Thursday, May 21, 2015

Steampunk Teddy Bear

Yes, I'm one of THOSE people. The weirdies. The geeks. I get INTO things. And one of those things is steampunk! If you haven't heard of steampunk, I don't even know what to say. In fact, I can't even define it. It's a kind of subculture. It involves books, gadgets, cosplay and all manner of steampunkiness. It's like Victorian meets dystopian. Think airships, convoluted weaponry and lots of leather and brass, and you're getting there.
Just Google it.

One of the best things about steampunk (aside from the costumes) is the idea of "steampunking" one's stuff. I did it to my Maverick Nerf gun with fantastic results. And now I bring you...

ACE: The Steampunk Teddy Bear


Ace began life as a Christmas bear. He had a hideous green and red plaid jacket and a bow tie. No. Just no. I found him all lonely and abandoned at Goodwill and decided to give him a makeover. No longer would he be a nerdy bear in a Christmas vest. Now he would be an airship pilot!


This took quite a bit of imagination and work. Let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

First I chopped off Ace's red vest and bowtie and flung them into the aether! Then I spiffed up his features with a brown Sharpie (classy, I know). He got enhanced paws and a nice, big smirk that only a dashing airship captain could pull off.


 
Next, Ace needed some clothes because nudity is frowned upon, even in steampunk. I found a lovely purse at Goodwill that I knew would make the perfect bomber jacket! I chopped it up and put it back together by hand-sewing and also using Super Glue (again, classy). I'm a numpty when it comes to sewing, so the jacket doesn't quite fit.




I also made Ace an aviator hat from some leather scraps I got from a lady behind a shop at a Renaissance faire. (Yes, you read right. Steampunk isn't the only weird thing I like.)




A couple leather belts helped finish off Ace's outfit, along with some various and sundries I had laying around like a tiny key and a chain, a brass button and a scrap of fabric for a scarf.



I purchased a set of charms from Michael's craft store, from which I got the silver wings for Ace's pilot "pin" on his hat. The "compass" is just printed on cardstock and "laminated" with packing tape. (Have I mentioned how classy I am?)

The cooliest part of Ace's ensemble is his steampunk goggles. They're made from more leather belt parts and two rather expensive (almost ten bucks a-piece, for cryin' out loud!) locket pendants. I got these at Michael's, too. They are meant to hold cute little keepsakes on a chain around your neck, but these hinged beauties are simply PERFECT as aviator specs. Moving parts are a MUST in steampunk. :)

The weird thing? Not a gear to be found. Gears are usually steampunk essentials, but I figure I get points for his goggles, so I can totally pass Ace off as a steampunkified teddy bear airship pilot. Don't you think?  ;)






Monday, May 11, 2015

Monogram Pallet Family Name Sign




You've probably seen these wood pallet family name signs on Pinterest. They've got rustic charm, an adorable little monogrammed letter and make a home look cute as a button. You might have even thought about making one yourself. Here's a step-by-step guide to how I made mine.

1. Find a pallet, tear it apart and put it back together. Only prettier. This is where a hubby who is handy with a saw comes in. Or, if you're a warrior chick, you can try it on your own. All I know is that I say, "Three boards long, about 16 x 16 inches square honey" and it happens! I LOVE that man!

2. Stain your sign. I used a Walnut Minwax stain. Any dark stain would probably do the trick. Let it dry completely. I let mine dry overnight, with a fan blowing on it for part of the time. Just to be safe.

3. Paint one coat of white (or other color) over the stained sign. I go heavier in the middle and leave about an inch border around the edges. Then I wipe some of the paint off my brush for a "dry" brush technique, and I come in from the edges. This gives it a kind of worn look. Let dry. (Again, a fan is handy for this.) It doesn't take very long. Maybe twenty minutes. Have some coffee.
 
4. Lightly sand the dry paint to let some of the wood show through. This gives your sign even more of that "vintage" look.

5. FUN STUFF. Not really. Okay, I happen to be a graphic design minor, so we have Photoshop on our computer. This is what I used to make my BIG letter "S" and the smaller "The Sanders Family." I created a file that was 16x16 inches (the size of my sign) and used Timmons for my letter "S" and Black Jack for my family name font. I stretched my family name vertically to make it bigger. You can choose whatever fonts work for you. If you don't have Photoshop... which most people probably don't, you can Google how to print a big picture on multiple pages. I found one solution that gets good reviews here: http://scottiestech.info/2009/08/08/how-to-easily-print-a-large-image-to-multiple-pages-in-windows/.

6. Print the big letter first. To transfer it to the sign, I used Saral transfer paper. I got it on Amazon. It comes in different colors and works like carbon paper. Easy peasy. (If you don't want to use transfer paper, you can color the back of your paper with willow charcoal-Walmart craft section.) I also outlined it in pencil after I transferred it so I wouldn't accidentally wipe it away with my sleeve.

7. Fill in the big letter with paint. I used an acrylic craft paint from Walmart in Pewter Gray. Once it was dry, I sanded it a little to let the wood show through.

8. Finally, it's time for the name. I transferred our family name to the sign and painted it, too, this time in a darker gray color called Pavement. If you have a shaky hand, try using a paint pen (also in Walmart's craft section) to fill in the finer lines. All done!