Like many of the 20-something American women out there, I have a disease called ‘I Can Make That’-tis. Even though my skill sets may be nowhere in the same ballpark as what’s needed to make something I can more-easily buy… I would much rather make it. It REALLY becomes a problem when I see a high-end item, or a runway trend, and the wheels begin turning in my head. That’s where The DIY Files come to the rescue.
Hot Glue crisis… AVERTED!
Sometimes the simplest forms of design offer the greatest impact — the contrast between a pure and clean white surface and the stark black lines of words or images can be powerful enough to give a better picture than all of the colors in a giant set of crayolas. I’ve always collected random knick-knacks, especially skulls, but when I came across the images of painted white classical figures by the artist Uncle Allan, I knew I had to get my skulls into graphic gear.
Materials you’ll need…
- Any plain white (or black) ceramic figurine. I found my plain skull at Ross for $10. SCOORRRRRRE!
- High contrast paint/India ink that will adhere to the surface. The figurine is already coated with a clear protective gloss, so just painting tempera or acrylic won’t stay. The color should be visible against the surface color of the figurine. Any Hobby Lobby/Michaels/art supply store will carry India Ink, which will give you the desired effect.
- Black nail polish. Trust me on this.
- Krylon Clear Sealant. This way, you can clean the object/figurine regularly and there won’t be fear of the ink coming off.
- Painter’s tape to mark off the painted/non-painted areas.
- Reuseable clean surface that you don’t mind getting paint or ink on.
- Rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls/swabs.
- paint brushes of two or three thicknesses (depending on the painting technique as well)
- a cup of water to dilute the ink/paint and clean the brushes
- a rag or paper towels
…here we go!
1. Cover the painting area with the disposable/reusable surface — a simple white poster board or even plain packing paper will work.
2. Mark off the areas where you want to limit the paint/ink — use the painter’s tape and create a general area to be marked off. It doesn’t have to be perfect or anything, just obvious enough to YOU where you want the ink to go.
3. Using the cotton balls/swabs, wipe down the area to be painted with the rubbing alcohol. I recommend going over it twice, waiting for the area to completely dry in between. Do NOT touch the area to be painted with your fingers, otherwise the oils from your fingers will leave a thin layer of film and keep the ink from adhering to the skull’s surface.
4. I recommend painting the recesses (deeper surface indention) with the ink, allowing it to sink into the cracks and shallows, then using the paper towels, wipe off the excess from the surfaces.
5. Taking the ink, drip it after adding water to the liquid to show patterns of blood-work or to accentuate the sutures and details in the surface of the figurine.
6. Allow the ink to dry for about 30-45 minutes. Make sure it’s completely dry before going in with the nail polish.
7. Once the India Ink is dried, you can go into the areas where you want completely opaque black coloration and paint it in with the nail polish. The eye orbits and corners of the mandible/mouth is where I went back with the nail polish and painted another layer to black out the areas and really create a stark contrast. Take the painter’s tape off once you’ve gotten your areas covered.
8. Once the polish is dry, use the Krylon Clear Coat and spray a layer of the sealant. Wait 2 hours and spray another coat.
9. Hey! You’re done! Now go scare some people. Or make another one! (I know I will… mwahaha.)
Until next time…