Posts Tagged ‘Acrylics’

Adding the stabilizer fins

07 Feb

In building the stabilizer fins for the steampunk diarama airship, I first had to choose a shape. On other ships, I’ve made them rounded, but I like the feeling of a scalloped fin. I’ve also made different scalloped fins before, with some being a solid fin with ribs and others having a support structure, to which was attached actual cloth sailcloth. For this small zeppelin, I decided on the former for its ease at this relatively small scale. This decided shape I then cut out of an index card stock I had lying around. To give them age and interest, I sponged them with a light brown watercolor (not pictured, sorry!)

Index stock fins cut out

Index stock fins cut out

I then had to make the ribs, and to make it simple, yet appealing, I decided to cut these out of a similar stock, but in this case, since they would be painted anyway, I decided to use cereal box cardboard and then paint them to contrast and have interest. Remember, I throw nothing away that may have a raw materials use when reused, repurposed or recycled!

Fin ribs cut from cereal box cardboard

Fin ribs cut from cereal box cardboard

I painted them by spraying a basic green enamel. I did this because a water-based paint would have been repelled by the coating on the cereal box. I then antiqued a patina on with a lighter water-based green acrylic, then applied to the fins.

Finished fins

Finished fins

After finishing the fins, I glued them at top and lower angled positions to the airship body with standard white glue and let them dry. To add another element of interest, I used dimensional paint to “dot” copper rivets on the fin ribs. I forgot to mention that I had done this to the propeller scaffolding as well. (How many of you noticed that?) So here’s the finished attachment…

Attached fins

Attached fins

Next time, I’ll show the process of building the gondola. It’ll be fun too, because it isn’t your run-of-the-mill boat shape!

Stay tuned…in fact, tell all your ‘punk friends to subscribe!


Airship nose and propeller shaft

24 Jan

I need to put a nose and tail cone on the diarama airship, so I used the same technique I use for my airship kits, which is to sart with a cut circle of card stock (I use old file folders). I then punch a hole in the center with a standard paper punch and with scissors, I cut about a quarter of the circle away. This then gets formed into a funnel shape, then glued with white glue. To make the nose spire, I used a painted wooden golf tee and pushed that through the nose cone, then attached it. The tail cone was made in the same way, but required a different structure beyond that because the tail also holds the scaffolding for the propeller.

Nose and tail cones in place

Nose and tail cones in place

Next, I constructed the scaffolding for the propeller by cutting strips of cereal box cardboard, then gluing them into the appropriate shape. (Can you tell that I never throw away anything that might have an artistic use?!). When dry, they were sprayed with copper paint and antiqued with green acrylic paint, (seen in next photo).

Propeller scaffolding

Propeller scaffolding

A piece of repurposed plastic tube that used to be the guts of a click-type ball point pen serves as the propeller shaft when painted and attached to the tail cone of the airship. The scaffolding is then attached to the shaft and the sides of the airship body. White glue works fine for most pieces.

Scaffolding attached to the airship

Scaffolding attached to the airship

Next time, I’ll show how to build a cool propeller for the zeppelin out of simple repurposed objects. Reusing and recycling can be easy and fun. Try some of these techniques to start a project with your kids. It’s a great way to find common ground with a teenager!





09 Nov

Some things are just too cool to pass up. In addition to posting progress on my own work, I like to post links to fantastic art sites or specific posts in someone else’s blog. I’m not sure what the etiquette is for posting someone else’s work, but I think it’s probably OK as long as you’re talking about their piece and giving proper credit.

The piece I refer to is called Trinity and is by Jen Stark. The article is found in the Illusion website. It is simple in concept, but incredibly interesting to look at; capturing your gaze and holding it. Repetitive geometric shapes and progressive color palates are always fascinating and this piece is no exception. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Jen Stark's "Trinity"


Turret installation

23 Jul

Installing the observation turrets into the sides of the Diabolus first requires cutting a hole in the mâché. Due to the curving shape of the airship’s sides, the hole could not be just a simple circle, but rather a complicated ellipse. I had to hold the turret alongside the airship and lightly and carefully trace its contour into the side, allowing the pencil to follow not only the edge of the turret, but also the contour of the Diabolus. Once the hole was traced and cut, the turret slid in fairly easily and was glued into place.

Observation turret in place

With the turret in place, I bordered around it with brass trim and riveting for a strong finished look.

Turret from below

And with the “brass” trim applied, adding some patina with acrylic paint to the side of the airship gives it a weathered and aged look. Below is another view of the Diabolus showing both turrets and their position relative to the rest of the airship.

Both turrets in an inferior view

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Do you have any cool stuff you like to do with recycled or re-purposed materials?


A little different

27 Dec

I usually like the paper stuff, whether mache, cut paper sculpture, etc. But I do like anything that is recycled as well. Remember that anything you can use again and not put in a landfill of incinerate is a good thing. This piece is one that I did quite awhile ago, but I get all kinds of positive feedback on it. It is actually carved from scrap pieces of that Dow Corning blue foam insulation…the same stuff they nail to the outside of new construction! It carves and sands very well, glues with either PVA or wood glue and it accepts water based paints like acrylics and latex. This piece was then finished with gold acrylic paint. The “frame” was finished using a brown wash that was then stippled a bit with other colors for character and depth.

If you have any questions on the process or would like to commission a similar work, contact me!


Holiday cheer

20 Dec

Just in time for the holidays, I’ve completed a piece that would look great on a table, next to the tree or maybe even on the porch! Inspired by Calvin and Hobbes (my daughter loves that strip…), I thought a snowman that has the exasperated, anguished look that is common in the “Calvin snowmen” would be fun.

This snowman is papier and cloth mache, finished in acrylics and wash with a real scarf for accent. He was a big hit at the holiday party my friends at The InSights Group held on December 10th, and I’m sure you’ll love him too (he IS for sale as well, if you’re interested!).


Strike a pose!

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille...