October 31, 2010

Links!

Every RPG Ever - You know how RPGs sometimes follow the same path?  This is a great infographic that will make you smile if you have ever played a RPG.

10 Worst Halloween Costumes - No really, they're pretty bad.

Lightsaber Lip Balm - Hot Topic has lightsaber lip balm, who knew?!  They have a few different colors, and the lightsaber part actually lights up!

Galaxy Leggings - I know the Artoo bathing suit is getting all the attention, but the company that sells those also offers a lot of leggings.  One pair in particular is awesome; it is a beautiful space field and I think it could go with anything.

Interview with David Eick - I know the news about Caprica is sad, but I'm still excited about the upcoming Battlestar Galactica prequel, Blood & Chrome.  In this interview, David Eick gives some details about the mini series.

Steampunk Lightsaber - Somehow I've missed photos of this steampunk lightsaber until very recently.  This post has some details on constructions and photos of the finished product.  Very pretty.

October 29, 2010

Pink Raygun Post: Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Halloween is two days away, a lot of parties are just one day away.  How many of you are still scrambling for a costume?  It's okay, I'm a procrastinator too.  I posted a few last minute ideas at Pink Raygun that are inexpensive and can be made at home.  One of them might inspire you!

Shiny Webcomic Thursday - Super Vamp

Meet Emo Globbin.  He is a vampire with super strength, telepathy skills, he can fly, and more.  On top of this, he manages to be pretty cute.  Super Vamp by Christy Moeller aka Madame M tells his story.

The tale takes place in the dreary town of Bleakville.  It's smoggy and full of monsters.  The inhabitants were human once.  But thanks to a creepy villain called Father Water, they are changed.  He's the very definition of evil mastermind.  He is cruel, and after all, the character is modeled after Hitler.  That's our villain.  Our good guy is Super Vamp.  By day he is Emo Globbin and works at a blood bank.  Yes, a vampire at a blood bank.  You see, a pretty human girl works there - Betty Bluebood.  Super Vamp kinda likes her.

This webcomic has a great mix of funny, creepy, cute, great character bits, pop culture references, and I could continue.  I keep finding reasons to come back for more Super Vamp.  In the creator's words:
"Plainly put SUPER VAMP is a COMEDY with a bite. If you were expecting a series of seriously brooding, charming, romantic vampires, then I’m afraid you will be disappointed. But if you think there is already enough seriousness in the world and prefer the underdog than we’ve got you covered."

The style of the comic is wonderful.  I find the art, lettering, and coloring to be really eye-catching.  I enjoy that the creator includes quotes at the bottom of each comic strip too.

Check out the first strip of Super Vamp right here.

Super Vamp
Updates every Monday

Want your webcomic to be featured here or know of one you think I would love?

The requirements to be featured are few, but both are very important to me. The webcomic has to be shiny and updated on a consistent basis. It is not as easy as you would think to find a webcomic that's updated when the creators intend it to be. It can be newer webcomics or ones that have been around for months or years. Email me the info.

October 27, 2010

It's the Geeky Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I know what you all need: another post with photos of geeky pumpkins!!  I can't resist the obvious, and I won't pretend otherwise.  I feel the same way about carved pumpkins as I do about elaborately decorated cakes.  I like to see what others do because if I do carve a pumpkin, it ends up being a stabby mess probably involving blood.  The latest strip of the webcomic Gronk illustrates exactly what happens when I attempt to make a pumpkin look pretty.  It's okay though, I'm satisifed to bow at the amazing work of others.

Here are some of my favorite geeky pumpkins with links to where I saw them.  Once you're inspired, at the bottom of the list you find some more links to carving templates and even more galleries of amazing carvings.



The Lantern Corps - a nice collection of pumpkins and squash to make up a complementary set.  Click the link and browse the artist's gallery to see how cool they look when they are all aglow.



Cthulhu  - I like when the pumpkin is carved and sculpted all at the same time!



Hellboy



Voldemort - This one really creeps me out.



Greedo - Greedo is overlooked too often, but this guy got it right.  Do yourself a favor and check out that link.  He does amazing things with pumpkins.  There are dozens of carvings/sculptures to look at.



Evil Dead movie poster - You give Ash love, you give me love.  This family carves pumpkins every year and all of them are archived on their site.



Serenity - You can't take the sky or the pumpkin from him.  Again, this artist has a lot of great carvings.  I guess pumpkin carving must be addicting?


Free Pumpking Carving Templates
Spooky Sith-o-Lanterns from StarWars.com
Pumpkin carving templates from Pink Raygun - Ghostbusters, Dr. Who, the Hunger Games, zombies, and more
ThinkGeek's Pumpkin Template Contest - 48 templates including Buffy, Cthulhus, robots

Pink Raygun Post: Geek Goes to the Beach


There were already just a few geek bathing suits on the market, but with the crazy popularity of the Artoo bathing suit I bet that we'll see more.  I posted some of my finds in a new post over at Pink Raygun: Geek Goes to the Beach.

Spooky Books for Halloween & a giveaway

I don't handle scary well.  I think I realized this when I tried to pick up Stephen King's It around the age of 10.  Of course, horror movies of even the most cheesy variety had frightened me too, so this shouldn't have been surprising.  I snuck the worn book back into my aunt's bookcase, but to this day, I'm still scared of vents (Pennywise might get tired of drains!).  I stuck with R.L. Stine for a while.  I could handle being spooked if not terrified.  Around five years later, I tried another Stephen King book.  I don't exactly remember which one, but I wasn't very far in when I realized that the book was the cause of me not sleeping well.  I decided that horror was not for me.  And that was okay.

For whatever reason my brain had no issue with zombies or thrillers.  Silence of the Lambs and I Am Legend (it is quite different than the candified Will Smith movie) crept into my bones and chilled me.  In high school I curled up on the corner of my bed, against the wall, and read until the wee hours of the morning.  I knew that each page would maybe haunt me the next time I was home alone in the dark, but I still couldn't stop turning them.  This is still very much true. 

It is a delightful feeling to be scared by images created by words.  So I was very happy to see this post from Neil Gaiman proposing a new tradition.  Simply this: On Halloween or the week of Halloween, give each other scary books.  Pretty frakking brilliant.

I want to get the word out and help perpetuate this tradition.  To this end, I want to give one reader a scary book.  Granted, because I'm a few days off my game, you're going to get the book a little after Halloween but I hope you don't mind.

How to Enter
1. Leave a comment telling me about a book that scared you BEFORE 9pm PST on Friday, 10/29.
2. Use a valid email with this comment.
3. Be able to reply by Monday evening with a shipping address if you're the winner.  You'll also need to let me know what level of scary you like.

What book do you get?  Well, it will my choice and it will be a surprise. 
Happy Halloween!  Now, go give books!

Also, the Washington Post started a #booksthatfreakedmeout tag on Twitter.  Add to it and find some new books for your reading list.

October 26, 2010

Long Beach Comic Con

I can’t believe I haven’t been to a convention since Celebration V in August! I’ve been feeling the itch and reading reports about New York Comic Con and others with not a little envy. But finally, I can get my fix. Long Beach Comic Con is this weekend!

The convention is in its second year; in its inaugural year, 6,300 people showed up. Not too bad a showing at all. I’m not sure what the programming schedule looked like last year, but there is a solid variety of webcomics, how-tos, and Q&As. I’m particularly interested in checking out Women in Comics and Girl Power. Stan Lee will be there, so will Mike Mignola. Some of my favorite Star Wars artists too – Tom Hodges and Cat Staggs.

I went to the Long Beach Comic Expo in February and had a great time. I’m looking forward to spending my weekend browsing the exhibit hall, adding new sketches to my con sketchbook, and attending panels.  Plus, I want to see how this con grows.  It's close to me, so I selfishly want it to stick around (though I don't know if Halloween weekend is the best idea for dates).

In case you don’t want to click on the link above (but you should) Show hours are:
Friday, October 29 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Saturday, October 30 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday, October 31 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday; say hi if you see me around! I’ll be spending a lot of time helping at booth #819 (Bean Leaf Press). I haven’t made the final decision about costumes yet, but if I do get them out, it will be Poison Ivy on Saturday and a Star Trek uniform on Sunday.

October 25, 2010

52 Weeks with the Fetts


Remember a while ago when I talked about the Stormtroopers 365 project?  In case you don't, a guy named Stefan posed two Stormtrooper figures in 365 different photos.  Most of them are funny.  As a photographer, I couldn't imagine posting something like that every day.  Well, he's back with a new project that is a little less taxing.  Starting just a few weeks ago, Stefan is bringing us 52 Weeks with the Fetts.  You'll get to spend some time with Jango and Boba, and based on the images so far, it's going to be good times.  Chewbacca has already made a guest star appearance.

It looks like you can keep with the new postings at the photographers Twitter page - @stormtrooper365.

October 22, 2010

2011 Costume Plan (in other words, I'm nutty)

I can't believe that cosplay has only come into my life over the past five or so years.  It certainly makes Halloween a little different.  I'm probably going to be in costume that whole weekend at a convention.  I LOVE that I get to dress up more than one holiday a year + renaissance faires.  But since Halloween is when everyone else dresses up, it's a good time to plan ahead.  You can find sales on wigs, accessories, shoes, fabric, and props the day of Halloween or right after.  So, I made my list of new costumes for 2011.  It's a little ambitious... or crazy.  Probably the latter.

I have a pieces of almost all of these costumes though, so it shouldn't be too terrible.  If I don't procrastinate.  But I want to do them right and the best that I can.  I hope to take a sewing class before January.  I think this will really push my abilities, and it might point out some limitations too.

Next year I'll be attending Wonder Con, Phoenix Comicon, San Diego Comic-Con, GenCon, Long Beach Comic Con, and hopefully Emerald City Comicon.  If I become fabulously rich, I might throw a few more in since over half of my list is within driving distance.  For the most part, I don't know where I'll be wearing these yet.  I post any updates and progress on my costumes at my Facebook page.


Kaylee - I have had the majority of this costume for way too long.  It's at the top of the list (and yay for comfy!)


Mara Jade blue jumpsuit



Femme Boba Fett - I have the helmet and the skirt


Donna Troy, Wonder Girl - I have the jumpsuit


Ame Comi Duela Dent as the Joker - San Diego Comic-Con 2011 - I have the perfect shoes and hat


Snowbunny Padme - I have the jumpsuit and gun


Nymphadora Tonks - mostly for a Harry Potter party - I have the perfect skirt and gauntlets


Do you have cosplaying plans for next year?  I'd love to hear them!

October 21, 2010

The Hobbit just might make it after all

Do you stalk TheOneRing.net?  If you are fan of Middle Earth, you should.  You can go add them to your RSS feed, etc, now.  I'll wait.

While the Lord of the Rings trilogy was being made, I lived and breathed that site.  I am not one who ever picks up Entertainment Weekly or really follows behind the scenes tidbits or news.  But it's Middle Earth.  It was coming to screen.  I wanted to know if Orlando Bloom thought his wig was itchy (if that was ever discussed, I missed it) and what Edoras looked like.  I wasn't alone.  It's a story near to so many hearts.  We were all clicking obsessively.

And now, we have The Hobbit.  It feels like I've heard vague rumors about Peter Jackson making this film for years.  Right after the Extended Edition of Return of the King was released on DVD actually.  A few years and a lot less sandwiches later, Peter Jackson made it truth instead of rumor.  Guillermo del Toro would direct the epic, and it would be split into two parts.  Somewhere in the timeline, there were legal disputes with the Tolkien family, big kerfuffles with the studios and funding - mostly the selling and restructuring of MGM, and Del Toro had other commitments because the whole mess was taking way too long.  He bowed out.  Then the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) got bitchy.  Fans despaired, hearts sunk, and I think even Jackson got a little frustrated.  This story needs to be told; there is no question that tons of people will go see this movie.  And yet "Hollywood" still makes it incredibly hard to just make the frakking movie.

But.  Finally, there is hope.  The movie has a green light.  We have Peter Jackson back in the director's chair.  This is really as it should be.  Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis are set to reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum.  Martin Freeman will play Bilbo Baggins (more casting news here.  Things are moving along.  In theory, filming is set to start in February.  Of course, there is one last, kinda giant hiccup.  It might not work out to film the movie in New Zealand.  New Zealand is Middle Earth.  I'll be impressed if pre-production can recover in enough time to start promptly in an entirely different country.  I mean, they've practically got all of Hobbiton built in New Zealand.  I could be wrong, but I don't think you can just pick up hobbit holes and ship them on the next Fedex plane.

Even though it doesn't look optimistic at this point, I'll keep fingers crossed for New Zealand.

October 20, 2010

8 Ways to Do Vader... Costumes

Just like a slinky black dress, a Darth Vader costume is classic.  Most people think that they have to put together the complete costume to movie wardrobe exactness to wear it.  And that has its merits.  Seeing a person of an intimidating stature sweeping across a convention hall as the Dark Lord with a billowing cape is impressive.  I've stepped aside for more than one of those cosplayers.  But.  You can also deconstruct the costume or do it in different colors or change it a bit to hilarious effect.  I applaud these different versions of Vader.  Here are eight ways people have changed it up.



Beach Bum Vader - Easy, comfortable, funny.  You could do a tropical theme or hula theme too.  A Vader helmet with a grass skirt would make me chuckle.



Cardboard Vader - Go boxy!  It's friendly to the environment... though the black spray paint you'll use might negate that.  Here are instructions on making the left Cardboard Vader.

Photo by Jill Harness
Chef Vader - I have a hunch this guy might be a chef in real life.  I could be wrong.  Those pants are easy to get though, and though I happen to think Jar Jar on a platter is kinda awesome, you can substitute.  Everyone has a character in the SW universe they hate or at least dislike.




Fairy or Princess Darth Vader - Vader does look pretty in pink and frills.  Sorry Mr. Dark Lord, it's just true.  Though these images are of little girls, this would translate to adults female and male.  I would love to see a burly guy dressed up as combo of Darth Vader and the tooth fairy.  In theory.  The StarWars.com blog recently featured Darth Fairy, and here's a blog post about how the costume came together.

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Hello Kitty Vader - I think this started from a Photoshopped image way back when.  It's an odd combination - cute + evil - but it works out.  Especially when you make the helmet in the shape of Hello Kitty!


Sexy (in a classy way) Vader - My problem with "sexy" costumes is that they usually leave way too much bare skin.  And bare skin doesn't always equate to hot.  I like this costume because it's full coverage and gorgeous.  Evening Arwen made this as a personal project, and I've seen similar creations.  If you wear this, you won't need the Force.

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Pimp Vader - One of my favorite variations on Darth Vader.  You do have to work on your pimp attitude before you wear it though; that makes the costume.  If you can get a Twi'lek or a tramped up Leia to play your hooker, even better.  This one would also be fun to crossplay.  Hey, I'd be more scared of a female pimp.

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Shogun/Samurai Vader - I've seen just a couple of this type of Vader and both costumes were stunning and obviously made with care.  This wouldn't be any less work than the regular Vader costume, but the look is worth it.


Which Vader is your favorite or have you seen other cool ones?

October 19, 2010

Wonder Woman Day - Comics + Charity


Where did this month go?!  Wonder Woman Day is just around the corner, and better to bring it up late, rather than never, right?  Still, I've been remiss for talking about this sooner.

Wonder Woman is an ideal.  I know, she's a superhero, that's kind of the point.  Underneath the tights and impossible footwear though, the principles are still solid.  Superheroes fight for good things.  And Wonder Woman?  She stands for peace, strength, and equality... many things that us mere humans fight for.  Or at least try to.  We stumble, but the fact that we keep moving forward means something. 

Five years ago, writer Andy Mangels, decided to tie Wonder Woman's almost 70 year mission to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Wonder Woman Day lets fans celebrate the character and those writing and drawing her stories with special events and a staggering amount of original artwork.  That artwork is sold for charity.  The first four years have raised over $89,000 local shelters and domestic violence related charities.  You get beautiful, original art and charities benefit.  Yes, it is that easy and perfect. 

This year is extra special because apparently it is the final Wonder Woman Day.  It sounds like it is morphing into a different event next year rather than going away altogether.

Wonder Woman Day V takes place Sunday, October 24.
It's celebrated at two locations, and if you can make it to either you really should go.  Check out the official website for the list of events.

Excalibur Comics
2444 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, Oregon

Comics Fusion
42 Main St.
Flemington, New Jersey

If you can't make it to either of those locations, bid on some of the art for sale now.

October 18, 2010

The Millennium Falcon Makes a Perfect Apple Pie


Why would I make an apple pie that looks like the Millennium Falcon?

Why not?

A friend sent me a link last week describing an apple “pie-rate” ship. It was adorable, and it’s fun to see pie in different shapes; normally that only happens with cake. Cake gets all the glory – special molds, an Eddie Izzard bit – it’s not fair. I looked over the tutorial and I realized that with a little modification a 9” foil pie pan could become the coolest spaceship of all time (that’s not up for discussion).  It just takes a little time.

In case you want to make your very own Millennium Falcon pie, or cake if you must, here’s how:
Supplies
Reference pics, like these blueprints, or a toy
2 9” foil cake/pie pans (mine came in a pack of three from the supermarket)
Pen
Scissors
Aluminum foil
Stapler (wash it and the staples in really hot water first)
Ruler
Jelly rolly pan (cookie sheet with walls)


Step 1 - Reference
Step 1: Get a reference pic or toy. I fortunately have a magnet that is made from an original (I think) Millennium Falcon mold. Perfect.

Step 2 - Tracing the forward Millennium Falcon shape
Step 2: Rinse off two pie pans. On one pie pan, use the end of the pen (not the business end) to trace the shape of the front of the Falcon. It can be rough. Since the Falcon shape is so easily identifiable it’s okay if it’s not precise. When you are happy with the shape, carefully cut along your lines with sharp scissors. After it is cut, check the edges to make sure there aren’t any shards of aluminum. No one wants to eat those


Step 3 - Line up the forward section
Step 3: Line up the portion that you just cut with the whole pie pan. On the whole pie pan, use the end of the pen to trace where you will cut it off to attach the front of the Falcon. Carefully cut it with scissors and check the edges for bits of aluminum. [OR you can attach the front part without cutting the whole pie pan. It just means you’ll have some extra crust in the middle of your pie].


Step 4 - Attaching the forward section to the body
Step 4: Now for the fun of attaching everything together. I used a combination of aluminum foil and staples. Make sure you’ve rinsed the stapler and staple with hot water. You can even sterilize the staples with a lighter too (take them out of the stapler first please!). Line up the sides of the front of the Falcon with the back and use one staple on each side to attach the walls of the pan together.

Step 5 - Building walls on the forward section
Step 5: Where we cut the front for the missile tubes (between the forward mandibles), we need to build walls so that pie filling doesn’t spill out. Use pieces from the pie pan you’ve already cut up. You’ll cut three pieces to exactly fit the bend; you can use a ruler if you want to be precise. Once the pieces are cut, attach them one at a time. I attached mine to the forward area with staples and aluminum foil. Use the aluminum foil like clay.


Step 6
Step 6: Now that the pan is secure, check again for loose aluminum pieces. To prevent leaking (like I didn’t do), line the whole pan with one piece of aluminum foil and fold the extra over the top edge of the pan. Put your finished Millennium Falcon pan on a jelly roll sheet. Pause to make dough and pie filling (see recipe below). When the dough is ready, roll it out and carefully fit into the pan. Trim the extra dough off around the edges of the pan with a knife or pastry cutter. Fill it evenly with your apple mixture. Roll out the remaining half off your dough and put it on top and trim the edges.

Step 7 - Decorated ship! Yes, I know the cockpit is missing.
Step 7: Decorating a pie isn’t quite like decorating a cake, but you can still embellish a little. I took the leftover pieces from trimming the pie and rolled them out to about ¼” thick. I used various size glasses and cookie cutters to make circles and using my reference pic, I kind of put them where they should go. I lightly scored the lines from the top of the Falcon onto my pie, but they didn’t really show after it was baked. You can be as detailed as you want. I’m kind of lazy, and I’d reached my patience limit, so I put it in the oven. Leave the pan on the jelly roll when you bake it just in case juice leaks out the bottom.

Serve with an ice cream asteroid field!

Apple Pie Recipe
Crust
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, mixing lightly with fork until flour mixture is evenly moistened and clings together when pressed into a ball. Divide dough in half; shape each half into ½” thick round. Wrap each dough round in plastic wrap; refrigerate 15 minutes.

Filling
6 cups tart apples, thinly sliced (I used 4 large Granny Smith apples)
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Toss apples with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice in large bowl; set aside. Place 1 dough round between two large sheets of plastic wrap; roll out dough with rolling pin to flatten slightly, working from center of dough to the edge. Turn over; continue rolling until dough round is about 2 inches larger than diameter of your pie pan.

Pull off top piece of plastic wrap; invert dough into pie plate. Peel off remaining piece of plastic wrap; press dough evenly onto bottom and up side of pie plate, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim any dough hanging over edge of pie plate with sharp knife or pastry cutter; reserve trimmings.

Fill with apple mixture. Roll out remaining dough as directed; place over filling. Trim top crust about ½” beyond edge of pie plate. Fold edge of top crust under edge of bottom crust; pinch edges together to form a ridge. Cut several slits near center of pie to allow steam to escape.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35-45 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly.

Pink Raygun Post: Costume Transformation

Have I reminded you enough that Halloween is getting closer? If you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to figure out what you’re going to wear. By then you might not have time to make something and it’s just easier to grab something off the rack. In my new Geek Fab post at Pink Raygun, I give some ideas to make out-of-the-bag costumes a bit more interesting.

I would love to hear your suggestions too!

October 16, 2010

Linkity Links!

Flynn's Arcade - If you haven't heard, Disneyland opened it's very own Flynn's Arcade.  It's actually in California Adventures.  It has arcade games and music from the 80s.  I can't wait to check it out.

Online Communities Map from xkcd - I'd forgotten about some of these online communities and never even knew about others.  Seeing the proportions of say Facebook to Live Journal - funny stuff.


How to Make a Cardboard Helmet - This looks just as good as the Boba Fett helmet I just purchased.  Really great detailed and downloadable instructions on how to make a lovely helmet.

Disneyland Architectural Drawings - Super amazing drawings of rides, buildings, and the Disneyland park.  These are just done by someone who loves architecture.  If you are a fan of D-land, you will enjoy seeing these.


Superman's social network nightmare

Rare photos of the Empire Strikes Back set - Still celebrating the 30th anniversary and the making of book that was just released, Vanity Fair published a slew of rare photos.  Some of these were new to me, hopefully you'll see something different too.

Make a Clone Trooper Helmet cake - Star Wars artist Spencer Brinkerhoff III makes a Captain Rex helmet cake for his son's birthday.  Nice step by step with photos!

October 15, 2010

Geek Crafts: How to Make Tiny Rayguns

Cross posted at Geek Girls Network

Polymer clay is one of those hobbies that I never leave.  Though I don't get into my stash of clay and tools and stamps as often as I would like, I do go back again and again.  When I saw mini rayguns made from wood, I knew there would be a way to use polymer clay to fashion some tiny blasters.  By tiny, I mean necklace sized.  This tutorial is for 2" or so rayguns, if you want to go bigger, you should start with a foil armature.  But for now, think small!

Necessary Supplies
Pen and paper
Polymer clay - this tutorial uses Sculpey III in gold and leaf green
Toothpick
eyepin
Exacto knife or other tool to cut and mark clay with
Paper towels
Black and dark brown acrylic paint - for this specific project I also used red, iridescent silver, and gold
Matte medium, if your acrylic paint is a little old
Rubbing alcohol
Hairdryer
Small paintbrushes
Small cup for rubbing alcohol (leftover cups from Nyquil are perfect)
Black necklace cord to put the raygun on
7mm round jumpring

Optional (but nice to have) Supplies
Marble type surface to work with polymer clay on
A taper point clay shaper - good for smooshing and blending clay without leaving fingerprints

Step 1
1. Look around the interwebs for general raygun structure and sketch out some ideas.  I was fancy and put mine on post-its (I keep forgetting to use my sketchbook).  Think about what colors you want your raygun to be too.  If you want to get crazy, you can color your sketch too.  The tiny raygun is going to be necklace sized, so don't make it too big.

Steps 2 & 3
2. Take a small amount of polymer clay, about one third of the block of clay for the body of the raygun and condition it.  Do this by working it with your hands until it is softer and more pliable.  (If you have a polymer clay pasta machine, it's perfect for conditioning).  If you want to paint your raygun post baking, then you can use whatever color clay you wish.  But it's easier just to build it out of the right color polymer clay.  It comes in all colors of the rainbow.  I wanted my raygun to be bronze-gold with some green, so I went ahead and used those colors.  When the clay is pliable, start sculpting.  To get the general shape, I rolled the clay into a sphere with the palms of my hands and then tapered it by rolling just one half back and forth with my palms.  You might see that you have too much clay at this point, just take it away and start over with a ball.

3. Once you are happy with the general shape of the body of the raygun, you'll need a handle.  Take a very small amount of clay and make a small log.  Smoosh (very technical term) this into a sort of rectangle.  I had to play around a while before I was happy with the shape.  Gently, but firmly, press the top of the handle to the bottom of the raygun.  Using your finger or a clay shaper, blend the edges of the handle into the body of the raygun.  Remember, polymer clay should be pretty easy to move about.  If it's not, it needs more conditioning.

Step 4
4. The general shape should be done now, time to embellish.  I decided to take an easy route for the trigger and use the tip of a toothpick.  I scored the toothpick with my Exacto blade first and then broke off about 1/4".  I inserted that in the bottom of the raygun, close to the handle.  I also used another 1/2" of toothpick to add on the front of the raygun.  I then covered it with polymer clay.  To make the green pieces on the front, I used a very small amount of green clay and rolled thin logs out on a flat surface.  Just carefully place them on the raygun and press lightly.  Baking will secure the pieces, but if you want extra security, you can use Translucent Liquid Sculpey as glue (I didn't, but it's not a bad idea).  The pieces on the back of the raygun are slightly flattened balls of clay.  Finally, I used my Exacto knife to press lines into the handle.  It will add some nice depth when we paint it.

5. Preheat your oven and then bake your piece according to the instructions on the polymer clay package.  After the time is up, let it cool thoroughly.

6. While your raygun is cooling, get your paints ready.  You'll need a couple of brushes made for small detail work.  Put about 1/2 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in a small cup.  First, you'll use an alcohol wash on the handle to add some tonal variation.  Add a small amount of dark brown paint to your palette (or in my case, Star Wars plate).  If you are using matte medium, add an amount equal to the paint and mix them together.  Load your paintbrush with paint and mix it thoroughly into your cup of alcohol.  Tada, you've made an alcohol wash!  Paint a thin coat of this onto the handle portion.  It should sink right into the lines you cut in.  Hold the raygun at arm's length from the hairdryer and blow dry.  Repeat two more times.  It's best to build up layers slowly.  I also applied this technique to the gold smooshed ball on the top.

7. To add more variation, let's add silver to the green parts of the raygun.  This paint was added using a dry brush technique.  Add a tiny amount of silver paint to your palette and put a little on your brush.  Paint on a paper towel or scrap paper until you can barely see any paint come from the brush.  Then barely brush the tip of the brush on the green parts of the raygun to get silver highlights.

8. Paint the trigger and the point of the raygun silver.  Then paint the last ring red.  If you'd like, you can use a gloss medium on various parts for additional variation.

After Step 8
9. After your raygun has dried, thread the eyepin into a jump ring (how to open a jump ring) and put on the necklace cord.

10. Make lots more!
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