21 December 2013

How I made my Tin Can Santa...

Ok, so it's not actually a "tin", it's cardboard with silver foil inside for freshness. I though "cardboard can Santa" didn't have the same ring to it!! :D

I started with a can. Mine just happen the be 12cm tall and 25cm around, with a plastic sealing lid. I also bought some plastic balls from an Op Shop that are the ones designed for kids to play in. You know the ones?? (Thanks google!)

Originally I was going to paint the balls, but as they are pliable and soft, the paint just cracked off, so it was going to have to be fabric. Fine by me, I got plenty of it!!

Anyhow, here's a few items you're gonna need :
A can with a lid - tin or otherwise, it doesn't matter!
Ball - can be plastic, styrofoam, or whatever, proportionate to your tin
A neck - I used poly tube, but it could be a ring of cardboard tube, a piece of retic pipe, whatever
Split rings - I got mine from a stationary shop
A hole punch - to put in your holes. If your can is actually tin, you may need a hammer and nail to make your holes
Felt - scraps are fine, but you will need at least one large piece to cover your tin
Glue - I used spray glue for the body and an all purpose for the rest. It should be suitable for the type of material you are using
Knit fabric - mine is a double knit that was dyed a while back. It's an odd colour, but works ok.
Paint - for face
Cable tie / zip clip - to secure the head in place
Textas, pens or pencils - for hiding the edge of the cardboard.
Scissors, paper, general craft scraps, ribbons, etc

Firstly, I started with Google. I know what you're thinking! But I needed a picture of Santa to work from, and searched for a cartoon Santa, found a pic I liked and worked from that! Cheating, yes a little, but it's just for inspiration, not to copy exactly!!

I then cut a rectangle from red felt to cover my tin. In hindsight, I would have done the whole thing flat then glued it on in one hit, but it still worked! I glued it on and discovered my accuracy was a little off at the top - I will deal with that later.... 

I then cut strips of quilt batting, glued them to the front, vertical first then the horizontal. A scrap of ribbon threaded through a square of craft foam cut to look like a buckle also glued in place. To address the shortfall at the top, a small strip of red felt glued around the top fixed it all. Now, if I hadn't told you, would you have noticed?? :)

On to the legs.... I cut some rectangles approximately the size I thought would work, and used a pin to gauge the correct lengths. I curved off the ends of the "thigh" pieces and the "knee" end of the shin piece, and added a boot shape. I then traced them onto the cardboard scraps (minus the boot) and punched the holes where the split pins will go. At this point, I used a red coloured texta to colour the edge of the pieces so it wasn't so noticeable when the felt was trimmed back. Then glue one side to the felt, allow to dry and trim away.

This is when I added the boot, but if using lighter card, this could be done first and the trouser done after. Once this was dry-ish, I then glued the other side to the felt, left to dry then trimmed. Voila, a pair of legs!! As the holes were already under the felt, I simply got an awl and pushed through, stuck through a split pin and that's it for the knee. The thigh just needs a split pin, for now.

Arms started off the same as the legs without the joints, although you could add them, if you wanted to. Make pattern, cut from card, add hole, pen edges, glue felt, add glove, felt other side, make hole, add split pin.... 

I also added the sleeve and trouser cuff at this point, wrapping around the whole piece to avoid a join.

Now, to decide where to put the arms/legs. Find halfway around the tin and mark the location if the hole. I used a small drill bit, first poking through with a needle so it would grip. Take it slow and careful! I don't want you to drill through fingers!

Put through split pins, open them up, and they are on!!

On to the head! 

Firstly, I cut a small hole in the lid. This is to pass the fabric through so it can be secured underneath where it won't be seen....

The size of the ball will determine the size of the "sock". Cut a strip of knit fabric folded in half, curve the end and extend to the end of the fabric. Mine is way too long, but it can be trimmed later, if needed. 

I then tested my tube to see if it was tight enough... It was!!

I took out the ball, trimmed it up and turned right side out. I put the ball back in to determine where to put the face, running a test fit on the lid. I marked the location with a water soluble pen, and took out the ball AGAIN! 

I now know where to place the face, so lay out flat and draw the eyes, nose and mouth to the design you want. 

Ball back in again, it's face painting time!! I like to outline in micron pen, then whites with gesso, and final eye colour once it's dry. The iris is marker pen for better control.

Then, on to the hair. I admit that I actually did this when I had my head on for face testing. It doesn't really matter! I used the quilt batting to mold over the head, plus a random triangle for his beard. A scrap of red felt for his mouth, and freehand cut him a moustache. 

Now it's just glue, glue, glue!!!

So, attaching the head permanently to the lid is not an exact science! I planned on using a cable tie (or zip clip) but couldn't put my hands on one, so I have just tied it temporarily. It's fine, for now...:)

So he is DONE!! If all items are on hand, it would only take a day to make. It's only the pattern making that takes all the time, and waiting for glue and paint to dry.

I will try and take more interesting photos for the next one...