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marine spar varnish
acrylic paints
rain and sun
overhead projector
rough surfaces
viewing audience
cartoon characters
s yard
Wooden Christmas Lawn Decorations
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As an artist and a woodworker, one thing I enjoy doing is making wooden Christmas lawn decorations. I'm sure you've seen them in your neighborhoods. The plywood cutouts of cartoon characters, painted, and lit up in the owner's yard.

Even if you don't have artistic talent it's still possible to take on a project like this. What you can do is get yourself an overhead projector, kid's picture books with cartoon characters in them. It's better if you use a story book instead of a coloring book, since you won't have color references from a coloring book.You then make transparencies of the characters you want to recreate on the plywood. The transparencies are made at a copy center.

After you have the transparencies made, just place your exterior plywood against a wall. For best results. do this at night. Next, place your projector in front of the plywood, place the transparency on the projector and trace the image you see on the plywood using a dark chalk. The reason you use chalk is it's not permanent. You can erase the chalk lines after you're done cutting out the images with a jigsaw.

Next, you sand down the plywood to get rid of the rough edges and rough surfaces. After you're done with the sanding you will paint two coats of acrylic primer on the wooden cutouts. After letting the primer dry for 24 hours. You are now ready to paint the wooden cut out characters.

Use acrylic paints to paint the wooden cut outs. You can use Slo-Dry in the acrylic paints to keep the paints from drying out too quickly while you're painting. I paint the backs of the figures with black acrylic paint,since the viewing audience can't see the backs of the cut outs. After I'm done painting the cut outs, I spray two coats of marine spar varnish to protect the cut outs from the wind, rain, and sun.

I then screw on either wooden or metal stakes on the backs of the cut outs. The stakes are used to secure the cut outs into the lawn.

After I'm done placing all the wooden cut outs on the lawn, the next step is to install the floodlights. I use low voltage flood -lights that come with a timer. You can purchase these lights from any hardware store, like Home Depot, or Ace Hardware.

These flood lights also come with a built-in sensor. It senses when the sun has set, and it's dark. The floodlights automatically come on. You can set the timer to turn off the lights at 10 p.m., or any time you wish.

This is a labor intensive project, but well worth the effort. It certainly adds to the festivity of the season.


Street Talk

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