Posts Tagged ‘Foam’

Propulsion continued

06 Apr

Now we are going to look at how the propeller itself is constructed. Again, I chose a plastic laundry cap as the central hub of the propeller. The blades are factory scrap dense foam from some punch out process. I cut the foam to shape with my band saw and cut the contours the same way, then smoothed them with sandpaper. I sealed the foam blades with white latex primer, drilled pilot holes in them and in the sides of the laundry cap. I then used wall anchors and hot glue to secure the blades to the hub. To finish the shape of the prop, I used half of a plastic easter egg and the hollowed out lid off a spice bottle.

The next step would be to add rivets and brass paint… but not today. Stop by again soon!

Assembled propeller

Propeller top


Antiquing the airship fins

25 Mar

Now we move to applying the green patina that will lend an aged, gritty look to the airship sculpture. Steampunk may be about metal and gears, but they’re not always clean, shiny and pretty!

I use a water based acrylic, minty green craft paint to patina with. I know I said that the oil based enamel spray was preferable, but now that the paper is coated and sealed with the enamel, you have more control and no fumes with the acrylic paint. I apply it with a sea sponge and wipe or blot off any excess with a damp cloth or a clean, damp sponge before the acrylic dries. Work fast because the thin, sponged layer of acrylic does dry quickly, and once it does, it’s permanent.

Patina painted airship fin

Closer look at the patina

Airship patina detail

Another thing I do, just for contrast and visual appeal, is to take a damp cloth and very lightly and carefully wipe across the very tops of the rivets. I do this while the green paint is still wet so it wipes off completely, revealing the shiny brass paint beneath. I just think it looks cool to have a bit of shiny brass peaking out of the patina. It gives the piece a bit more of a 3D look!

Next, we’ll look at some of the other pieces on the steampunk airship sculpture and how we construct and paint those…

Stop back soon!


Airship fin painting

23 Mar

Now that the rivets have been added, you can concentrate on the painting of the metallic color. You can use a copper or brass spray paint, or even a pewter color. I like ones that are of the antiqued variety. I used spray because it’s easier and less saturating than liquid. I also use oil based enamel spray paint instead of a water based liquid paint because even though it’s more toxic, it causes less absorption buckling of paper, papier mache and cardboard, (which can ruin your project).

You can see that before painting, I also added a recycled foam edge to the fins so that it looks like a metal, girder-like structure…again adding to the gritty, steampunk look.

Brass painted airship fin

Brass painted fin detail

Next step in the process is adding the patina that will make the airship look aged and rusty. Shiny brass looks cool, but also doesn’t look very realistic. A bit of green patina makes the airship sculpture look much more believable and battle-scarred. Stay tuned!


Steampunk ergonomic recycling!

05 Jan

When you can combine the best of all worlds, why wouldn’t you? This piece is one that I finished last week that incorporates several of my interests/passions.

First, I’ve always wanted to design and build a video chair that was not only cool looking, but was good for your back. Many of you know that while I’m a lifetime artist, I’m also a chiropractor, so making a chair that was ergonomic was a pleasure and even a duty.

Second, I love the entire Steampunk genre and I tried to give the chair a bit of a steam look without overdoing it. The brown covering has a leather or suede look (even though it’s paper) and the gears just complete the feel.

"Steampunk Video Chair"

Lastly…near and dear to my heart is the fact that the entire piece is constructed of recycled/upcycled/repurposed materials. The shape and structure of the chair is made of cut out and laminated corrugated cardboard, which is cross-supported with six thick-walled cardboard mailing tubes that I’d been saving. All glued together, this piece is very strong and pretty light weight! I then used newspaper papier mache to cover the laminated corrugated, then went over that with a mache of torn brown scrap craft paper. The tubes are covered with old paper company swatchbook samples in red and there’s a small, flat chunk of cement in the seat for weight balance, (I poured this as a mosaic stepping stone base, but never used it). The padding on the chair is factory scrap foam punch-outs in a cylindrical shape that I cut in half lengthwise and covered in scrap drapery fabric. The bottom edges are covered with scrap, rubbery foam to make the chair non-skid and to protect it.

The chair is very comfortable, supports your neck and low back properly and rocks a bit. GREAT for watching movies!

The piece is for sale to the right buyer. Let me know what you think of it!


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!