Monday, 28 March 2016

Kevin the Snail...

Hello and Happy Easter everyone, I hope you have had a good extended weekend. Did you get yummy chocolate? 

Well if you follow me on Twitter you will have seen some sneaks of my snail project. I hadn't built anything 3d in ages and really felt the need to make something other than cards,tags and journal pages. So I gathered some old newspapers and began. 

I balled up lots of sheets of newspaper, really , really tightly, then added a long sausage shape of more paper and covered the whole thing with masking tape. At this point it has to be as solid as possible, so really tape everything up tight. 

Now for the sticky, messy bit. I added around 7 layers of papier mache. This was layers of torn paper dipped in watered down PVA glue and smoothed onto the snail. I alternated between newspaper and printer paper, this was so I could see where I had been on each layer. 

Once a few layers were on I taped on a piece of card at teh base to help him stand up. 

After so many layers and a good drying time between each one. On average I added one layer per day, I was in no rush and I wanted each layer to dry properly. I finally felt it was sturdy enough, so I made a slit down the whole of the back and pulled out all of the original balled up paper. I had to wrestle with it a bit, and ended up with a mountain of paper on my desk . 

I added these cardboard discs to each side of the shell to add shaping, then covered them with another couple of layers of papier mache. 

I used black duct tape to close up the back of the shell, leaving a gap in the centre of the back. I then taped around this gap so there were no rough edges showing. 

On one side I cut out a circle about 2.5 inches across. I taped around this hole too. To make sure the slit along the back of the shell was properly and securely closed I cut strips of duct tape and taped the inside of the slit... by pushing my hand through the hole in the side. 

I did worry how I would get the slit closed back up properly, but with duct tape on the outside and inside of the slit I am sure it is secure. 

I added more paper over the duct tape, 2 reasons.. to add another layer is to add more strength, but also I needed to cover the tape before adding paint, as it doesn't stick brilliantly to duct tape. 

This is the circle that I cut from one side. I made it a little bit bigger and then added a layer of paper over it. 

I then drilled 2 holes into the head and glued in 2 pieces of wooden dowel. Next, 2 coats of gesso and that is the build and prep all done. 

Now to add some colour. I began by using Dreamweaver crackle paste through a stencil all over the head and neck and tail. This was then painted with Old Gold Fresco paint from PaperArtsy. ( this is a discontinued colour, but any gold paint would work)

The next layers were Purple Twilight Adirondack spray, then Tiffany Blue and Tainted Love Teal Lindy's Stamp Gang sprays. 

I sprayed over the inks with diluted gum arabic and then heated this to dry it, it 'cook's really quickly and bubbles up creating an awesome dragon skin texture. 

I started on the shell.. again I am using discontinued paint colours, I have lots of half used bottles around and as they are no longer available I wanted to use them up. So i started with a layer of Chutney Fresco paint , this was rubbed back a little. then I added some spirals of Tar Gel. Once this was dry I added Cinnamon, and again rubbed it back. next I added Tikka and then Buff. Each time I added thin layers and wiped them back to show all the layers. 

The final paint layer was dry brushed chocolate Pudding. Once dry I sprayed with Edelweiss Moss Green and moonlit Mulberry Lindy's Stamp Gang sprays. 

All these layers were repeated over both sides of the shell and also the circle bit that I cut out. 

I then cut bits of velcro and attached them around the hole with the matching bits on the 'trapdoor'

The shell seemed a bit bland, so I added some black splatters...some very fine ones and a few bigger ones. 

Each of the larger black splats had a dot of Buff paint added to it... just a few, didn't want him to look like he had chickenpox lol

Of course these top layers are not permanent, so to stop them wiping off I added 2 coats of spray varnish. This not only seals but gives a lovely sheen. 

The base at this point was still just flimsy card, so I glued that to a larger piece of mdf then I used golden matte gel and texture beads from Powertex to add texture all around the base of the snail. once dry I gave this a coat of gesso. 

and here is how he looked at this point.. coming along nicely.. 

Now to paint the garden path. I started with Black for the shadows, then Slate, Elephant, Mocha, more Slate, more Black then Chalk. Each of these was dry brushed on and allowed to build up gradually. 

Now for a little fuzzy element.. I used yellow, black and cream felting wool to needlefelt 2 little bees. 

I painted some pieces of heavy cotton fabric, and then stamped some of my new flower stamps. Each one was cut out and a button added then they were glued onto the gravel path using gel medium. I attached one bee at the front and one at the back. 

I love this little flower garden.. 

I had given him an upturned top lip as I was adding the papier mache, it was the perfect size to slip in a flower stem. The flower and leaves are painted fabric and the stem is wire covered in washi tape. The stem is glued into the mouth with glossy accents. 

and so another progress shot... all he needs now is eyes.. 

I pulled out some more felting wool, this time a lovely variagated one.. 

I also painted 2 large wooden beads to make purple eyes.. 

I used the felting wool to make a casing for the eyeballs, This will slip on over the wooden dowel stalks. Before popping them on I added a little glue to the stalks so once on the eye casing will stay in place. 

.. and that's him all done, here are a few more photos of him all finished.. oh and his name is Kevin.. 

So here is the slot  in the top of the shell for money.. 

a nice view of him from the side.. 

his weirdo eyes haha these make me laugh.. 

and one final shot.. 

Kevin was a lot of fun to make and will hopefully guard my pennies. Hope you like him too. 

Darcy x


  1. I didn't realise you were going to turn Kevin into a money box.. but won't you have to cut him open again to get the pennies out?! He looks fabulous by the way, love his eyes and his little garden!

    1. Thats why there is a velvro trapdoor on the side.

  2. He is fantastic. I love Kevin, his friends and the garden, so cute

  3. Kevin is the texture and the colours. And his trap door is an awesome idea.

  4. Kevin is the texture and the colours. And his trap door is an awesome idea.

  5. Kevin is a triumph! Love his, all seeing....will keep a good watch on your pennies Darcy! Xx

  6. Hi Darcy, I'm with my two little twin girls looking at your amazing Art and snail here, soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo FABULOUS!!!!!!!! :)
    Thank you for the great step-by-step, I'm just in awe so much!!! Coco xx

  7. Kevin has completely blown my socks off!!!!!!

  8. He's AWESOME! I love all the details like the little bee. Wow! Lx

  9. Like him??? I LOVE him!!! I know what you mean about missing making in 3D. *is feeling the urge to get messy too* :D XXX

  10. Kevin is brilliant, I love him!

    Lucy x

  11. Amazing work Darcy, fabulous to see him finished, the paint effects on his shell...LOVE. One stunning snail! Ruth x