*** This Sprite/gnome is my original design and is provided here for your personal use only & not to copy for sale. Thank you!***
I've had so many questions about the process of making our wooden toys that I decided to create this tutorial. Thank you Tanya for the suggestion! Also thank you all for your kind comments on my last woodworking post and for helping me come up with the name "Rainbow Sprite" for these little guys.
I wish that I could show you the process of drawing and cutting them out but I did all my cutting in NY last fall at my Father-in-laws workshop. I don't have a saw here. However, I can tell you that I took scrap pieces of pine of varying thicknesses and drew what I wanted to make on them. After I drew them very close together on the wood I cut them out on my Father-in-laws scroll saw. Then I used a sander to quickly sand the outside curves and bottom. This is where my tutorial begins.
If you have a Dremel tool buy or use your wood shaping bit.
Using the dremel I curved the sharp corners and smoothed out the deep grooves. (And no I didn't actually sand on the play silk. Just wanted a pretty backdrop!)
If you don't have a dremel you can use hand files to do all the smoothing. I have a Husky 10-piece file set which is very inexpensive. After the Dremel I still use the files to add detail and smooth out any grooves the Dremel is too large to smooth out.
Here you can see I added the detail of the chin and around the simple hands shape.
At this point I use 3M Aluminum oxide 100 grit sand paper to smooth it out completely.
Then 150 grit.
By now it's very soft and smooth. I use buffing paper to buff it even softer.
At this point is starts to have a bit of a "glow". You can see the wood grain clearly and it has a more yellowy almost translucent color to it.
With a pencil, I draw the detail that I want to wood burn. Or skip the wood-burner and paint the detail, whatever you prefer. I drew the face line and the tulips at the base on both sides. I forgot to draw the hand line! (doh! Oh, well!) Here are some tips for the wood burner. First practice on something else first because it takes some getting used to. Mine has a flat edge so it's hard to create tiny curved lines. Also use it before it gets too hot. I like the more delicate burned line that I get by using it fairly quickly after plugging in.
After the wood-burning it's time to paint!
Use non-toxic tube or bottled watercolors. To make the rainbow sprite, squeeze out a tiny amount of all the colors of the rainbow. Or you could use just red, yellow and blue and mix the colors in between. For this Sprite I decided to make it the reverse of the previous one I had made. So I started with the red at the bottom and mixed as I worked my way up. I do all sides at once fairly quickly so they blend well. If after it dries there's a hard edge between colors, that you don't like, take a wet brush and blend the colors again. For my first sprite I didn't like how bright it was so I went over it with a wet brush again to lighten the colors. Make sure you leave the face, flowers and hands (which I forgot about), unpainted. Allow it to dry, then paint the tulips and leaves. Since the red is at the base I decided to make the tulips purple to contrast.
I cheated and added the wood-burning to the hands after I polished. I guess he's a little cold and wearing a muff!
If you use this tutorial please leave a comment with a link to your creations. I would LOVE to see them! And again, friends this is provided for your personal use only.
Until next time...