daddy made it

Turning fatherhood into art (and crafts). To inspire parents to turn their kids' childhood into works of art.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Turn an Old Record Cover into a Snazzy Notebook

Aka. Making a 100-page "book of brilliant things."

Confession time: I have an embarrassing weakness for ... stationary. There, I said it. We're talking pens, staplers, notebooks, paper, paperweights, whatever one can find in a stationary. It's not unlike my relationship to cameras (I have about 10, and still coveting more).

But lately, what I've been coveting are things you can't buy in a store. More and more, I'm finding things on the web that I want to make. That I have to make. Not just for me, but for the wife and kid.

So when I saw this tutorial on turning those old vinyl record covers into a journal notebook, I had to try it. That's my first effort on the left, using a Simple Minds cover.

Who it was made for: The wife.
The occasion: None. Just wanted to make it.

  • Paper. Legal size.
  • Old album cover
  • Yarn and embroidery needle
  • Thumb tacks.
  • Paper Cutter
  • Binder clips
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Butter knife
  • Elastic

Check out the Instructable link for the full tutorial with photos, but basically:
  1. Measure and cut album cover.
  2. Fold the paper.
  3. Clip to hold together. Puncture holes.
  4. Stitch the binding.
  5. Put on the elastic.
Ta Da.

Total time: about 2 hours (you could do it quicker, if you're the organized type.)

Total cost: $1.50 (for the elastic).

What I could do better: The stitchings are a little loose. I could try to make them tighter next time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Make a Wooden Mini-Haring Statue

What got into me? What made me do this? Well, my fifth wedding anniversary (traditional gift: Wood) was fast approaching and I was out of ideas. I'm a big, big fan of Keith Haring. I have a little girl. And because I wanted to give my wife something special, different and romantic (see my post on 4 Ways to More Romance) to decorate her new office.

What I did
1. I went to the Haring site and found the design for the Man Lifting Child Aloft (my title not his).

Copyright disclosure: The copyright, the licensing, the whole intellectual caboodle belongs to Keith Haring and his estates. I'm using it for non-commercial purposes only and I only made one. Note to Haring lawyers: Please don't sue me.

2. In Photoshop, I got rid of the colors, leaving only a dark line drawing. I printed it out and played with the sizing until I got to about a 5"x2" figure.

3. At the local hardware store (not named Lowe's or Home Depot), I got a little piece of scrap wood, about 5"x7" and an 1.5" in thickness, and a sponge block sandpaper, little package of brushes, 2 types of wood stains.

4. I placed the paper drawing over on the wood and using a dull pencil, traced/scored the design onto the wood. Then I penciled it in darker on the wood.

5. Using a jigsaw (in case you don't know, it looks like these), I cut the wood along the lines to get my mini-statue figure. For the gap between man and child, I drilled a small hole to get the jigsaw in there. Extra: I added a Chinese character for "5" on the man's chest.

6. I fine-tuned it with a smaller jigsaw bit, then sanded it down.

7. I stained top (baby) with a light stain (two coats), then stained the rest with a darker color (two coats).

What it cost
  • Wood $1.75
  • Brushes $3
  • Stains $10 ($5 each)
  • Sandpaper $2
  • Jigsaw $0 (borrowed)
  • Time (not counting two days for drying between applications of stains): 3 hours.
For a grand total of: $16.75

Do try this at home. Just remember: Safety, safety, safety. Make sure it's for non-commerial purposes only. Haring has alot of simple, child-like and timeless art. But it doesn't have to be Haring. I might try a Modigliani or a Matisse next.

Note: This is another post that first appeared on My Search for Meaning, Money...

3 Cool Photoshop Projects for New Dads

Note: This post originally appeared on my other blog, My Search for Meaning, Money... I'm in the process of moving all the arts & crafts posts over to this one.

As a new Dad, you're going to be taking a lot of pictures. You could play around with Photoshop's filters and effects. I did that but I found them unsatisfying because:
  • too easy, too quick.
  • anyone can do it, and they can see how you did it. So it's not very impressive.
  • maybe because so little effort is involved, there is a lack of heart or soul in the final image.
The following three projects will take a little time and effort (not a alot). And they are not too difficult. So if you're ready to turn your ordinary photos into eye-poppin' works of art, follow me.

1. Turn your picture into a comic.

Where I got the idea: There is a software app, Comic Life (for Mac only, I believe), that does it for you. But I used a free tutorial, I found here. It took a couple of tries to follow all the instructions. You can see the result above: a comic postcard of my daughter, lounging on the couch, watching Sesame Street on TV.

2. Composites

There is that Michael Keaton movie, Multipicity, where he clones himself many times. You're going to do the same, except in 2-D computer screen.

Where I Got the Idea: On Flickr, Donald Andrew Agarrat's Composites 2004, first inspired me to do my own. He gave a very basic tutorial (use tripod, layer mask, small brush tool for details), which was enough for me. There's even a whole Flickr group just on Composites (that also has cool collages) with a forum and tutorials.

Here's my little girl playing in the sandbox at the park.

3. Favorite Toy Goes in the Picture

Once you've mastered the Composite technique, you're ready for next level of photo manipulation -- putting your child or child's favorite toy into the action.

Where I got the idea: my little girl loves reading Curious George Rides A Bike, and her favorite stuffed animal, Monkey Pie, looks a little bit like George. So...

Now I know what you're thinking: Between changing diapers and work and not getting any sleep, how did you ever find the time for Photoshop? Hey, my wife asks the same thing. I do remember the NBA Playoffs were over and the NFL season had not started yet, so what is a guy to do?

Happy photo-doctoring!