Holiday Decorations, Speedway Style
At one time I used to be pretty creative. I even designed t-shirts and signs and stuff for Speedway. (910-918, 910-981, 910-982) Then I got boring. Like, super boring. The kind of boring that works in spreadsheets of part numbers and car parts all day long. Turns out, sometimes a guy still needs to find a creative outlet.
As anyone who knows me could also tell you, I’m pretty crafty at getting out of tasks that I don’t like. That’s where this project really comes to life. I detest putting up Christmas lights. I don’t like the cold, I don’t like damp electricity and I don’t like ladders. So naturally, what did Mrs. K ask me to do for our first Christmas together in our home? You guessed it, outdoor decorations.
Very soon after her insistence on decorating our house, I saw an extremely clever idea on a home with a single string of lights being pulled down by a Grinch figure. Pure genius. That’s my ticket to getting out of decorating. Off to the hardware store we go.
I used heavy,1/2” sanded plywood because I plan on riding this gravy train for as long as she still thinks it’s cute. You could do it with just about any flat, smooth material you want and can easily fasten to your house or fence. I scanned through the DVD of the classic Chuck Jones animated movie until I found the perfect pose for my yard art.
The scene happened to be one where he was making off with one of the Who’s Christmas trees. PERFECT! I Freeze framed the laptop and in an hour, with a sharp #2 pencil I had a sketched out figure on the plywood. I omitted the trunk of the tree from his hands because I planned on the lights taking its place.
I know what you’re going to say next, “But I can’t draw”. That’s fine, you don’t need to be able to draw. You could also project the image you’d like to use on the wood and trace it. If you have access to a projector at work that’s great but you can also get an inexpensive unit for around $40. (GM40 Mini Multimedia LED Projector)
After I was happy with the sketch layout, I traced those lines with a black magic marker. This is an important step because later on, when you’ve started painting, you’ll want to be able to see those lines through the striping enamel. Even if they’re faint.
With the outlines complete, I cut out the shape with a jigsaw. I wanted my figure to have a very heavy, defined black border around it. As you can see, this helps soften areas where there are shaggy details at the edges.
I love One Shot Enamel. It flows out smooth and mixes yery well. That said, I must confess, that for the back of this piece I used oil-based white enamel from the hardware store. I needed the piece to be protected from the elements front and back. Rustoleum did the trick. All the colored areas were stock color One-Shot or derived by mixing two base colors.
By the time you get to this stage, your project is basically a coloring book. Fill in the areas with the colors that belong there.Work from the middle outward so you don’t need to work across wet paint. Be sure to let the paint dry between colors to avoid uninteded blending at the edges.
For the large areas, use a 2” brush as you work closer to the lines and edges, decrease your brush size accordingly. For the finest lines and edges, use a striping brush and let the black lines flow a little over the color to cover any exposed wood.
Once everything dries, you’ve got a piece you can setup in about 15 minutes on Black Friday and get back to the footbal game and leftovers.
Jeff revisited the holiday decorations again not too long ago, to bring the Grinch some company. Check out how Jeff brought Max the dog into the mix by clicking here.