Current Projects

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Grail Diary Part I

I've had the materials for this for months, but never got around to starting it because it's new crafting territory and I'm chicken.  With a few other prop projects on hold and not in the mood to sew, last weekend was a good time to finally get to it.

The plan is to do one “batch” of more or less the correct pages, and then instead of repeating those pages, create my own in the same style using other medieval history and Grail lore to fill up the rest of the book.

I started with a hardcover unlined sketchbook, about 4x6”, 220 pages, so a pretty close match for size (or close enough for my purposes).

I sanded the cover, then peeled off the endpapers and removed the pages from the inside.

From there I followed this Instructable for the new leather cover, jumping ahead to step 7. I was surprised how fun and easy it was, and I wish I hadn't put it off for so long.

Once the cover was on and everything was reassembled, I took a little leather polish to the cover to bring some of the color back. (The weird stripes are from the light coming through blinds, not part of the leather.)

Now just waiting on endpaper which hopefully will be here in a week or so. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hamilton - King George Crown / Collar Part II

I did a bit more work on the crown last week (and now that the semester is over I'm hoping to have more time to devote to this regularly, even with other projects).  The two-piece plastic ball I bought for the top came with the wrong pieces (both sides had the solid edge, instead of one side solid and one side recessed so they fit together), so I glued a strip of felt to the inside of one half and then glued and smooshed (technical term) the other side on, plus added a little extra glue around the loop piece.  There’s a strip of trim that eventually goes on the outside that’ll help reinforce it too.

I figured out an assembly method and process for the cross at the top, so I finally put together all the little bits that go into that.  I traced one of the cross prongs onto a scrap piece of the same plastic and cut it out with an extended section running out of the bottom.  That little extension will eventually go into a slot in the plastic ball to secure them together.  For the beads I measured out two pieces of wire: one to run horizontally with the side beads and pearls, and one to run vertically with the top bead.
The extension piece and wires are glued between the front and back cross pieces.  I still need to sand down some of the edges so they’re all even, and if I need to I’ll fill in any gaps between them with more glue later.  Fun fact: if you’re too cheap/lazy/busy to get clamps like I was (or I guess if you’re just working on something really small), bobby pins work really well.

There ended up being a weird little soft spot on one side where the glue warped the plastic, but it’s not too noticeable and everything else seems fine, so I’ll probably just fill it in with a little Bondo.

Around the brim, to help disguise the extension pieces I cut and glued a little piece in to the gap.

Then I glued the ball chain trim onto the back of the plain horizontal strip and started gluing the plain horizontal strip to the cross strip.  But I ran into some trouble at that point.

I had tested the plain strip around the cross strip earlier pre-trim and it sat correctly, but I hadn’t thought about the extra bulk the trim’s tape would add between the layers.  The tape is about 1/2” wide so it only covers half of the plain plastic strip, so gluing the trim tape flush on the cross strip made a gap between the strips at the base.  Trying to force that gap closed made the plain strip shift or ripple, and the whole thing just didn’t want to go together.  By then the trim was starting to peel off - I used hot glue for speed/ease, but the trim’s tape didn’t like it - so I pulled the strip off the crown and the trim off the strip, chucked the strip, and started over.

I glued the trim to a new strip, with E6000 this time like I should have done in the first place, and then glued the strip back to the crown, only making the back of the trim tape flush with the crown and leaving a gap at the base of the strips.
It seems to be holding okay so far, so I haven’t decided what if anything to fill in the gap with (any kind of glue that’s working on the plastic and worth using is too thick to get into the gap easily on its own, so I’m currently considering some glue-coated chipboard coated that can just slide in and hold the glue against the plastic while it sets).

In the meantime, I finished the collar bows and started painting those, the star, and the medallions.  I did a primer/base with Krylon Dual Superbond in black, a light coat of Ace Metallic in mirrored gold, a top coat of Krylon Premium Metallic in 18kt gold, and sealed with Krylon Crystal Clear.

I’m not happy with the finished result - the tone of the color is decent but it’s not as bright or shiny as I want - so I’m looking at some liquid leaf paints and waiting to do any more work on these until I can get the right bright brassy yellow gold.