A tutorial for how to make the Zomkins and Spider Boy!

20181111_182455 (2)Here are the basic products I used for the papier-mache’ part. I used the Tacky Glues thinned down with some water cause it was starting to dry up, you know, a use it or loose it thing. And when I ran out of that I used the Elmer’s thinned down some with water. To get other ideas for gluing options look on, “Ultimate Papermache”, at https://www.ultimatepapermache.com . On there you can see all kinds of great how-to-do tips and techniques for doing papier mache’ and there are hordes of different recipes for the glue/paste. It is like a papier mache’ wonderland, a super great website! So, to start out I had the basic pumpkin shapes, I used a sharp craft knife to cut them open and to carve out the facial features. I used a grapefruit knife to help with the hollowing out part of the ones that needed to be hollowed out.20180819_192936Then time for the torn up pieces of newspaper and gift insert tissue paper. I did two layers of the papier mache’ and I applied the glue with a disposable kids paint brush. I used the Celluclay around the eye areas to strengthen and reinforce those thin places. I also used it around the lid openings to strengthen those areas too.20180905_073525 (2)To attach the teeth which I made out of foam-core board, I used masking tape. Then I applied the tissue paper that had been dipped in the glue mixture to help lock the teeth in place.20181006_064421 (2)After the Zomkin shapes and Spider Boy (who is just two foam balls stuck together with toothpicks) have been completely covered with the paiper mache’ and have dried till they are rock hard,  I applied acrylic matte medium, two coats at least.  This drys super fast and seals the papier mache’ and protects it from the wet gesso and paint later on. 20181111_182753 (2)Then I applied acrylic gesso, at least two coats, this helps to create a really hard and smooth surface for painting. If the surfaces are still not smooth enough, you can sand the shapes with a fine grade sand paper, and then add another coat of gesso. 20181013_145813 (2)Time for the prime coat, I used Folkart matte acrylic paint in 901E Wicker White. At least two coats, this also helps smooth the surfaces. Spider Boy already has his base coat of Folkart matte acrylic paint in 938E Licorice. Smiley and Baby Boo have the inside color in their mouths of Folkart matte acrylic paint in 736 School Bus Yellow.20181111_183139 (2)For the insides and outsides of the Zomkins, in their mouths, around their eyes, and on their lids top and bottom, I applied a base coat of the School Bus Yellow. Then when that was dry, I thinned some Apple Barrel 20764E Apricot with FolkArt Floating medium and painted on two coats of that on the outer surfaces of the Zomkins. I made that paint really thin cause I wanted the yellow base coat to like “glow” through the paint layered on top of it.  Then for that pumpkin-like color, I hand mixed Apple Barrel 20589E Harvest Orange, some of the apricot, some of the school bus yellow, and Folkart Artist’s Pigment 917 Yellow Ochre, and a small amount of Folkart matte acrylic paint in 939 Butter Pecan until I had the shade of orange I wanted. I also mixed the floating medium with this paint so the drying time would be extended and the paint wouldn’t  look streaky when I was layering the different coats of paint. The float medium kept the paint fluid enough so that when I started painting on one side of a Zomkin, by the time I got around to where I had started again, the paint made an even blending without hard edges.20181017_162450 (2)I used these guys as color models.20181111_183918 (2)For the stems, which on Smiley and Zack, are dowels covered with Celluclay, sculpted to look more stem-like, I used a mix of the licorice black, Folkart matte acrylic paint in 939 Butter Pecan and Folkart Artist’s Pigment 462 Burnt Umber and more of the float medium and mixed them some what while they where still wet to get that dried pumpkin stem color. Then when the stems were dry, I touched the color up some with the brown fine point Posca pen and the ultra fine point black Sharpie pen.20181017_162316 (2)Here they are ready for their eyes except for Smiley, who already had his cause they stuck in place when I was trying to see if they fit, they did, too well and I had to leave them in place rather than risk ruining them trying to get them back out.20181111_184155 (2)For all the larger Zomkins’ eyes, which in Zeke, Zack and one of Smiley’s eyes, I used ping-pong balls, Smiley’s smaller eye is a clothespin doll head. Baby Boo and Spider Boy’s eyes are fake berries from fake holly berry clusters. All the eyes were gessoed, base coated white and then the color parts were applied with various colors of Sharpies in shades of green for the eye color area in the Zomkins and black for the pupils of all. I used the Posca pen in brown to do the final touch-ups on the Zomkin’s stems and the yellow Posca pen for touch-ups around their mouths, lid openings, lids and eye areas. When everybody is dry, dry, dry I will varnish them all with Krylon Colormaster Clear Satin, Crystal Clear, Spray Varnish.20181111_183653 (2)Spider Boy is final coated with Apple Barrel acrylic paint in Black 20404, which gave him that shine on his shell. His polka dots are made with Lumiere Light Body Metallic Acrylic paint in 571 Pearl Turquoise. The eye color area in Spider Boy’s eyes, is done with a pink Sharpie, the pupils are done with a black Sharpie. Spider Boy’s mouth is done with a pink fine-point Posca pen. His legs are black pipe cleaners.20181027_215847 (2)Don’t they all look so happy!

So, there you go! A some what long process not helped by having to deal with Hurricane Florence and the tropical storm version of Hurricane Michael. Mostly what takes the longest time in doing papier mache’ is the drying time. Every thing has to be rock hard dry before going to the next step in the process. I’ve already got two more pumpkins that I bought on clearance after this Halloween to add to the Zomkin patch for the build up to next Halloween. On a scale of between 1 and 10 with 10 being the hardest, I’d rate making the Zomkins and Spider Boy at a 5, they need adult supervision to do because of using the craft knife and the grapefruit knife to carve the features and hollowing them out. But they are not super hard to do.  And the basic steps for this papier mache’ project can be used for making most other papier mache’ projects. And you don’t have to use the same brands of products I did, I use the various ones I  use cause they are relatively inexpensive and easy for me to get locally.  So, I hope you find this how-to useful! I’m already looking forward to next Halloween! HAPPY CRAFTING!

Violas and Rosemary for the winter garden!

20181111_164139 (2)So, here is the little rosemary shaped up kind of like a Christmas tree. There was going to be possible frost last night so I covered this guy with a white plastic garbage bag to give it some protection. When I looked out this morning there was a little frost on the roofs of the apartments across from us, but it wasn’t bad enough to damage my remaining pepper plant or the lemon grass.20181111_164252 (2)Here are some of the new violas, in shades of yellow and orange. The pepper and the lemon grass looking not too bad off still. In the back ground you can see my neighbor decorated her front door like a Christmas package, it looks very nice!20181111_164216 (2)The rest of the violas in shades of blue and purple. The sticks that you probably have noticed I’ve got sticking up all over the place in the pots, are to deter the neighborhood cats from using my pots as a litter-box.20181111_164429 (2)And here is the arbor standing back up again, just a little shorter than it used to be. My dad has a special saw that can cut through metal. He cut off the remaining leg of the arbor that hadn’t been snapped off  by the winds during Hurricane Florence. Then he cut off the bottom cross bars and now the bits that stick out at the bottom are the new legs for the arbor, YEAH!!!!! I used my rubber headed mallet to tap the arbor down into place and now it is all ready from some plant to crawl up on in the spring. Now, our local mockingbird thinks the arbor is a good perch to survey the yard from, the resident wren really likes it too. As you can see in the background, we still have piles of tree waste left over from Hurricane Florence and that is just a small pile, I’ve seen some that are several stories tall as we’ve been out and about. It’s going to be a while before all the organic waste is processed just because there is so much of it. The hurricane really tore this area up big time.

So, there is the winter garden so far. I haven’t made a hard choice yet of what will be in the two smaller pots, just that it will be something that can handle being frozen and keep growing. So, HAPPY WINTER GARDENING!!!! Have a great day!