Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to Make a Wise Man

On one of my earlier blogs I showed you some pictures of some Christmas Woodworking .  Well a young couple from our church is getting married.  I love giving this Wise Man as a wedding present.  Most people get married in the summer and get all kinds of things for the house.  Then when it comes to their first holidays as a married couple they quickly realize that they have nothing to decorate with.  This gives them something to start out their first Christmas with.  Although I know a few people that I have given them to display them all year long.

First I went to our local lumber yard and purchased a 1x12x6 piece of clean pine.  Pine that has very few or no knots in them.  Then I came home and drew the pattern onto the board.  I have plenty of board left over to make other things with.  When I draw on the pattern I make sure that the bottom of the camels legs and the bottom of the camel are at the edge of the board.  This insure that I have a nice flat surface for the bottoms.  I use my scroll saw and cut out all the pieces.  I then use a belt sander and a dremmel tool to completely sand all the pieces.  I round the edges on both sides of all pieces too.  This process took me 2 hours.  That includes cleaning up all the saw dust.  (Which makes my hubby very happy!!!) 

Next I bring the pieces inside and get them all painted.  I only do one coat of acrylic paint.  I want the wood grain to show through.  This is a 3 dimensional craft so I paint all sides of each piece.  This does not take real long. The paint dries fast so I can turn them over to paint the other side.  I also purchase a 24" plaque for the base.  This I stain with some wood stain.

Once everything is painted and thoroughly dry I begin the gluing process.  I use a wood craft glue to glue the pieces together.  It dries fast which makes this process actually go quite quickly.

Step one of gluing.  I glue the wise man body together and the heads on the camels. 

Step two of gluing.  I glue one arm on the wise man and one side of legs on the camels.  There are specific front and back legs.  I have to make sure they are lined up right and positioned right.  This takes a little time.  I put the plaque up to the bottom of the legs to make sure they will sit flush with the plaque.

Step three of gluing.  Attach the other arm and the other legs.  I use a 1/8th inch dowel rod for the wise man staff.  I also use my plaque to make sure that the staff will line up flush with the board as well as the other side of legs. I also glue the ears on.

Step four of gluing.  I glue the wise man and camels to the plaque.  I position them first and then glue them down.

When the glue is completely dry I then seal the entire piece with a matte mod podge sealer.  I use a lot of spray sealer for painted items, but because this is 3-dimensional I need to be able to get every nook and cranny!!  I brush on the sealer and let dry.  The mod podge goes on white and dries clear.  It is nice because I can see where I have put the sealer.  Before I put the sealer on I draw faces on the camel with a permanent black sharpie.  I draw eyes on the wise man as well.

Now that the wood part is done I get to start decorating.  The first part is to put on the blankets.  I cut blankets out of material and then dip them in fabric stiffener.  I then place them on the camels and let them dry over night.  This is not a project you can do in one day. 

Now I finish off my wise man.  I wrap the wood piece for the top of head in material and glue on rick rack. This is hot glued to the head.  The beads are added to the staff.  Then rick rack accents are added to the sleeves and bottom of robe.

Next comes another long process.  I hand bead tassels for each camel. Each camel has 7 beaded tassels.  There are four tassels on the corners of the blankets.  Two tassels adorn the sides of the halters. And one tassel is at the end of the rope that the wise man is holding on to. The harnesses and leads are added at this time too. 

To finish off the camels I make packages to load up their backs.  Styrofoam is covered in material and accented in rick rack.  Sacks are sewn together and stuffed to put on top too.  These are hot glued down and then tied on the camels with coordinating rope. 

Tails are added to the camels at this time too!!

Here are some different views of the completed project!!

The gluing and sealing process takes a couple of hours.  Decorating the wise man and camels took me 3 hours.  So to make this gift it took me a total of 7 hours.  This is why I don't sell these.  I always give them as gifts.  I could never get enough money for them as the time I spend to put these together.  I love making them and each one although look very similar has it's own unique flair to it.  I don't always bead exactly the same or use the same colors for packages etc... 


Ladybug said...

Such a thoughtful "Act Of Kindness"
Dina you are blessings to others
Once other see the Wise Man they will one as well.. Are you taking orders :-) ....
Lots of hours of love has gone into this project, the Couple with cherish it forever I know I would
The tutorial is excellent as well
Thanks for sharing!! :-)
Blessings / Hugs

Eileen said...

Love the wisemen

Mary said...

I love these Wise Men. I loke the woodworking projects you post. No one else does that. God has blessed you with the gift of creating such lovely things and then you share it with people which passes on that blessing. Love ya Dina

Sharon said...

Those are beautiful, the best part is that it is the Real Meaning of Christmas which is missing in so many homes. Thanks for sharing.