Hello. It's been a while. No I didn't have a hobby meltdown that saw me breaking my brushes and employing my number sevens Roman bath style. I have dropped the ball something terrible concerning my blogging commitment for the year but feel little guilt for it. Maybe I'm not one for the numbers and they are poor motivation. It could be that I have regularly been posting WIP and finished projects across alternate media platforms. Facebook groups remain and easy way to indulge my habit of alternating different "flavor" projects, and there is Instagram. Honestly I hate that platform and rarely remember to upload pictures. I hate the interface too but that's another story.
Guilt is a wonderful spur. When I say I will do something I like to think I'm a man of my word and have to admit that I failed miserably in keeping it. Too long ago I posted a shot of some dashboards I had ordered from Warped Mind Games on Etsy. Some time before that someone had presented their own embellished dashboards and I set out to make something similar. Mission accomplished I presented what I come up with and Christopher Yeun asked if I'd share how I did it. I said I would then forgot about, and again! Christopher, if you are reading this, I'm sorry.
If you know someone who is into scrapbooking be nice to them. They probably have all the tools you will need to complete this project with a greater degree of ease and competency than I could manage. The two essentials for the project are MDF character dashboards and a supply of Walking Dead comics you don't mind cutting up. I'd suggest purchasing some of the graphic novel compilations second hand. You get a lot of panel art on higher bond weight paper than the comics and could potentially get them for a steal. I managed to grab the run of volumes 1-25 for $50! Be willing to shop around and save yourself a ton. Since I already owned volumes 1 and 3 these doubles became the panel donors.
- Scissors or preferably a straight edge and hobby knife
- Modge Podge by Plaid, A waterbased sealer (Essentially pre-diluted PVA for crafting projects)
- Carpenter's Glue (Great for joining the two part MDF frames together)
- A good sized paintbrush you don't mind getting covered in glue
- A pencil (for marking the space covered by the top MDF frame prior to layout)
- Black paint (Preferably spray or airbrush for a neater "commercial" finish but brush works fine.
- A pile of books to weigh down the MDF when you glue the parts (good bond and prevent warping!!!)
- A sealer of your choice when all the work is done. Matt, Gloss, Semi (Whatever floats your boat)
I think this is the most important part for making something you think looks cool and it isn't even the bit that's going to get you hands covered in sticky crap! Take your time to think about it and have fun with it. There are all sorts of different methods you can use to present your panels. You can arrange them in a sequence that appears as though a story is being told with the panels you cut out. Or you could pick some of the full page spreads and dominate the space with them. You could place small panels in large spaces and black out the area around them creating your own "panel lines". The absolutes to consider are that the faceplate of the MDF dashboard will cover parts of your panel art depending on where your place them on the backplate and that the splines can be used as panel borders so it can be a good thing to choose pieces of art that will fit them. It's easiest to cut a whole bunch of panels from the sacrificial graphic novels and then just try them out in various positions until you find ones that you like.
MAKING A MESS
So you planned where you want things to go and allowed for the coverage of the front plates splines. Excellent! Lets get at it. You might save yourself some time pre-painting the MDF backplate black prior to gluing down your panel art. I didn't and had to work around my panels after the fact. Once the plate is ready apply thin coats of modge podge to it and the backs of your cut panels. Don't cover the plate! Just in the general area where you want your panel to lie. You would probably be fine just applying the modge podge to the back of the cut panel anyway but I was being a glue pig. Position the panels where you want them on the plate. I used my hands (sticky work) but you might know the scrapbooker I mentioned earlier and use a squigee tool they might have instead. Work from the center of you cut panel and try to work the air bubbles and creases out. Once all of you panels are in position and to your liking give the whole plate a thin overcoat with the brush again. Alllowing what you have already done to dry paint the face of the front plate black (bonus points for doing this when you sprayed your backplate). Apply a thin coat of carpenter's glue to the back. Position it in place on top of the frame, then weigh it down with the books. Hopefully the MDF frames will have bonded (check the thin splines) once you have allowed it to dry. If it's all good complete the project with a final spray seal and you should have some snazzy looking custom dashboards of your own.