In this blog post I’m going to show you how to make your own mermaid 3D picture like artist Purple Faye’s (me) original 3D acrylic painting, using the ‘Make Your Own Mermaid 3D Picture Kit’ by Yorkshire artist Purple Faye.
First, you need to buy the kit here
Your kit contains step-by-step instructions to talk you through the cardboard and modroc stages of making your mermaid 3D picture. However, as the kits don’t contain paints I don’t go into any detail as to how you might like to paint it. You can enjoy making it up for yourself but just in case you’d like some guidance here’s how I made the original 3D acrylic painting that the kits are based on.
I started by drawing the mermaid design directly onto the piece of cardboard, you have the design already drawn for you by me in the form of the template, so all you need to do is cut it out and use that. I then cut out the design and made another layer for the face, it’s just another piece of cardboard cut into a circle the same as the one in the original design, and raised the end of the tail by drawing round it onto another piece of card and placing it underneath the original.
I used the rounded end of a pencil to push in the eyes, then stuck it all down onto the blank canvas with PVA/craft glue and left it to dry.
It is this stage that makes them really 3D but because it’s cardboard it isn’t as heavy as people think it will be when they think it’s solid plaster being used.
The next stage was to apply the modroc (bandages with plaster of Paris in them) over the cardboard layers. I did this by getting my piece of modroc and cutting it to the rough shape of what I needed, keeping in mind that it shrinks when wet so it’d need to be a bit bigger plus have some overlap to go round the edges too. I cut it when it’s dry as it’s easier to cut when it’s dry rather than wet. Plus once it gets wet that’s it you have to use it, so if you don’t need to use it all then you can’t save any offcuts for later.
I wet the modroc by filling a container (an old Tupperware dish) with cold water (using cold water slows down the setting time so you have longer to use it, warm water speeds it up) and a squirt of PVA/craft glue then dunking each piece of cut out modroc separately to try and reduce the amount of scrunching up in the water.
When removing the modroc from the water I try to wring out as much water as I can without distorting the shape too much. I then place it on top of the cardboard and start to smooth it out so it covers all the area that I need it to. I continue to do this until the whole cardboard shape is completely covered. Finally I use two small squares of modroc to make the shell bra by rolling them into a ball when wet then smushing them into place. Then I leave it to dry.
When the modroc is setting and still wet it looks a lightish grey colour and gets more white the drier it gets. I try to leave mine overnight at least to make sure it’s fully dry, it dries faster the warmer it is so if you wanted to speed up the process you can use a hairdryer on it.
Once it’s dry I give mine a quick sand with some fine sandpaper, just to get rid of any rough bits, then I start to paint it with acrylic paints. You can use whatever paints you have available though. For this one I used white, red (to mix pink), orange, yellow, green, blue, black and silver.
I started by painting the whole of the mermaid white, once as the base coat to seal the modroc and then another top coat to make sure it was fully covered. Next I painted the face, arms and torso pink, the hair orange and then once it was dry painted in yellow highlights. I painted the tail turquoise, by mixing the green with a bit of blue and white, then added a bit more blue to the mix to paint in the scales. White was used for the eyes, necklace and shell bra, with silver for the shell bra details.
Next was black for the eyes, nose, mouth and bellybutton and a bit of red/pink for the blush cheeks. Finally, I mixed a light blue to paint the canvas background with.
So now you know how to make your own mermaid 3D picture like artist Purple Faye’s (me) original 3D acrylic painting, using the ‘Make Your Own mermaid 3D Picture Kit’ by Yorkshire artist Purple Faye.
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