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Constellation Wall Art Part 1

I’ve wanted to do a project related to a game I love and thought about what I could do.  In the game there are constellations that influence your characters skills and thought to myself that would make some pretty great wall art.  I didn’t want to just do an illustration or painting, I love to mix media on projects and use techniques I might not have that much experience with. 


The first thing I do on any project is come up with a concept. 

The constellation has been carved into a stone wall and gives of a magical glow” 


I make it a point to keep the concept as loose and general, that way it’s easier to adjust for new ideas and burst of inspiration as the project moves along.  A loose concept doesn’t mean it’s not a solid one, it simply means that path to creating the final is wide open.  I did a mock up image to help me visualize the concept.

Frame Concept.jpg 


Now that I have an idea of what I’m going for I can begin.  Since I’ll be doing a lot of carving I decided to go with MDF as canvas.  Next I started to move the concept to my canvas, a plastic storage container made perfect sized circles :robotvery-happy:.

Drawing Links


My final step before carving was to darken my outlines so I wouldn’t lose my path as I worked.  A quick go over the pencil lines with a Sharpie had me all set.  Because the circles in the design interlock I decided to outline only one at a time, and mark the overlap points.  That way there was no chance of me jumping to another circle by accident.

Sharpie outlines


I used my trusty Dremel tool for carving.  I went with a straight router bit and the guide from the Multi-Purpose cutting kit.  This gave me the freedom to keep the carving a little imperfect, while keeping a consistent depth.



Because of the way MDF is made it is super easy to cut into but kicks out a lot of sawdust as you do it.  I discovered I could only carve about 4 to 5 inches before the sawdust build up obscured my lines.



Having a vacuum on hand is a must.  This little guy is my around the house life saver.

Bucket vac is great


Carving went smoothly with a rhythm of cut, vacuum, cut, etc.  A tip I can give is this, let the Dremel tool do the work.  Every time I tried to force it along I jumped my line work.  Just guiding it in the direction you want to go will save you a ton of time in clean up afterwards.


With the carving done I decided to go back and round the edges a bit.  I used a course sandpaper (around 80 grit) to soften the edges and round out the bottom of the carved area.  After all this is supposed to be old and worn stone, a clean machined edge just looks out of place.



Here’s how the final carving looks as well as a peek at my start of its accompanying constellation.  I still have a good bit of carving work to do in addition to some further weathering.

Sanded Dremel work 


In the next post I’ll cover the process of prepping for paint and hopefully :robottongue: get into the actual painting as well.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this and make sure to subscribe or bookmark this post under options in the upper right corner to keep up with my progress.  Feel free to post any questions and especially any tips you have in this thread.




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Posted 2011-12-19T18:50:16+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL Chris_HD_ATL

Chris, how's the work coming along?

Posted 2012-01-02T20:32:47+0000  by Paul

Hey Paul the projects coming along.  I got a bit behind my time table with the holidays hitting.  All the carvings squared away and I've been playing with different paint techniques on scrap board trying to find the look I want.  Once I get a couple more samples done I'll post them up to get some opinions and feed back.


Do you have any tips on weathering the edges of the board?  I rounded them off with some sanding but it doesn't quite have the look I want.




Posted 2012-01-08T16:47:10+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL

weathering or distressing? usually doing the distressed thing, we used to use OLD keys, a bunch of them on a piece of string. just starting beating at it... new keys are far too sharp and tend to cut instead of dent. thrift stores and the old mom&pop hardware stores that have been around since before dirt are a great place to find old keys. a substitute would be hex nuts. again, make sure they're old. any rust on them won't hurt, only help. any rust left behind will bleed through latex and just further the look. you can do some of that by just sanding a piece of steel over wet paint or over the piece before you paint. I used to sand my spreader for venetian plaster, then sand my plaster with that same piece of sand paper. it gave my marble look venetian plaster the impurities to make it look real.


but when you say weathering... i think crackle, tobacco glaze,  and whitewash. cracked oxidized paint...


another technique to think about would be using ferrous sulphate (iron sulphate). they may have it out in the garden department. it's used to kill moss. with woods like oak, ferrous sulphate will turn the oak a black or ebony color.


dissolve a couple teaspoons of ferrous sulphate in a cup of warm water. should look like a pale green/yellow. paint or rub it on. wait overnight and you should have some black or extremely dark wood by morning. when its dry (maybe as long as a week, since you're adding a lot of moisture), light sanding, light paint, drying of paint, sand some of paint away, whitewash... instant dirty weathered board... you can use tea instead of the water, will do something similar just a bit different color variation. ferrous sulphate is just a quicker method of using vinegar and steel wool.

Posted 2012-01-14T17:31:22+0000  by Paul
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