Making a paper mache BB8 droid from Star Wars

BB8 with textA step by step guide on how to make a paper mache BB8 droid from the Star Wars The Force Awakens movie. A fairly simple project to complete. Here’s what you will need:

  1. paper mache- one small half circle, two large half circles
  2. duct tape (and perhaps an ace bandage)
  3. craft paint in white, orange, gray, black, red and blue
  4. toothpick and wooden skewer (shish kabob) stick for antenna
  5. 1 inch thick foam
  6. black Sharpie
  7. glue gun, knife, scissors, paint brushes, blow dryer
    paper mache bowlsWhen we decided to do this project, we were lucky enough to have these paper mache ‘bowls’ on hand from a previous project. The most basic of paper mache shapes, these were made with balloons and would just require a day of paper mache making pre-prep to get ready for the making of the robot.
    cutting a hole in paper mache ballSince we were making a Valentine box we needed a hole for the receiving of Valentines. We decided to make the hole look like one of BB8’s markings. We marked the area with a cup that was the right size and a Sharpie and cut it out with a sharp knife.
    paper mache ballWe placed one side of the paper mache half circle into the other side until it made a nice round circle shape.
    duct taping ball togetherFor lack of a better idea and short on time, we duct taped the two sides together and within each other. We knew that it was still not held together very well, at all. The duct tape didn’t stick well to paper mache so we needed another layer of support, this is where a bit of creative thinking came in handy.
    creative combiningI found an old ace bandage in a drawer, one that we didn’t need again, was still plenty stretchy and even had the velcro swatch for closing and holding the bandage in place.  I pulled the ace bandage as tight as possible over the duct tape, effectively holding the 2 sides together and helping out with the roundness. Then I cut off the excess bandage, just past the velcro closure.
    paper mache ball for BB8 bodyThe body ball of BB8 needed to be painted white but first the surface needed to be smoothed out to hide the ace bandage connection. I used a thick spackling sort of paint we had on hand (usually for creating a crackle looking finish on surfaces) and I painted/blobbed it on as thick as possible with a paintbrush.
    drying paint on BB8Since we were in a hurry, we used a blow dryer to dry the layers of paint as fast as possible. While I was working on the body, my son was painting the head of BB8.

painting BB8 head

He went straight for the white paint on the head since the surface was already smooth and ready to go.  Looking at a picture of BB8’s details he penciled in, then painted on the orange, gray and black markings. He used a cereal bowl to make the circle of orange and gray paint around the head nice and even.

BB8 antennaBB8 has two antenna on top of his head, one slightly larger than the other. We used a toothpick and a wooden shish kebob stick for the antenna. We cut the stick about an inch longer than necessary, then used the sharp knife to poke small holes and put the antennas into place. From the inside of the head we hot glued the sticks into place (see below).
cut foam for headWe decided to attach the head to the body with foam to give it the ‘hovering’ appearance of the real BB8 droid.

cutting foamMark the foam with the actual head for the correct size and shape, then cut the foam with a sharp knife.

glue foam inside BB8 headPut a small bead of hot glue on the edges of the foam and quickly place the foam inside the robot head and allow it to dry.

glued in foamYour finished BB8 head should look like this from the bottom.

painting BB8 bodyWe finished painting the body the same way the head was painted, but by also placing the body ball on a roll of duct tape turned on its side- or any other way you can think to protect your paint job and keep it from rolling away.

where to put the glue onTo attach the head to the body we also used hot glue. We attached the head right at the ace bandage’s lumpiest point so the lump would be hidden from view.
gluing BB8 head onWith a square of hot glue on the body ball, we lightly pressed the head into place and held it for about a minute, until the hot glue set.

painting BB8A Sharpie pen was used to create the smaller lines on BB8’s body.

BB8 back viewThe look at the painting on the back of the body.

BB8 robot from Star Wars

Nautical Flag Quilt

nautical signal flag quiltAny guesses on what this quilt is saying? So… I’ve been working with flags lately after a longtime fascination with flags and more recently, nautical flags, has gotten me going about a few new projects.

Chart-of-signal-flagsFor those of you land lubbers, inland dwellers or non-sailors who don’t know yet- there’s a international code of signals used at sea for relaying communication back and forth between ships or from ship to shore, before the radio or during times of required radio silence. They are used individually or together to spell out short messages.

BVI flags Cooper IslandA recent trip to the British Virgin Islands got me thinking about my love of all flags, especially signal flags and the secret code aspect that makes them just a bit more intriguing.

piecing nautical flagsIn a recent visit, a friend and I came up with this quilt idea- our last names spelled with nautical signal flags.

nautical flag quilt piecingSome everyday math was required to get the dimensions of the flags right- within each flag and in relation to each other on the face of the quilt. Each flag measures 8 inches by 9 inches. I used a few different blues and yellows on purpose for a bit of dimension and to leave uniformity in the dust. All squares were pieced together on the machine, save the “i”  (black dot square above) which was hand-sewn (using a turn under applique method) to the yellow, and not perfectly round on purpose.

nautical flag quilt topI decided to go with a linen fabric for a plain background that made the flags pop but still has the textured, weather beaten look of a old sail bag, or a sailors face or the look of the linen shirted folks hanging out at any given yacht club… or maybe I just love linen. The dimensions of the whole quilt are 5 feet wide by 5′ 3″ long.

signal flag quiltHere is the quilt top all pieced together and ready to be quilted.  I was really curious how the linen would look once it was quilted, and how it would act in the long arm quilting machine.

nautical flag quilt with tribal eldersI previewed the quilt at Thanksgiving, a nice surprise for the family members for which the flags have meaning in their secret-code order. The family elders and even the little ones, absolutely loved the idea.

nautical flags on the wallThe finished quilt with a built in sleeve on the back for hanging. I really toyed with the idea of making the backside a bright colorful fabric to contrast the business-in-the-front look, but in the end, I kept it simple and just put the same linen on the back.

signal flag quiltingThe quilting is a super-small, wave-like pattern in gray thread throughout the whole quilt. It’s machine quilted (or it wouldn’t be finished for 50 years) and even with a machine, it took 12 hours- yikes!  Recently I’ve been going with a bigger quilting design and always wishing I’d gone smaller, so this quilt was the tiny design test.

quilting detail, nautical flagsOf course it’s hard to see at a distance, but close up and to the touch, I really like the way it turned out- even if it made the machine quilter friend of mine nearly crazy by the time it was finally finished.

quilting detail, signal flagsLovin’ the linen next to the cotton flag squares.

If you’re loving the nautical look, check out my nautical flag banners (great for a nautical themed party) available on Etsy. The fabric is hand-drawn, designed and made specifically for the banners. The alphabetical version is available in my shop but custom orders are welcome!

nautical party theme

corrugated metal fence update

fancy metal fenceMy corrugated metal fence update- the fence is now in it’s 3rd year and I like the way it’s aging over time. The patina of the corrugated steel darkens and changes bit by bit every day and I’m enjoying watching the weathering process.

ceiling tiles on fenceThe two wide gates to the side yard are so heavy and awkward to move, we needed a solution to high daily foot traffic without having to leave the gate(s) constantly open and sagging (due to the slope in the driveway) and also a solution without the wear and tear of constantly being pushed and shoved opened and closed. So we came up with the Euro-gate solution. I’ve seen many large gates with a tiny door for daily passage all over Europe and decide this was the answer to our problem.  It works well with the patchwork look of the fence. My plan is to weld a rectangle tiny door to fit the opening that would essentially be invisible when it was closed. Since we don’t have any animals to keep in right now, the tiny door has fallen to the bottom of my list of things-to-do. Soon though.

flag stone pathThe view of the gate from the backyard, looking through the side yard to the back of the gate. I put this pathway in in the spring and the ‘stepable’ plants we put in the cracks are filling in nicely. That process- building the flagstone pathway- in another post coming soon. The shipping container will also have French doors where the flagstones come up like a patio area.

tin ceiling tiles in fenceThe inside view of the gates. After getting ripped apart in a microburst in their first year, I rebuilt and reinforced the gate panels with these metal beams based on a suggestion of a very wise friend. The gates are so much more stable now and not likely to sag or get blown away. Another key element to restricting movement of these gates, that act like sails in the wind, are the pins going down into the concrete that hold the gates in place in the center. Absolutely essential.

rust on metal fenceThe tin ceiling tiles rust very easily so anywhere the paint was thin or in some way been scraped off  has been rapidly encroached upon by rust.

corrugated metal fenceRust details on the front side of the fence. This is 3 years worth of rust. This part of the fence isn’t hit by a sprinkler but it does get pelted every time it rains which explains why the rust is more pronounced at the bottom of each panel.

ceiling tile fenceThe garden side of the house and much smaller gate. As you can see the areas that are hit by the sprinkler or rain, are much rustier than the panels closer to the house. This gate was much easier to build, open and close and maintain. I never intended to leave to 2×4 across the top of the gate area, but the post on the right side of the gate is twisting and warping, and it became necessary to leave it to slow the unfortunate movement of the 4×4 post and hold things square.

flagstone patioThe back three sides of the fence around the yard are straight corrugated metal. It is aging comfortably with a beautiful patina. I love all looks and every stage. We finally got the pergola put in in early spring. It was a kit that we had to paint ourselves and piece together lego style. Once the footings were installed, a process I find stressful, it was an overall easy project. I carried over the flagstone look to this side of the yard also.

backyard pergola, metal fencePerennials, plants and trees are growing and filling in into the look I have been anticipating and looking forward to for so long.

corrugated metal fence2We found this outdoor seating on KSl classifieds, a local market for used everything, for a great price and had some wonderful summer moments and parties under the pergola in our newest ‘room’.

Note: When we were digging the trenches for the sprinkler system, we laid electrical line alongside the pipes and ran wiring to the pergola area for easy, invisible electricity.

 

corrugated metal fenceThe whole backyard is relatively small and cozy (only 1/4 of an acre) but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Just enough to have to take care of, and big enough for a party.

shipping container in backyardThe shipping container is next. We found some perfectly good, durable doors and windows at Habitat for Humanity in Park City that had been pulled out of another house, I’m assuming for a remodel, that are all ready to be installed when the time comes- hopefully soon!

For a look at the making of this corrugated metal fence DIY click here.

For a look at the fence after 1 year look here.