Saturday, December 1, 2012

Clothespin People

When my mother was a kid, someone made her siblings and her Christmas ornaments.  They were soldiers made out of old-fashioned wooden clothespins.  When I was a kid, we had a number of them, including my mother's and her brother James'.  Since it is Lala's first Christmas, I wanted to recreate the ornaments after the members of my family.
Bard, Lala and me

This project is crazy easy and cost me about $14.  It would've been less if I hadn't had to replace my paint markers.

Parts list:
Wooden clothespins.  I prefer the flat ones because it is easier to work with them.
Paint/permanent markers in several colors.
Fine-tipped black permanent marker.
Something to protect the surface you're working on.
Raw materials

The clothespins come in bags of around thirty for $4 at craft stores.  Sometimes you can find them cheaper at dollar stores.  If you're only making a few, take the time to pick the smoothest ones.  The results are smoother.  The larger ones tend to be better for this than the little ones.
Decide whether you're modeling the people after anyone.  The pictures that follow are the process I followed to make my dad, step-mom and half-sister.  This will determine the colors and details you use.  The clothespins I used have a shape that easily separates into a head, shirt, pants and shoes.
Blue shirt, blue pants, pink shoes
Pick the colors you want to use for each person's outfit and use the permanent markers to color in each outfit.  Using the fine point marker, draw on a simple face.  This is generally the first detail that makes them recognizable.  Keep it simple for the best results.  Don't use too much pressure on the marker or it will bleed.

Outfits and the faces on the front
Using flat makes it so there are four distinct sides to color.  If using round clothespins, just continue the outfit colors all the way around.

Second side
 If you are using paint markers, you need to wait until the paint dries before moving to the next side.  Using permanent markers speeds up the process but there is some drying time involved.  You can do the first two sides, take a quick break and then come back to finish the last two sides.
The last part of the person's look should be the hair style.  This way, long hair falls over clothes.  If you're using dark colors of clothes or light color of hair, my suggestion is to use paint markers.  Even if you're using permanent markers for the rest, the opacity of the paint markers is better for hair.  Do the top, front and sides first, wait for them to dry, and then do the back.

 An option for further personalization is to write the person's name on the side of the leg.  Again, using paint markers is preferable here.  I also added the year since I am planning on re-doing these in the future when Lala can participate.

 The finished product!

These are super cute and very fast.  I did all the members of my immediate family in a few hours.

Side updates: still no word on the job front and I ate a whole bag of Twix while making these.  But that's alright.  I've got my lovely family and adorable clothespin versions of them.

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