Every year around Christmas time, it helps get me into the spirit by making something.
When I was little, my family and I would always drive around the neighborhood and admire the lights and the Christmas displays. I always loved the handmade displays.
I remember one year seeing a large woodcut of “The Bumble” from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer fixed on a rooftop and thought if I every ever had the chance to make one myself I would do it.
I was talking with Jenna about this idea and we decided it would make a good post for LGS. Thanks again Jenna!
For this project I created artwork of The Bumble, but you can use any artwork you make or find.
What you’ll need:
1. Birch plywood
2. Pencil, fine tip marker and ruler
3. Orbital Jigsaw (earplugs optional)
4. Sand paper (150 grit)
5. Acrylic paint & acrylic brushes
6. Clear coat finish (Satin or light gloss)
Step one: Begin with a piece of plywood, whatever size you need. You can pick up 50x50in piece for under $20 at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot.
Create of find artwork that you can draw a square grid on top of. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the artwork at actual size, then created the grid of 12x12in squares (the size of the plywood I chose was 48x48in so this so I made the grid 12x12in squares) but you create the grid any way you like. The purpose of the grid is to make it easier to draw the artwork onto the plywood.
Use the ruler and pencil to transferred the grid onto the plywood. For now, just draw the outline of the artwork. You don’t need to worry about the inner details just yet.
I go over the pencil lines with the marker so to have a good solid cutting line.
Step two: Now that you have the artwork outlined on the plywood you can begin cutting it out. I recommend an orbital jigsaw because it’s fast, easy and accurate. You may also want to buy some earplugs because it gets really loud.
Once you have it cut out, take your sandpaper out and sand down all the outer edges till they’re nice and smooth.
Step three: Before you begin painting, mark the grid lines on the outer edges so you’ll know where they’re at after painting the first coat of white. Also, try to use brushes intended for acrylics (they should say on the packaging) as this will help evenly distribute the paint across the wood surface and prevent the paint from soaking into the wood. You may still need to apply more than one coat. Don’t paint the outer edges just yet as you still need to be able to see the lines.
After the paint has dried, take out the ruler and redraw the grid lines from before with a pencil, using the marks you made earlier as guides. This is so you can draw the rest of the details: Face, hands, teeth, etc.
Once you’ve completed the rest of the drawing, paint in the other colors. I find it’s best to paint one color at a time. Also, try to think ahead about which color can go on top of the other. As a general rule it’s best to paint the lightest color (first) to the darkest color (last).
Step four: Touch up any areas or mistakes where paint might have dripped, paint the outer edges and cover up any remaining grid lines.
Finally, you’ll want to seal the entire piece (front and back) with a coat of clear coat finish to protect it from the weather. I use a satin finish so to minimize light reflections. You can use with glossy but you’ll have glare when viewed at certain angles outside. Display and enjoy!
Check out more of Tymn’s awesome work on his website or send him a shout out on Twitter @tymnarmstrong