Tuesday, October 2, 2012

2x4 Hallween Characters

This is a quick and inexpensive Halloween craft!

You can make one of these projects
with just a 2 foot length of 2x4!!
(and a few wood shapes)

 Doc and I spent one day last weekend in the
barn playing with his new saw and
the pile of wood leftover from our barn build-out:

 You are looking at sawed, sanded, and
ready-to-paint projects-to-be right thar!!
I. Am. So. Happy.!

So here are the pieces I planned to use for this
Halloween Character Project.
It doesn't look like much yet, I know.
But can you see the potential??

Cut one each in the following lengths:
3", 5", 7", and 9" - you should
be able to get one complete set from each
2 foot length of 2x4 board.

I love it when a plan comes together
in such nice, round numbers.

There were a few sharp splintery edges,
so I used my palm sander to
smooth those down.  Also, there were
some numbers scratched on a few of these
boards, and my palm sander
made those disappear, as well.
LOVE my sander!!

 I have learned from experience that you
absolutely, positively must seal
your wood before you paint it.

Trust me.

There's nothing worse than completing a piece
and finding a day or two later that every
knot hole has "bled" through your paint.
Well, a shortage of Lemon Bars would be
worse.  But only slightly.

I used Mod Podge as my sealer.

~ I actually plan to make a dozen sets,
so I decided to purchase a gallon of 
water-based sealer from the lumber yard.
Much cheaper when painting,
uh-hem, sealing, large quantities of wood. ~

I brushed the Mod Podge onto
the fronts of each of the three shorter pieces,
and onto the front and sides of the larger
base piece.  I think some bleeding through
would enhance the rustic look,
I just don't want a big knot hole to
suddenly appear on Frankenmonster's face,
ya know what I mean??

Once the sealer had dried completely,
I painted (according to the photo)
purple (base), green (Frank), white (Mummy),
and orange (Jack-o-Lantern).

Then I used my palm sander to lightly
sand the front and sides of each
piece of wood.  I like to remove some
of the paint from the edges
so the stain will absorb into the wood.
Also, in my opinion, a project has a more "polished"
look when every side (including the back
or the bottom) is either painted or stained.

I used a sponge applicator to apply
an oil-based wood stain.

Wearing vinyl gloves, I brushed the front,
back, and all the sides of each
wood piece with the stain.

I immediately used a clean cloth to
wipe off the excess stain.
The longer you leave the stain without
wiping, the darker the stain will be.

Here's where painting multiple projects
comes in handy: drying time!
I like to stay busy, so all that time I
spend "waiting for the paint to dry"
is spent "painting something else" !!
I like to let my stained pieces dry overnight
before I begin handling them and
painting details.
The stain stays tacky for a few
hours, and I don't like getting the
oil-based stain on my bare fingers,
nor do I like leaving sticky fingerprints
in the surface of my paint.
Been there, done that, it isn't great.
So.  I wait.

For the base, I made a quick
pattern of the words HAPPY FALL!
and then centered them on the
side of the base and transferred the main
pattern lines with a stylus and transfer paper.

My eight year old asked me why
I wrote "Happy Fall" and not "Happy Halloween".

 Good question, Little Man.
The answer is simple:
 "Happy Halloween" just wouldn't fit on the board.
I outlined the main pattern lines with black
acrylic paint and a round brush.

Then, to give the letters some oomph, I used
my liner brush and white acrylic paint to
highlight the right and lower sides of each letter.

For the Frankenmonster, I painted the hairline
with black paint, and added scars and
small stitches with my liner brush.

The eyes are dip dots of black
(I used a paintbrush handle), the smile
is a curved line made with the liner brush.

I blushed the cheeks with
pink powder blush and a cotton swab.
 I painted two 1/2" button plugs gray,
and attached them to either side of Frank's neck
to serve as bolts holding his head on.
Poor guy!!  Still cute, though.

TIP: I'm actually making multiple sets of these
Halloween characters, so in order to paint
all the button plugs at once
(gray for the bolts, green for the noses)
I used masking tape:

For the Mummy, I used gray acrylic paint
to apply the wrap lines with a liner brush.

The eyes, eyebrows, and smile are black.

For the Jack-o-Lantern,
I painted a small wooden spool
for the pumpkin stem, and a heart-shaped
cut-out for the leaf.
(Ignore the unpainted triangles in
the photo ... I had a better idea!) 

I was trimming the points
off a wooden star, and realized they
were the right size and shape
to be candy corn ...
... I thought that would make for a
much more fun nose!  And noses should
be fun, as a rule.

After painting the candy corn shapes,
I used a sanding block to sand the edges
of each piece of candy.
I just like the sanded-edge look ...
here's a photo of some
un-sanded candy corn and some sanded
candy corn, side by side:

See??  The sanded corn is more interesting.
And noses should be interesting, as a rule.
So now we agree noses
should be fun and interesting.

I blushed his cheeks with pink powder
blush and a cotton swab,
dotted his eyes with a paintbrush handle,
and gave him eyebrows and a
big smile with a liner brush.

Now to secure your characters
securely to the base ... you'll need
a power drill, a dowel, and something to
trim your dowel with.
I used Midwest Products Easy Cutter
Ultimate.  It's amazing.
 Using a 1/4" drill bit,
drill a hole into the bottom center
of each block character.

 Determine where on the base you want
the Jack-o-Lantern to sit;

(Sorry - this pic is for the mummy,
but I got so excited about this technique, 
I completely forgot to take a pic)

Once you have Jack centered on the
base, tip the block back and
place a screw with a large head into the hole -
(the screw will be flat against the
base, and the screw head will be 1/2 in
the hole you've drilled, and the
other half will make an impression when
you tap the block with a mallet).

Press Jack back down into
place, over the screw, and use a
rubber mallet to tap gently on Jack,
leaving an impression in the base.

Did ya get that??
Easier done than said, really.

Drill a hole into the base,
using the impression as your mark.

Put a drop of Tacky Glue into the
hole you've made in the base.  Insert
a 1/4" diameter dowel into the hole
and tap the dowel with the rubber mallet
to make sure it's secure.

Trim the dowel.

Add a few more drops of glue
before tapping each piece in place.

Repeat for each character.

There!  Quick and easy, right??

~ Peace and Happy Halloweenies ~


vsolosky said...

I love your crafts!! just a question - when you use pink powder blush for the cheeks, how do you stop it from coming off of the craft? do you seal it on there?

Meggan Maravich said...

Yes, ma'am! I use a multi-purpose sealer after all my painting is finished and before I do any linework with a marker ... that seals the blush nicely!! :)