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A Dad Gets Crafty with CleverPatch Christmas Presents – Day 5: The Nightmare Before Christmas Lantern

I am humbled.

My big bang finish to an awesome week of brilliantly fun dad-craft has not worked out. If I was young and cool I’d say something like “hash tag crafty dad FAIL!”. The idea was sound but my execution, well, it sucked big time.

The CleverPatch ingredients for today’s nerd-craft are – a glass hanging jar (click here to view) and the yellow and black paint markers (click here to view).
Otherwise known as:

The Nightmare Before Christmas Glowing Lantern!

Seeing as these are supposed to be crafty Christmas presents, I thought that for the final day I’d actually tie in an xmas theme. And what better nerdy-connection to Santa than Tim Burton’s animated masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas? It’s got snow, it’s got Santa gagged and bound, and a giggling skull with a false beard. You can’t get more festive than that.

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One smart and shiny glass lantern with a handle to hang it by, courtesy of CleverPatch.

Liska at Adventure In A Box.com inspired me for this concept, with her crazy cool Enchanting Halloween Lanterns (click here to check out how to do it right!). She even has easy to follow instructions. I still managed to mess it up…

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Start by spray painting your hanging jar. I went with blue so that I’d have a cool night-time sky background.

Mistake #1: You’re supposed to do a thin first coat and then check if you can see a candle through it. Not me! I decided that, under the sunlight, the paint didn’t look thick enough. More paint!

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Next, get Phenom-A-Mum to use her nifty art skills to cut out a template. How tops is this? I don’t know how she does such fine detail with a pair of scissors. If I’d attempted this, Jack Skellington would be the Headless Horseman.

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Place the template inside the jar and use it as a guide to trace on the outside. I started with a permanent marker because the detail was quite small.

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Mistake #2: I used the yellow paint marker to colour in a full moon behind Mr Skellington, just like the one on the poster. But the strong tip of the marker took off the spray paint underneath and began mixing into a green mess with chunky bits all through it.

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Mistake #3: I decided that I was some sort of art idiot-savant and went free-hand with the black paint marker to draw on Oogie Boogie and some creepy houses. Perhaps I should have used a template for these too.

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Mistake #4: I’m a cheap-dad. So I bought the cheap spray paint. Stoopid idea. It’s so crappy that it started flaking off whenever I touched it with my fingers. Each passing minute made the lantern less and less blue.

So what did it look like in the end?

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[Insert half-hearted trumpet ‘Taran-tarah’ here, with adequate squeaky fade out].

One patchy and not-up-to-the-rest-of-the-week-standard silhouette lantern. There is one big upside though. The flaky spray paint on the moon has kind of made it look like a proper moon covered in craters and ravines.

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Here’s Oogie Boogie in detail. The gaps are supposed to look like tears in his hessian skin, rather than stretching paint.

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I’m okay with the big house. It looks pretty German Expressionist. I really don’t know how those expressionists lived in places like this. You’d be tripping everywhere, and they’re so narrow that you’d struggle to set up good feng shui.

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Here is a great way to look at the finished piece. I love the blur. Maybe I could paint it like that next time? Just sit in one of those vibrating massage chairs at the shopping centre whilst I paint.

Verdict on the CleverPatch items? The glass lantern did everything I asked it to. Basically just to sit still, but it did that like a pro. The paint markers would have worked if I hadn’t used such poor quality spray paint. They were awesome until the tips got gummed up with blue flaky bits.

Verdict on the dad-craft? Let us never speak of this again.

I’m too embarrassed to  give this one away, so instead pop on back to Day 2, for a chance to win a Star Trek Communicator mobile phone holder, and then tap out another comment on Day 3, to try to grab one of my awesome Star Wars Jawa candle holders!

That’s it. Crazy Dad Craft week 2014 has come to a close. Thanks for coming along for the nerd-tastic ride! And a big thank you to CleverPatch for sending me the box of craft-acular goodies to trial, that was the inspiration to do this hands-on week!

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David Hawkins

Half nerd, all Dad & Founder of Big Kid Little Kid, the go-to blog for Awesome Dads. David is on a personal mission to become a more awesome dad to his two sons and teach them all the facets of being a major nerd. NES-off anybody?
  • We love this “mistake”… Don’t be so hard on yourself! It’s great!

    • David Hawkins

      Aw shucks. Thank you for lifting my spirits. And an even bigger thank you for giving me the inspiration for a week full of crafty craziness! That’s a big dad-thumbs up for CleverPatch!

  • Hi David,
    Wow, it was exciting to see you implementing and changing my idea of Christmas lanterns! I loved your designs and the Phenom-A-Mum’s cutting skills (maybe you could glue the lovely silhouette directly to the jar?)! I am very sorry the spray paint flaked.
    Thank you for sharing the link to my site!

    • David Hawkins

      Thanks for checking out the lantern Liska! I feel very chuffed! Very happy to share your wonderful site and encourage other parents to give the lantern activity a bash. It’s very cool and (yours at least) look brilliant when they’re done!
      Have to admit that I did seriously consider sticking the cardboard cut-out onto the lantern and pretending I drew it that well…

  • Amy Zabala

    I know this was done a couple yrs ago but I just wanted too say “Kudos To You”! I think you did a great job, this is definitely not as easy as it is made too look! I am glad that I came across the comments on Pinterest because I found your awesome website for my son and husband to enjoy together. Can’t wait to see the cool things they make from your site, keep blogging and creating! Amy from Indiana

    • David Hawkins

      Thanks Amy, for saying “hi” and for your lovely compliment! We’re very glad that you found us too! Now that I’m reflecting back on the lantern, it turned out okay (though it still pales in comparison to my immodest assessment of the awesomeness that I created during the rest of that CleverPatch crafty week). We would love to see what your husband and son make as well!