Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Totem Pole Den Doodle

Well, the whole thing finally came together and it looks great (if I do say so myself). I think it took me a long time to finally get it done. I spend a lot of time thinking about each step. I'm much more comfortable making things when I have step by step directions to follow, so here is my attempt to give you step by step instructions on how to duplicate my den doodle.

The first thing I did (02/09/2012) was cut the board for the wings to length. As I described in my earlier post, I started with a photo of the totem pole, and I was very careful to duplicate the scale of the original. One quarter inch on my photograph was equal to one and three quarters of an inch on my den doodle. As you can see in the photo, I tried to cut the board with a jigsaw, but I couldn't figure out how to get the blade to lock into the tool properly,



so I ended up using a chop saw. The chop saw did very well,



but it could not cut the curves. (2) For those cuts, I used a coping saw (02/13/2012). I bought this coping saw to shape my son's pinewood derby car. I didn't use it for that, but it sure came in handy for this project. As you can see, I drew a grid on the board to match the grid on my photo so that I could get the shape of the curve just right.



The third step (02/20/2012) was to cut the notches in the wings. By this time, my husband had showed me how to lock the blade into the jigsaw. These cuts were super easy and super fast.



The fourth step was to cut the notches in the tube. I cut these notches with a razor knife. I started with a fresh blade, and it didn't take long to get these cut. (5) Then I added the handles. The handles in the wings are simply installed with screws. The handles in the tube are installed with bolts and washers on both sides of the tube. By this time, my six-year-old son has discovered me in the garage, and he has been lending a hand. He is posing in the photo below behind the den doodle.



The sixth step was paint. I started with a coat of primer. I have skipped this step before, and I have regretted it. For this project I thought it was particularly important to put primer all over the tube because I was pretty sure that printing would eventually bleed through. I had to buy two cans of primer to coat the den doodle thoroughly.

The seventh step was to draw the image of the totem onto the den doodle. I used a pencil and I started with the grid. Then I sketched in the image. I had a little trouble transferring the flat photo onto a round surface, but I managed. The part of the image in the very center of the pole looked good, but the part of the image on the edge of the pole (in the photo) appeared distorted on the den doodle. I compensated for this by taking another photograph of the side of the totem pole. It was impossible to match up my grids exactly, but having the two photographs did make it much easier to eliminate the distortion.

The eighth step was to add the paint. I choose acrylic craft paint. I did not believe that the old paint in the garage would be any good, so I bought four new tubes of paint. At almost $5.00 each, I was disappointed. I needed four colors, but I didn't think four tubes of paint would be nearly enough, so I experimented with the old paint. Not only did it work perfectly, it was all I needed. I was able to return the new paint. I did a little research online and I found this to be the case with most people who use acrylic craft paint. The stuff lasts nearly forever.

After painting the den doodle, the ninth step was to add the strings and beads. I purchased the longest leather shoe laces I could find. Then I tied a four inch loop in the middle. This loop will be used to tie a larks head through the eye in the wing. In our den meeting, I finally let the scouts do something. They picked out the beads to spell their names and added them to the strings.

The den doodle made its debut at our February pack meeting (02/27/2012). It was a big hit. Some of the boys fought over who got to carry it down the hall. It is much larger and more imposing than most den doodles, but it made a great decoration at the pack meeting, so I'm actually itching to make another one. I'm not sure anyone else would be willing to cart the thing in and out of den and pack meetings though.

So far, I have simple plastic pony beads in various colors. I bought these at the dollar store. My color code goes like this:
white - complete a step on the bobcat trail
red - attend a pack meeting or activity
pink - bring a parent to a meeting or activity
orange - complete a step on the tiger trail
yellow - complete a step on the wolf trail
green - attend a den outing
light blue - complete a step on the bear trail
blue - wear your uniform to a meeting or activity
purple - bring your book to den meeting
black - do a good turn
I printed this color code with my label maker and attached it to the back of the wings as a reference. I also have labels in my bead box in case I forget what any color is supposed to mean.

The only thing my totem pole is missing is to identify it as belonging to our den, so I've decided to buy some extra patches and then I will glue them to the owls chest. I'm going to get a council patch, the pack number and the den number. Here is the finished project.


Next project: a cub mobile.

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