My gaming group just finished up the campaign we've been playing for the last three years and is about to start all over ("I have six hit points???"). Since it's that season, I decided to try my hand at some holiday ornaments for the guys with images from the modules we've played, quotes, and pictures of our characters. I like how they turned out, so I thought I'd post a tutorial for any other gaming geek Craftsters who might be in search of a quick holiday gift idea.
- 8 1/2 by 11 photo paper
- picture editing software
- hole punch
- X-Acto-style knife
- straight edge
- double-sided tape
- some smallish ornaments you don't want
Time Required: Image Prep + 15 minutes
I started mulling over this idea after seeing Carol Duvall's Glitzy Geodesic Ornaments
over at DIYNet. The Carol's Photo Ornaments
section toward the bottom has you making an isocahedron by cutting out 20 triangles, which seems like overkill. Then I remembered that when I was pondering making plush d20s, I'd found Bruno Van de Casteele's Paper Dice Models
page. Bingo. I took his model into Photoshop, selected 20 images and went to town, pasting them into each triangle. I particularly like his model, because you know which side of each number is up. Carol's model ends up with all the photos up, which is nice to look at, but less reminiscent of a die, which was the point for me.
Once you have your photos how you want them on the model, print it high resolution on photo paper. This gives the finished ornament a nice luster.
Next, trim around the edges.
Depending on your printer, you may need to let the paper set for a bit before taking this step. Don't start trimming before the ink is dry.
Once you've got the edges trimmed up, use your straight edge and X-Acto to score down all the black lines.
Make sure you don't cut all the way through. Depending on your photo paper, a little pressure should cut through enough to let the top layer of the paper snap without tearing through the back. You want to cut the black lines between the triangles, but don't forget that you also want the black lines separate a triangle from a flap. When you think you've got them all, run your fingers gently over the surface to make sure you haven't missed any.
Now you get to pick the top of your ornament.
For stability, I always picked one of the three areas where there are five triangles joined by a single flap (14/18/16/11/20, 7/5/4/8/2, or 4/8/9/1/10 -- see Bruno's model
). You'll want to look at how your images lined up, though, and make sure you're not going to lose something important under the ornament trim when selecting an area. Punch a hole there.
This is the fun part. Gum each of the flaps using double-sided tape and start sticking it together.
You may catch a Zig 2 Way Glue pen in some of my photos. I started out using it but ended up going with the double-sided tape for sanity. The glue was making the ink run, so I went the easy way. Of course, if you want to keep this for the rest of your life, make sure you use something acid-free.
Fold and stick.
Fold and stick. Fold and stick.
As you get close to the end, you're going to need to do a little wedging.
I discovered (the hard way) that it works best if the last piece you fit in isn't one of the triangles with two flaps. They're sort of hanging out there in the wind, and it's hard to get two flaps to stick when you can't put pressure from the back side. One of the triangles which has only one flap (10, 7, or 14 -- see Bruno's model
) give you the most control while making that final closure.
Now, yank the top off of one of those ornaments you don't want any more.
Pinch the wires between your thumb and forefinger and insert them into the opening you made with the holepunch. Be sure not to rest either of the wires on one of the spots where a triangle is taped to a flap or the pressure will make the ornament come apart.
Have yourself a geeky little Christmas or the holiday of your choice.