Been working on attaching hat pom-poms, chest buttons, and paper discs for them to sit on to help keep them from falling over. So, back to the beginning…I started out with the idea I had seen in a magazine several years ago to make snowmen from plastic pears. It took me several years to gather all the various do-dads to embellish these with and one of the places where I got a lot of the small buttons, tiny pom-poms, and the little Christmas light strand beads, Hancock Fabrics, has gone into bankrupt proceedings. You can probably find the buttons, pom-poms and the little light beads or ones similar to them at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s or amazon.com. It started out well enough, I had sealed these guys with matte medium, gessoed them and prime coated them, but then problems arose. Two of the pears I had purchased from the dollar store started bleeding color up through the matte medium, the gesso and the prime coat of paint. So, to stop the color bleeding I put two coats of varnish on the bleeders. Then proceeded to put two layers of paper mache on the bleeders to further seal them and halt or at least cover up their “bad complexions”, so to speak. But just in case they continued to go down hill, I made two replacement pear shapes from compressed aluminum foil. To make them…I started by mashing a clump of foil into a pear-like shape and then rolling it around on my drainboard to smooth the surface and I kept doing that and adding more foil till I got the size I wanted and the “pear” was rock hard. Then I put a layer of masking tape all over the pear to completely cover the foil. Then I wrapped the pear with floral tape which is self sealing and really helps to smooth out the lumps and bumps. Then I added the bamboo skewers to give me something to hold onto, which makes it easier to handle the shapes while working on them. Then I put a coat of matte medium on the pears to help keep the floral tape from unwrapping itself. Then I paper mache’ed the two replacement pears and let them dry. Then, I put a coat of matte medium on the two replacements and the original two bleeders to seal the paper mache’ and protect it from the wetness of the gesso and paints.
I used Elmer’s Glue-All, Multi-purpose Glue, the Extra Strong Formula and Aleen’s Original Tacky Glue and Aleen’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue, all slightly watered down, as the adhesive for the paper mache’. I used gift insert tissue paper for the paper.
I used Liquitex Matte Medium, the fluid formula and Liquitex Basics Acrylic Gesso to prep the surface of the “pears” to get them ready for the paint I was going to use on them.I used Folkart Outdoor Acrylic Paint in: 6240E Cotton, as the prime coat, the base coat and the top coat of all the “pears”, and I used sponge brushes to apply the paint cause they don’t create as much streaking as normal paint brushes sometimes do. On the “eyes” and mouths I used Folkart Outdoor Acrylic Paint in: 1640 Licorice, which I applied with a nail art dotting tool. On the carrot noses, which are pieces of round bamboo skewers, I used Folkart Outdoor Acrylic Paint in: 1615 Pure Orange and I applied it with a Crayola Kid’s Disposable Craft Brush. You could also use pieces of orange chenille “pipe cleaners” for the noses. I got those cute little clamps, that I used to hold the small parts while I painted them, from Walmart. The paints came from Walmart too. The snow men’s “arms” are made from the branching bits left over from when I was cutting off silk fall leaves from silk leaf bunches for my Halloween display. I have a bunch of those and they looked kind of like arms and hands so I used wire cutters to trim them to the sizes I wanted. Then I put two coats of gesso on them and then I painted them with Folkart Outdoor Acrylic Paint in: 1617 Maple Syrup (it’s a color, not actual maple syrup) I used the disposable brushes for these too. For drilling the holes for attaching the noses and arms, I used a round mini diamond needle file, which I got from http://www.micromark.com , they sell all kinds of way cool small tools which are good for model making, small wood carving projects, jewelry making, doll house building, etc.For the “hats”, I used baby socks in the 0-6 months size, the pastel color ones I got from Walmart and the striped ones I got from http://www.amazon.com. To make the “hats”, I turned the socks inside out and then tied the sock off and knotted it tight, just before the heel area, with a piece of string. Then I cut the part above the knotted part off and turned the “hat” right side out and wiggled the hats into place on the snow people’s “heads”. The tiny little buttons I’m using for the chest buttons came from Hancock Fabrics, and they come in lots of colors. I glued paper discs on the bottom of all the snow people to cover the holes left from the bamboo skewers and to help keep them from toppling over.
I used Crafter’s Pick, THE ULTIMATE! to glue all the various small parts to the snow people, it holds firm and dries clear.So, here they are again, I’m working on them assembly-line like. I glue bits on and let them dry and keep doing that till their done. These guys and gals actually aren’t very hard to do, they just had some fiddly problems I had to ponder on and overcome. The only hard bit was threading those “lights” on the wire “light strand” that the one snowman is holding. They are very fragile and kept breaking so I’m only doing one like that, those “lights” are actually little beads that can be used to embellish like Christmas cards and gift tags, etc., and they came from Hancock Fabrics. In a perfect world these guys would only take a few hours to do plus drying time for the paint and glue. But because I had to paper mache’ some of them it took quite a while longer, plus I was fitting in working on them around doing housework, doing laundry, cooking meals, dealing with hurricanes, tropical storms, etc., you know, fun stuff like that. My recommendation for doing these is that you make the pear shape from aluminum foil and paper mache’ it. That way you have less problems and you can make the bottom flat-ish so they stay upright without toppling over. So, I would place these as an intermediate skill level crafter’s project. They took some problem solving to do. And they need some adult supervision if kids are making these for using the wire cutters, craft knives and sharp scissors for cutting the different bits and pieces out, plus working with the special glue. So, it took a while to get these guys to this point, but I’m liking how they are turning out so far. I hope you find my tutorial helpful and you don’t have to use the exact products I did to do these. I use what is relatively inexpensive and what is easy for me to get locally. I used the Outdoor paints because they are self sealing and don’t absolutely have to be varnished. So there you go! If you make these I hope you like them. Christmas is coming soon and happy crafting!