Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Uncle Sam Party Prop

Uncle Sam doesn't care if it is raining in Virginia


 I couldn't find an Uncle Sam I really liked.  So I took apart three of my favorite cliparts and combined them to make the image I am working with.  If this is the first time you are seeing one of my fun foam characters, go to the label Fun Foam Characters and see how they are made.

I start by inserting a clip art image into my Photo Shop program.  This program lets me size the clip art any size I want by printing the image out in many pages which I glue together.  Since he was narrow, I enlarged him to 5 x 5 pages.  This gave the result of a lot of blank pages, but a 50 1/2 " character that is 22" wide.  

Each column is five sheets of paper.  I took this picture to show you how big the pattern starts.  

Then I get out my 11" x 18" of fun foam to see how to cut up the image to fit on each sheet.  As you can see from his shirt and vest, I have already cut off his shoes, pants, and head.

I was lucky.  His pants fit on one piece of white fun foam.  I needed to strip them with red paint sharpies.  So to copy the stripes, or any details, I used the point of a pencil.
I just follow along any lines I want to copy and punch holes right into the fun foam.  The sharpies cover up the holes and they are barely noticeable.

Yes, I decapitated him.  But I had to trace his head onto fun foam.  After I traced his head, I cut off his beard, mustache, and hair to trace separately on white fun foam.
I pencil pricked his features.  I found that I can use white out for pupils.  It dries nicely on top of black sharpie.  If you look to the left of this photo, you can see that I am tracing his hat in three different pieces.
Here are all of the fun foam pieces placed together on my dining room table.
My son the architect gave my a new idea.  I was depending on my hubby to help me use xacto knives to cut the foam core his office uses for mounting designed and photos of projects.  It is expensive board, but dense and hard to cut.  I tried using science display boards, but they tended to be flimsy.  He suggested I use  1/2" wall insulation from Home Depot.  He bought me an insulation burner at Michael's.  It looks like a magic wand.  You plug it in; it heats up; and you get to burn the pattern.  I was afraid of a new tool at first.  I traced the pattern onto the insulation and started "melting."  I kept saying, "I'm melting...I'm melting."  I thought it was funny, but my kids didn't.  

Uncle Sam "burned" in insulation foam.

I tried spray painting the back.  I went back to Home Depot and bought black paint. I painted his edges and his back with a small roller and brush.
(Aren't my pooches cute?)

He's drying right now.  In the kitchen.  Because it's raining outside.  It's been raining all week here in Virginia.  If he gets wet, that is okay.  I took a sample piece I had cut off (burned off) and soaked it with the hose.  I am using the rest of this 8' x 24" foot insulation to make a shark for my daughter Annie's beach trip in September.  Now I know we can have photo ops with the shark in the ocean.  Key in Jaws music here.

I got tired of hauling around pots filled with cement to parties.  I found something nifty in the pvc plumbing section.  I haven't made it yet.  I hope it holds Uncle Sam up straight at for the party.  I will update this post with the finished product and stand.



Shari Allen said...

Great idea! But what is a insulation burner? I looked it up online but I cant find anything. Please help! Thanks!

funjani said...

If you go to Michael's or Home Depot, it is called a "Styro Cutter." Model builders use them.
My son is an architect and told me about it.