I Can Do Arts!

I’m on holidays!

I was one of those assholes that realised early on that the lateness of Easter combined with ANZAC Day meant I only had to take 3 days off work in order to get 10 days off. I ran out of the office Thursday afternoon without a backwards glance and gleefully ran home (after making a pitstop for chips and wine to get me through Friday).

I always have grand plans when I’m holidays. I’ll repaint the house! I’ll fix the fence! I’ll rip out all the gardens! I’ll write that novel! I’ll paint a masterpiece… and yet I inevitably never do. Although to be fair, I have fixed the fence three times before I gave up (bamboo fence, turns out bamboo rots really easily), and I did rip out most of the garden over Christmas (six trailer loads to the dump isn’t nothing!), but then it was 45 degrees outside and too fucking hot to rip out all the stumps.  I have those stupid tropical plants that keep growing back when you chop them down too, so now they have little green alien shoots sprouting back out of them because I couldn’t find a mattock big enough to give them a real what for.

This time, I decided I was going to give sculpting another go.  I tried sculpting about six months ago and I made a bigature axe (not full size, but definitely not a miniature). My mistake was buying cheap $5 air dry clay and fucking about with it on a hot day. Wasn’t my best effort, that’s for sure. I have since spent an inordinate amount of time watching videos from Ace of Clay on YouTube (check him out, what a genius!) and decided my time had finally come to give it a shot.

I popped down to Spotlight on Saturday and dropped about $200 on craft supplies (hooray for no longer being a poor bitch with two crippling mortgages! – now I just have the one!). I got two lots of the good stuff – Super Sculpey. I also picked up a bunch of cardboard boxes and shit to decorate it with. I decided I needed a jewelry box since I recently acquired some (for the record I find it painful to put on and take off everyday, so I don’t really have any). I couldn’t find any armature wire (and what I could find was both overpriced and underwhelming) so I nipped over to Bunnings and got a huge bunch of fencing tie wire for $5 and some brown spray paint. Love Bunnings.


Also, I’m lazy, so I’m still using the same drop sheet from when I spraypainted the boxes last night…

See, good sculpey stuff, fencing wire (lots of wire for $5!) and aluminium foil (which I used all of much to Husbro’s annoyance when he wanted to cook lunch).

As I said, I’ve been watching lots of Ace of Clay things and decided to give his pumpkins and tombstones a go. They didn’t look too difficult and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to totally fuck up a pumpkin shape.


See, not totally wonked!


With Sculpey you have to bake it in the oven to set it. I was a bit concerned about this part as my oven is objectively terrible. It hasn’t worked properly since we bought the house, doesn’t shut properly and tends to freak out if you try and cook anything over 180 degrees. I’ve never gotten around to getting it replaced (I mean, it’s not like I now work for a builder and have access to wholesale prices on appliances and get on well with the electrician…). Anyway, it cooked OK, although it did show some weird patterning on the bottom.

The pumpkin was easy enough as it was ball shaped. I used some dental orthotic tools that my dad bought for my mum to use for her crafty stuff. Tell you what, ole dad must have some serious skills when he’s making all those false teeth. I struggled to use the tools properly to carve/smooth/etc as I would use my pinky finger as an anchor on the pumpkin and it ended up with a bunch of fingernail marks all over it. Of course, Dad has 40 years on me… oh wow, shit, he really does (you’re old! WTF, when did that happen?)


My actual father, making actual false teeth. OMG, he’s using his damn pinky finger too @#&^%*#!!

The tombstone was harder. I decided to use some wire to help keep its shape, although truth be told it probably didn’t need it.  The scaffold was a bit squiffy, but whatever. The front looked OK, but I had to pad out the back to hide the wire. It was fiddly to get smooth, but I got there in the end. Then I couldn’t work out how to get those nice sides on it. I decided to cut a long piece and run it along the edges. Took me a few goes to get a piece long enough.  Then I used the dental pick to smoosh the edges together to make it look seamless (also because the tiny squares on the sides looked AWFUL!!). I carved RIP in it and made a skull. Turns out I’m terrible with skulls but I managed. Couldn’t do the teeth to save myself (sorry Dad, I’ll never be you) so I kind of just scritched them on and hoped to add some definition with the paint.


Toothpick for scale

For the Tombstone I just mixed some black and white and gave it a grey base.  Then mixed some more white into the base grey and smooshed the brush wildly. Then I grabbed some silver rub and buff stuff and swatted at it with that.


Pumpkin clearly much bigger than it should be.

The pumpkin probably needs some better paint.

For someone who is trained to poke peoples veins with needles, stitch them up and cut with scalpels, I have an incredibly unsteady hand.  I don’t wobble anywhere near as much when I’m putting sharp stuff near people, so why do I wobble when I put a paintbrush near a tiny detail?


So the jewelry boxes…

Attempt No. 1


For this one, I spraypainted it black and played around with the silver Rub N Buff. I don’t like the way it turned out. I made this box last night before I really got the hang of it. I found it worked best to dab a crap paintbrush into it, then dab most of it off and go swoosh it randomly all over the box. This one shows some uniform lines which I don’t like.

$3 cardboard box from Spotlight & the decor was one of a set of 3 buttons I picked up for $2.


Attempt No 2


This one actually looks pretty good in person. Less so in photos. I found some balsa wood heart decals at Spotlight (4 for $7). The purple is just spraypaint, as is the red. I had a steampunky heart I was going to glue inside the red heart, but it didn’t fit. Oh well. Minimal effort.


Attempt No 3:


This one is my favourite.  The brown spray paint was actually really awful. It was British Paints brand. Apparently Husbro had already determined that this brand is the worst for spray paint when he was painting his nerf guns over Christmas (for the record, Dulux is where it’s at, followed by White Knight). I was also cheap so that’s why I went for British Paint.

I found this eye thing at Spotlight in the jewelry section and thought it would make a nice topper. It was $7. I used gold Rub n Buff all over this box and glued on that awesome brown ribbon that I found. It was $7 a metre, if it was cheaper I’d have bought a tonne of it. It is REALLY nice.

And that is the story of how I actually did something I said I was going to do (this is the part where everyone who knows me collectively has a heart attack and dies).

Maybe I’ll turn into a useful engine eventually…


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