Monday, March 27, 2017

Faux Chocolate Jackalopes! A Tutorial Rises From the Ashes.



Until we moved to Montana, I didn't decorate for holidays other than Halloween and Christmas/New Years. Since moving I have gotten a lot more interested, maybe because I'd been using Pinterest for about a year by then? Whatever the reason, my holiday decorating tends to run to specific themes: Halloween is for setting creepy/gross scenes; Thanksgiving is for turkey, deer, and pumpkins; Christmas is for trees, and so on. Well, for Easter I want jackalopes, dangit!

From the Alphabestiary - SO COOL!

Jackalopes are not easy to come by in formats suitable for seasonal decoration or at crazy-low prices, which I get a bit of thrill from, I admit. This meant I was going to have to make them and probably do so via altering thrift store rabbits. Challenge accepted!

This 11" bad bun' was only $1.99!
The creepy-eyed couple were probably no more than a buck (heh)/buck and a half, but don't have the receipt.


Whoever was in charge of painting their eyes did not research rabbit eyes. These buns look they're going to eat your face while you're sleeping!

I am already in the habit of checking the holiday decoration section of thrift stores when I'm in there, so adding rabbits to my list was a no-brainer. I had to look several times there and in the tchotchkes sections over a several month to find some suitable pieces for my plans.

After lots if digging around on the interwebz via pinterest, craftster, etc. I decided on my choice of methods for changing these into faux chocolate jackalopes. Here we go!

1. I washed and dried the figures. I do wonder what is up with the creepy eyes on the pair... did whoever designed and/or painted these not even bother to look at photos of rabbit eyes? Was this person just that big of a Marty Feldman fan? We may never know.

2. I marked and drilled holes for antlers using representations of jackalopes I found online as a reference for placement.



For the 11" ceramic rabbit, I used a rotary tool with silicon carbide grinder bit ($6.99/2, and will be able to use for other projects) and kept water on hand to keep the piece from over heating.


I did a practice run on the bottom just to get the hang of this. It was my first drilling-into-ceramic project ever!

SUCCESS! I probably should have put masking tape down and marked that - it probably would have diminished or eliminated the chipping. But I knew that the antlers would flare a bit at the base to cover it and that spray painting it all one color would make it less noticeable.

For the resin pair, I used a drill with standard drill bits, 1/16" and 3/32", because I value a pilot hole (already had these).



3. After dusting them off, I used Rustoleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover, Espresso, in a satin finish to paint all the surfaces ($3.44, still have about half of a can, maybe a bit more). I did about 3 coats, all applied several seconds apart + a quick little touch up in a few spots after the first round dried.

I wanted to get the bottom and the down-facing stuff first, I stuck him head-first into this bucket.

After painting the underside, I set him on top of the overturned bucket to get the rest.

Obviously, I set up the spray painting in the nearly empty wood shed - here's the big 'um still wet. 

Even sitting on their paint stand (i.e. bucket), one can see how much less creepy these two are with a coat of paint.

~ And here is where this project stopped being quick & easy. ~

4. Meanwhile, I made wire armatures for the antlers for the big bun. I originally planned to use polymer clay over the wire armatures, but I couldn't seem to make it work. Clay was too soft, armature too flexible, the whole thing too small for me to finesse. So, I looked up paper mache stuff on line and found a paper mache clay/dough that I would make using materials on hand* already. That didn't really work on my armatures either. It was even softer, mushy even. But I thought I'd be able to use it to help fill that big bun's basket.** My next attempt was closer to standard paper mache - paper strips (napkins in this case) and decoupage medium.  Of course, I am doing this on the one weekend a year that is a mere 47 hours long! Why I thought the other methods were better in the first place? I guess I was hoping they'd be smoother.

~ The antler-making stage is where I stopped working on the creepy couple. ~





5. Once the antlers were dry, I put a coat of decoupage medium, then painted them with craft paint, white and ivory mixed, hoping it would look like white chocolate. Then, I stuck them in a bit of foam to dry. The didn't turn out nearly as smooth as I was hoping, but I just don't know what I can do to get the look I want.

6. When the rabbit and the antlers where both good and dry (admittedly, this is a few days after starting this whole thing), I used Quick Hold Contact Adhesive (by E6000) to glue them into the holes I drilled earlier. Then I set them somewhere warm-ish and out of the way to cure.



~ At this point the big guy needed something to carry in that basket. ~

7. After looking at lots of images of Easter Bunnies with baskets on their backs, I decided use a big egg in some kind of nest. Originally, I was going to either make eggs from polymer clay or buy some floral picks, but after researching the paper mache clay, I remembered that I had some Styrofoam eggs in my stash and that they'd be a perfect substructure for the paper mache clay! And it did not give me satisfying results! Too lumpy for imitating moulded chocolate.



8. Sooooooo, new wooden egg ($ 3.89/5 with coupon). I painted the egg with the same white/ivory mix of craft paint and made a nest with polymer clay that I spray painted with the same can I used for the rabbits. Its says right on the can that it could take several days to cure on plastic... I guess I didn't think about polymer clay being a kind of plastic so I was pretty disappointed/frustrated when it took about a week to get that sucker painted on top and bottom.





9. I glued the egg to the nest using the Quick Hold, but did not glue the next to the rabbit just in case I decide to put something else in there later on. Like my tears.

10. Lastly, the bow around his neck... which when I was putting it on I had the epiphany to make it a necktie and for some reason I find this faux chocolate jackalope wearing a necktie hilarious!

Et voila! I had a few ideas for where he should sit and the One True Spot was on the kitchen counter, in the corner behind the range. BUT he's brown and so are the surfaces in that corner. So I threw together a little egg-shaped backdrop with materials from stash and scraps and dug up this family doily.

Of course, more crummy lighting in this photo. We really like the kitchen lighting for working and being in, but it's not great for decidedly un-professional photography.

~ Hopefully, I'll take some time in the next week or so to finish the creepy couple. ~


*Well, not exactly. My half-empty, 5-gallon bucket of pre-mixed joint compound had gotten moldy. So I popped down to the local hardware store for a small bucket and while I was there I got to meet some new neighbors of ours, so it was an over all win.

** The recipe for this made about 25x more than I thought I'd need, so I looked around for other projects to do with it. Maybe I'll share that craft semi-fail later. Sigh.



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