Sunday, November 30, 2014

DIY Holiday Roof Decor - The Grinch!

We used to have this old-school bumble (you know, from Rudolph?) that we put on our roof every year. We LOVED him and he was very popular in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, after years and years of use, he was sun-faded and didn't light up anymore. They don't seem to make holiday decorations like that anymore - now they are all either inflatable or really weak tinsel - neither of which really work well on a roof. I decided if I couldn't buy what I wanted, I'd make it!

1- 2' x 4' piece of hardwood, sanded plywood (around $8, I think)
Kilz oil-based primer I had leftover from another project
White semi-gloss trim paint I had leftover from another project
Paint brushes and/or rollers (I've got tons of these around in the garage and craft room)
A bunch of colors of acrylic paint ($.99 each at Walmart)
Jigsaw blade for wood (and of course a jigsaw, which we have two of)
Pen, pencil, and sharpie
Piece of medium grit sandpaper

I started by deciding on what I wanted to make - a grinch climbing down the chimney. I found a photo online that I wanted to mimic, and divided it into even squares (in photoshop) so I could more easily transfer it to the wood.

Then I drew the same grid on the wood in PEN (not pencil).

Next I transferred the design over to the wood by looking at the image on my tablet and sketching it in PENCIL. The reason for doing the lines in pen and the sketch in pencil is so I could erase the sketch without erasing the grid.  (I erased quite a bit - I'm not good at drawing! If you are, you may not even need the grid - but it helped me a LOT!)

Then I took a black sharpie and outlined the outside where I needed to cut. I messed up there at the arm, so ignore that inner line - I didn't cut that. 

Off to the jigsaw! I bought new blades for it (see below), since the one that was on it was bent and I had no idea how old it was. Remember to wear eye protection and never touch the blade! Not when it's moving (obviously) and not after, either - all that friction makes it HOT! Don't touch it! If you've never used a jigsaw before you should probably watch a few youtube videos and maybe ask someone who has used one to observe and give you tips. It's SUPER easy to use and if I can do it, I am sure you can, too! Just please be safe and don't cut off any fingers!

To get into tight corners you may have to drill some large holes, as seen below. A jig saw can only make gradual curves - not tight ones. To do tight curves you need to drill a hole and go at it from many angles. Also, to get into spaces like under the arm where there is no outer edge you also need to drill a hole to start the jigsaw blade in. Take your time, go slow, and be careful.

Here he is! All cut out!! I quickly sanded around the edges and got off any splinters. Then I took the sharpie and outlined ALL of the lines in black. My hope was that the lines would still show through once it was primed and the base paint was on (which they did!).

Next I primed both the front and the back with the Kilz, and once that dry to put two coats of the white paint on it (including all edges).  Plywood has to be painted and sealed to be outside or it will eventually peel apart - so don't skip this step and make sure you get all of it. I could JUST see the lines under the paint, which was perfect! 

I let it dry overnight and in the morning I took the sharpie and drew over the lines AGAIN - so now I had a bright white grinch with black lines. (Sorry he's fuzzy - stupid camera!) 

For the color paints - I bought them all from Walmart. I couldn't find the perfect "grinch green" so I bought one that was close and a darker green and mixed the two until I was happy with the shade. I also mixed paints for the dark side of the chimney and the darker bricks. The rest are straight from the bottle.

Here's Mr. Grinch in process. Again, I was hoping I could see the lines through the paint - which I could once it dried! I did the red first, then the green. Think about where you put your hand to paint (are you right or left handed?) before you decide where you start!  I painted the edges the same color as the front - although they would probably look good black, too.

 I went back and put a second coat on the red since it looked spotty, and I ended up doing two coats of yellow in the eyes, too.

As the green dried, look closely and you can see the sharpie lines underneath it. Since I painted the background white, I didn't have to paint the white areas - I just left those blank. I painted around the sharpie where I could but it didn't matter if I got paint on the sharpie because I will go over all of it with paint later anyway. I free-handed the bricks.

Once all of the color was on and dried, I painted in his face features and went over everything with black lines (paint this time, not sharpie) to make it all POP!

I let that dry overnight and the next day I took him outside for the final weatherproofing. The acrylic paint is only water-resistant, so it must have a sealer over it. I chose this clear (see below) because 1. it says it does not yellow and 2. it says it projects from UV rays. Here's hoping that is true, but only time will tell. It has excellent reviews on the Home Depot website, so that is encouraging!  I ended up putting 4 coats on the front and edges of Mr. Grinch.

....and up on the roof he went!  I can't get a good photo of him with my phone at night, but you'll have to believe me when I tell you it looks amazing!

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