Saturday, February 16, 2013

My iPod is bigger on the inside

A couple weeks ago I decorated an iPod case for my brother as a birthday present, and mentioned that I had an idea for another custom case. I had some time off this week and was finally able to get it done. Introducing...the TARDIS iPod!

Sorry for the flash..I'm used to using the iPod camera to take pictures for the blog, but I had to dig out my old digital camera to get a picture of the pod inside the case. Here's the best part:

Matching background screen!

And a shot of the back (before I assembled the case):

Here's how I did it. The first step was drawing the outlines and the words. I printed out a picture of the TARDIS the same size as the case and taped the case right on top. Actually, it was the same width but taller. That's why the bottom panels cut off in the middle. I also flipped the picture to create a mirror image before I printed it out, because I did all the painting on the inside of the case. This keeps it from rubbing off after use. I used the same paint markers that I had for Johnny's case: black for the outlines and a thin white marker for the words.

On the front, I lined it up so the hole in the center covers up "Public Call" and the on the side covers up the "O" in BOX. On the back, I lined it up so the hole for the camera covers up the first 3 letters. Now it says "ICE BOX" which I find amusing. Rather than try to trace over the letters in "Public Call" I just made small lines. The white you see in the windows and on the sign is actually on the picture I taped the case onto. A more confident artist could probably freehand the whole thing, but I like tracing. The markers are very easy to use and the lines are nice and even.

In my first attempt on the front, I colored over the words with the black marker. Either the words needed another coat or the paint wasn't fully dry, because the words were barely legible afterwards. I had to muddle over the problem for a bit until a solution came to me: if the paint markers are acrylic, and nail polish is also acrylic, will nail polish remover work to take off the paint? Answer: yes, it will. Rather than risk smearing the paint a second time, I drew lines above and below the words and left the space around them blank.

To make the sign, I cut out the sign from the picture I had printed (not mirror-image, so I had to re-print it) and pasted it in. I used a mixture of Elmer's glue and water. The only problem is that the printer ink is water-soluble, so the edges of the sign are now illegible. I was kind of going for a stained-glass feel, so it kind of works. That particular bit just looks more aged than the rest.

To fill in the background, I used tissue paper. I could have used solid blue, but all I had was plain white. However, I also have a set of 50 colored pencils! I colored in a block of blue using a few different shades mixed together. First I cut out small squares of white to fill in the windows, and a thin strip of black for the top:

I ended up doing three layers of white squares. The background covers the entire case, so there's blue behind the white. I didn't bother cutting around the windows; three layers gives enough opacity that you can't tell that there's anything behind it. Likewise, two layers of blue was enough to create the effect I wanted. 

For the front, I did thin strips to cover each side, again with a layer of black over the words before the two layers of blue.

I let everything dry overnight, then went back and trimmed away the extra paper with an X-acto knife. Don't try any trimming while the glue is wet--the paper is so thin it will almost certainly tear. I even had a couple rips while I was applying the paper, although that can easily be repaired by gluing a small piece on top to cover the hole. After the trimming was done, I put another glue-and-water coat around the edges and corners so they wouldn't pull away.

The first time I tried putting the two halves together, the bottom corners wouldn't fit, so I had to go back and trim a liiiiitle bit more paper from each side. The only problem with this particular case is that the tabs lock so securely I'm always afraid something is going to snap when I take them apart again. Now that everything is done it's going to stay together for a long while.

The finishing touch was my background picture. I traced over the windows and door panels onto another piece of tissue paper, colored it in, and scanned it into my computer. From there, I played around with it a bit in MS Paint (yes, I'm old-school like that) to darken the colors and add in the "Pull to open" sign. Then I transferred it to my iPod and set it as the background screen!

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