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DIY Mockingjay Wall Art

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It hardly seems like any time has passed since The Hunger Games movie was out in theaters this spring, and now, when it's available at the library on DVD and Blu-Ray. Back in the old days, you had to wait a whole year or more before your favorite movie was out on tape or disk. (Imagine the horror.)

Earlier this year, the Rensselaer Library created a display in our teens room dedicated to the movie, and the series. We had the books, and a READ poster, we just needed a giant Mockingjay pin to make the whole thing complete.

Unfortunately, giant cardboard movie props aren't always easy to come by. Fortunately, we have staff members who are crafty.

If you follow these steps, you can make your own wall pin to hang in your room, or give to a friend -- obviously a really good friend.

First, we started by looking for an image of the pin on the Internet. We were looking for something that was mostly line art, with a few simple details. We're not going to link to one for copyright reasons, but there are a thousand out there if you just do an image search.

Then we used a projector to shine the image up on a wall where we had taped a piece of cardboard cut from the side of a box. With the projector, we could make the image larger. You might be able to find this equipment at your school if you don't know someone with a digital projector.

Another option is to blow the picture up using a copy machine, then rub a pencil on the back of the outlines and trace over it onto the cardboard, or cut it out and trace around it onto the cardboard. If you're really good (we're not!) you could free-hand draw it.

After we had it traced, we cut it out with a craft knife. This took some going over the lines a few times. Cardboard is pretty easy to cut in a straight line, but not so easy when you're making curves. Get some help with this one from a parent or teacher.

 

We could have left the pin flat and just started painting, but we wanted to make sure it would be solid on all sides, not with the open sides of cardboard, and we wanted to give it some texture, so we decided to wrap the whole thing in paper mache.

Paper mache (except for a pinata, which is made to be broken) is best done with the pages from magazines and catalogs. These pages have clay in them and will look kind of shiny compared to school paper or book paper.

It's easiest if you take one or two pages and rip them from top to bottom (don't cut) into strips about as wide as your index finger is across (about 1/2 inch).

Important Tip: Never use a magazine or catalog that someone else is reading! Also, never use a magazine from the library!

The easiest paper mache glue is plain white school glue mixed 50/50 with some water. You want it about like tomato soup: it will run off a spoon, but it takes a second.

After we used the paper mache to run a coat around the whole pin, we used little pieces to build up the head and wings so they stood out.

The wet paper mache made the arrow tip heavy, and the little stem holding it started to sag, so we added toothpicks, then wrapped the whole thing with a little bit of craft wire, coated that with a last bit of paper mache, and when it dried it was very stable. It even stands out a little because it twisted, so it looks better than if it had been flat. Remember, if it looks good, no one needs to know it was an accident!

After it dried, we painted it with yellow acrylic paint. Using the original image from the internet for a guide, we mixed in a little brown to make the shadows darker and mixed in a little white to make the highlights on the wings. The last thing we did was spray the whole thing with a coat of acrylic gloss spray varnish. This stuff will make the craft paint and paper water resistant, give it a crazy nice gloss, and protect your hard work. Since you have to be 18 to buy this stuff, and it can be expensive, check with your school or a helpful adult. One can of this will cover years' worth of projects.

Our pin is about two feet across, and still hanging in our teen room. Stop by sometime and check it out. If you make your own pin, we'd love to see it! For bigger sizes of all the images here, check them out at our library flickr page.