Monday, February 11, 2013

Paint Swatch Paper Balls

 Want to make some paper balls out of paint swatches? They're totally free, & oh, so cheerful!

I saw these in a magazine called MADE (that I'm pretty sure isn't even in production anymore) years and years ago. I made a couple years and years ago and they've just been sitting around my house. I came across them the other day and decided do something with them and make more When I make enough I'm going to make them into a mobile to hang in my daughters room somewhere to cheer up a dull corner. (I'll make that tutorial when I get to making that mobile)

Aren't these fun?

Want to make some? Here's what you'll need:

  • scissors
  • paint swatches: depending on the size ball you'll need 3 or 4, maybe get 5 or 6 to be safe. These are free at any store that sells paint. I got mine at home depot, I also bought a couple gallons of paint though so I don't feel as guilty for taking so many.
  • x-acto knife (Sorry, I have no idea how to spell that)
  • something round to trace. Note the smaller your item is the smaller the ball is & the more difficult of is to make & keep together. I prefer a silver dollar or babyfood jar lid. The smallest I'd go is a half dollar size. I tried to make a tiny one with a quarter and I got mad, frustrated and quit.
  • glue stick
  • ruler
  • paper clips (not shown in picture)
Ok, let get to work. First pick out your paint swatches you want to use......pick a color. Paint swatches are perfect because they give you perfect color combinations. I suppose you could use a card stock if you want with a design on it, I haven't tried that, but it has to be thick & you'll see why later.

In this tutorial I used photos from 2 different balls. Trace out 21 circles on the BACK of the paint swatches. Depending on the size of the object you're tracing you'll need more or less swatches : Half dollar = 2 or 3, baby food jar lid = 4 or 5. After traced, cut them out. Just grab a bunch, nothing worse then not having enough of what you need.
Ok. here's a slightly tricky part. Not tricky, but precise. You need to pic a sacrificial circle and make an equilateral triangle on it. As in, it has to be equal length on all 3 sides and it has to fit perfectly in your circle. This is really important so take your time and do it right. It it's not right, it will throw off your whole ball.
Use a ruler!

Now trace this onto the backs of all 20 circles. Next, you're going to pull out your x-acto knife and your ruler. Put your ruler along the lines you just drew and you're going to slice down along the lines against the ruler. IMPORTANT: DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!!!! You're only cutting it a little tiny bit, so don't push hard. You're not cutting it off, just slicing into it about 1/2 way or through the 1st layer of the paint swatch. This is why the paper has to be thick.
 See how I didn't cut all the way through? Fold up each side of the triangle so it folds up sharply.
            (ignore my finglernail polish...I was painting and I'm messy)
Soon you'll have 20 of these cute little guys. Only sliced on the back side and folded up toward the colored side so it's a nice sharp fold.

 Time for assembly!!!! Pick you're first triangle and glue one side of it to one side of anothe one. Like this...

Keep  doing that until you have a circle of 5. Do this twice, one for the top or the ball, one for the bottom.

TIP: As you glue them together, put a paper clip on there to hold it in place until it sets up and it keeps it from sliding around as you assemble the rest. You want these to stay where your put them. Paper clips work awesome.

The next 2 steps didn't get good photos of because, well I don't know why. It was just hard I guess. They weren't working out to show anything helpful so I ommited them.

Flip one of those puppies upside down so you see the inside. You're going to glue one row at a time. There's only 2 rows so don't panic. You see the flap that's asking for glue? Hint: It's the only one that hasn't been glued yet. The same on all 5 pieces there. Glue a new piece to each one of those flaps. Thats 5 new pieces. They will all be glued so the top of the triangle is pointing up. It will look like you're original base has 5 spikes sticking up.

Once you've glued those 5 pieces in place and paper clipped them snug you're going to do the next row. It's easiest to glue 2 sides of the new piece and stick it in between each spike. So these pieces are pointing down and are flat on top.

Hopefully this picture helps. You see how they are alternating up & down triangles? Do all the ups first (row 1) and then add in all the downs inbetween all the ups (row 2) Geez, I hope this makes sense. Sounds confusing, but it's really really not!

You're end result is 5 flat pieces on top waiting for that last big, already assembled piece to pop right on top.

 So grab that remaining original piece you glued together in the beginning. put glue on all 5 flat sides that are exposed and stick it to the ball. Paper clip in place and admire it!

 These are easy, inexpensive, and once you get the hang of it fairly quick. I can whip one up in a nap time now. Set them in a bowl, put them in big vases, hang them with fishing string, whatever! I wouldn't exactly let my kids play with them, they are just paper & glue afterall.

I hope this wan't too confusing . Just try it. As you start glueing it's much easier to see how they fit into place. Try it! You'll like it!

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