Posts Tagged ‘Snowman’

Let’s get a handle on things!

24 Nov

Before the Thanksgiving Holiday, I showed you the clasp on the Calvin & Hobbes snowman themed ukulele case I’m building. Now, I want to show you the handle I concocted. A ukulele isn’t very heavy, and even with the weight of the recycled cardboard and paper case, the total weight isn’t more than a few pounds. The handle needed to be strong enough to manage the weight of the uke and case, plus any torque and stress from carrying it.

I decided to use a piece of square 5/16″ wooden dowel that I had on hand as it was light and strong and could be securely drilled and glued. I also wanted to put a “sleeve” on the handle so it was more comfortable to hold onto.

Cardboard sleeve and wooden dowel

I started by cutting pieces to hold the handle away from the case, then cutting a piece to be the handle itself. I then rounded the ends of the handle and since the sleeve was a black cardboard tube, I used a black permanent marker to color the ends of the wooden dowel.

Handle pieces with black marker

From here, I glued one handle end and clamped it, then drilled it to accept a bolt. I could only glue one end at a time because i have to be able to slip the cardboard sleeve onto the dowel.

Glued, clamped and drilled

Now I’m able to slip the sleeve on and it looks the way it should…

Handle with cardboard sleeve

With the sleeve on, I then glued and clamped the other end, then drilled it for bolting.

The other end glued and clamped

The handle can now be screwed to the case with some wood glue for strength and stability. The handle matches the look of the case and is pleasing and functional.

Handle attached

We’re coming into the home stretch… Next time I’ll show how I added the interior support structure that holds the ukulele in place and cushions it while in the case. Don’t go away…we’ll be right back!


The clasp!

19 Nov

The clasp of the Calvin & Hobbes themed ukulele case is another piece of re-purposed fun. As you can plainly see, I fashioned this out of the handle of a cheap, dollar store paint brush. I had used it for a gluing job, which left it unusable for a second project. The handle was still perfectly good…why throw it away, right? I drilled a hole for the fastened end and a larger hole drilled for the clasp end and it worked great.

Re-purposed paint brush

Bolt added

Clasp installed on lid

Seen close-up, the clasp uses a re-purposed nut and bolt with a cut piece of margarine tub lid as a washer.

Close up of installed clasp

The gentle upward curve that the lid adopted as the mâché dried worked out well since the tension holds the clasp tight until you apply some downward pressure on the lid.

Clasp in place, holding lid on

The handle comes next time. I’ll get that post up after the Thanksgiving holiday. Stay tuned!


Applying the cartoons

02 Oct

Now that the white base coat is on the Calvin & Hobbes themed ukulele case, it’s time to start adding some of the decorative elements. I just copied them out of my daughter’s prized Calvin & Hobbes books without her knowing. Because the shape worked well, I decided to use whole comic strips around the perimeter of the case, then close-cut larger elements to go on the top and bottom. I wanted to add these side elements before I added hinges and handle or I’d have to cut around them and that would’ve been a pain.

Applying the comic strips

As you can see, I used marker to add a little color to the otherwise black and white comics. Personally, I think the snowman themed Calvin & Hobbes strips were just about the funniest ones that Bill Watterson did.

Top and bottom

Next time, I’ll put the inner cardboard lip edge in. This will be the ridge that the lid slips over when you close the case. Isn’t it fun using recycled and re-purposed materials to make amazing art?

I can’t wait for my daughter to see this…she’s gonna flip!


Edge taping

24 Sep

Now I have to seal the cut edges of both the lid and the bottom of the uke case. Using that paper box tape again, I wet a strip, apply it to the outside, then cut slits and lap it over to the inside so it follows the contour of the case.

Edge taping completed

Detail view

With both edges done, I need to base coat with white. It is, after all, a snowman and I need the under color to reflect that.

Painting the edges white

Detail of edge painting

Then, painting the rest of the case with a base coat of white…

White base coat

Next, I’ll start applying some of the cartoon images. It’s coming together nicely!


Cutting the case apart

20 Sep

Before I actually cut the two halves of the Calvin & Hobbes ukulele case apart, I want to further stabilize it by taping the edges. There are times when I use standard masking tape for some of the secure taping on my papier-mâché projects. I suppose that for some of you purists out there, masking tape is nearly heresy, but consider that it IS paper, just paper that is pre-glued. In this case, I’m not using masking tape, however. I’m using the old fashioned box tape…you know the kind. The roll that is kraft paper with the glue already on it that you have to wet with a sponge.

Old fashioned box tape

I had been given a whole case of the stuff awhile back and I discovered that it was perfect for joining flat surfaces…like taping cardboard boxes…who knew, right?

Edge taping the uke case

I applied the half of the tape width on the curved surface of the case, then I cut the tape so as I lapped it over the edge, the tape could overlap and follow the edge without buckling. I also used the tape to cover the cardboard seams vertically and to cover the buckling of the cardboard as it followed curves.

Taped edges

Detail view showing vertical taping to hide corners

Now, the case is ready to be cut apart to separate the lid from the bottom. I just used an xacto knife again and tried to keep the blade as level as possible during the cut all the way around the case.

The case cut apart

I know that the shape of this case is kind of odd. It certainly works for the ukulele, but as mentioned before, it takes its inspiration from the Calvin & Hobbes “snowman” series. If you’re a Calvin fan, you’ll remember that he took out his frustrations by building outrageous snowmen in his front yard. What do snowmen have to do with a Hawaiian instrument, you ask? Absolutely NOTHING, but my daughter is a big fan of the strip and since this amazing art case is for her…it just worked as a theme! She’ll also appreciate that her old man is once again making cool stuff that’s fun and useful by repurposing and reusing scraps and junk. Isn’t Recycling great?

The next step will be to tape the exposed edges of both the top and bottom pieces of the case. This is starting to take shape…so keep your eyes peeled!


Ukulele Case

23 Aug

My daughter bought a ukulele because she became enamored by them watching the movie “50 First Dates”. As she plunked and tuned and learned chords, she also needed to safely transport the instrument if she took it places. I decided to use my love for re-purposed materials, recycling and Papier-mâché and make her a case. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I snuck the Uke out of her room for some surreptitious measurements. Then I needed to figure out a shape, afterall, I’m building it so it can be any shape, right?

I decided on a Calvin & Hobbes theme because my daughter loves that strip, and since the shape is close and  even though it has NOTHING to do with ukuleles, I chose the C&H snowman series as the inspiration…

I basically used 5″ wide strips of double thick corrugated cardboard, bent into the curves I’d drawn for the case, then applied wood glue to the edge and pinned it in place to dry.

Initial Shape

Completed base shape

I’ll continue to post the steps so that you can follow along and try this for a piece of your own!


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...