I promised in my last post that I would write about how I got to the image of our cat onto perspex (I don’t think that is the english word for it, but I mean the transparant plastic thing). This could be a great craft for the whole year round. A tree with christmas, easter eggs with easter, etc. No painting on you window needed, and you can place the plastic in a easy to paint position, unlike your window. And your neighbours won’t see you fool around, nor will your curtains be in danger of getting paint on it!
Well I am going to tell you how I did it, but very short. Why? First, because I have saved over some steps which are usefull to show. I basically only have the original image and the end result left. Redoing it takes too much time – the first part was very time consuming.
Second, I have been busy with other things I got enthousiastic (carried away) about. Crocheting, making christmas cards, and tonight, salt dough and dried apple / orange / kakifruit (I wonder how that last one turns out, I added it in my enthousiasm…)
– halfway through writing the mini how I did it I found the image with in between steps saved, so I do have it! editing the how I did it now with images… –
Mini how I did it
Well, just to give you an idea of what I did, which options I used in paint.net (with several plugins/addons installed), here it is:
1. Choose an image
A high the contrast of the desired object and the background will save you lots of time. My picture didn’t have that. (Black cat and brown cupboard…hmmm).
2. Select the object
Open the image in your editing program (I used paint.net) and select the object with the magic wand, adjust the treshold so you have all of your object selected. Now copy it to a new layer.
3. Save & save again under a new name.
If you have and object with a high contrasting background you’re almost ready to start with the fun part. I wasn’t. I painstakingly selected areas around the cat and deleted those or used the eraser. I think in every tutorial about selecting something in an image, they say that deleting things around your object is bad bad bad, don’t do that. But I don’t know better and I did, as the tutorials are mostly about photoshop which I don’t have. Once you have your object all cut out (that really takes most time and is most annoying to do, hence I didn’t want to redo it for this tutorial), save your image, then save it again under a new name. That way if you really mess it up you always have most of your work saved. Another options is to copy the image to a new layer and mess around on that. Ofcourse, make the other layers invisible so you don’t get confused. Still, this doesn’t take away the possibility of you accidentally working in the wrong layer and only realizing it after you have saved and erased your histroy.
I forgot in which order I used which tool/adjustment, but these are the ones I used.
- color balance – I wanted to use only about 3 colors, (or more: black and white + 1 color) This options together with contrast/brightness got me there. White would be non-painted areas, as I still want sunlight in my room and didn’t want to put up a dark image which would block the daylight. The sun doesn’t really shine into this room, so daylight is precious. Hence the warm colors and “white” spaces.
- effect: oil painting – set it to a small brush if you have lots of time and patience. I didn’t/don’t, so I set it to a big brush size.
- effect: object outline – I think this option came with a plugin pack, the one that contains the “feather” option. This is to define the shape of your object a bit more, especially if it has to be seen from further away (my cat is hanging in front of my window, and I live on 3rd floor.)
Save lots in between.
That sounds easy, but it isn’t. Nowadays stupid windows on my machine comes up with the photoprinting window, that means its not possible to give dimensions to which to print, or to print larger. From the windows photo viewer and from paint.net I got that dialog box. This one. Grrr.
One of my other favourite programs doesn’t produce that annoying printdialogbox, that program is Irfanview. Read about how you can batch rename, resize, convert your images with that program in my blogpost about Irfanview. From the printdialog in Irfanview you can go to your printer settings and then properties. With my epson stylus printer, I can then go to the options of the page layout and select “poster print”, which means blow the image up across several pages. It is probably different with your printer, but I’m sure there’s a setting or option that gets you the same result.
6. Cut, tape and check
So print the image out in the size your want. Printers often can’t print on the edges, because if the paper is in slightly angled it would print besides the paper, so there’s a white border around your image, with or without cutting lines (I could select that option). Cut along the lines, tape the image together and then tape it to the back of the plastic sheet or perspex or other transparant medium. As you can see on the pictures, my first edited image was still too detailed, so I went back to the drawing boar…eh computer. The print on the foreground is the too detailed one, the middle one is the one I used and against the wall is the result. But we’re not at the result just yet in this how-I-did-it, so pretend you didn’t see it yet.
I used acryllic paint, metallic ones. I don’t think it’s permanent – I wanted to use some sort of glass paint first but to set that you have to bake it. I don’t think it’s wise to put plastic in my oven. Plus, I’d need a huuuge oven to fit that plastic in it :P. Anyway, it dries up ok and doesn’t come off when you touch it. You could scratch it off I’m sure (though that might damage the plastic) and I think you could even just wash it off. So it’s perfect! Tired of the image? Wash and redo it!
In the end I didn’t use the white paint in the bottom image I think, maybe only to lighten some of the other colors, I can’t remember.
Comparing to the too detailed image, not bad huh?
And now a picture of the front and the back of the perspex:
7. Placing it
I wanted to cut off the bottom of the perspex as it wasn’t used, and drill holes in it and hang it in front of the window. But while waiting for doing that, I just put it in front of my window allready. And guess what? It’s perfect that way! I don’t need to drill windows or cut off the bottom, it just has 40 cm of clear transparant perspex before the painting starts. It is standing straight against my window. The only downside is that my son is sliding it from left to right when we wave his dad goodbye on the days he doesn’t go to daycare. But oh well, imagine if it would be hanging, he’d be pulling at it and I’d be a lot more annoyed by that then I am by him sliding it left to right and back again!
Here you can see the shine of the copper color:
This mini-how I did it turned out a tiny bit bigger then I thought, but hopefully now it was somehow usefull! Have fun making your own window decoration!