaper hat using a piece of newspaper measuring 2 5/8" x 3 1/2", and the instructions I found for you here. You can tuck in the corners like they do, but I didn't.
Glue the hat to his head, using hot glue, and squish down the raffia hair a bit.
Glue the heart base to the bottom of the egg using tacky glue. The pointy end goes at the back, and the top of the heart shape makes his feet.
Hot glue the flag pick to one of his hands.

Now, the one I was using for a model didn't have a bow, but I think he used to, so I wanted to put one on mine. I used a 3" piece of 1/4" wide ribbon, tied it into a bow, and trimmed the ends at an angle. Hot glue that just under his chin.
Ta Da!
He's all ready to wave his flag while he watches the parade!

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