Monday, December 19, 2011

Blue and Coco

Meet Coco and Blue
My nephew normally gets storybook characters for his Christmas ornament.  This year I got a special request:  to make an ornament with his two favorite stuffed animals/imaginary friends, Blue and Coco.  I was familiar with the stuffed animals and took some photos of them for reference.  Coco looks a lot like Snoopy.  Blue is somewhat nondescript, with odd-looking floppy ears and a stubby tail.  My nephew is infatuated with Mario Kart, so I thought if I put the two of them driving in a go-kart, it would be a big hit.

I knew the kart would be some work, simply because I've not built one before.  Imagine my surprise when my stumbling block was Blue and Coco.  Blue is relatively two-dimensional, mostly light blue with a large light green patch over one eye and ear.  Two colors. One spot.  How hard could that be?

In pieces, then ready for baking

Getting Blue seated in the go-kart and still look like Blue took a lot more work than I had expected.  Coco was easier to make, even though he was so much smaller than Blue.  The trouble with Coco was where to place him on the ornament.  He'd get lost sitting with Blue.  I debated giving Blue a billowing scarf and have Coco hanging onto the end of it.  But a scarf like that would be fragile and prone to break.

I dug into Coco's background and was told that he's always flying around.  That became my next idea:  Blue driving the cart while Coco flew along side.  Still prone to breakage, but perhaps it would be a bit more stable.

So how to make Coco fly?  I decided on using some florist's wire.  It's fairly sturdy, but flexible.  The color will blend in with the Christmas tree, so he should really look like he's levitating.  I knew the florist's wire would survive baking without melting.  I propped Coco on some more wire prior to baking to make sure he wouldn't slide or melt off the wire in the oven.

Coco had been flying over Blue's left shoulder when I designed this, but after baking and stringing the ornament, I noticed it listed a bit toward that side.  No problem.  I bent Coca to Blue's right shoulder and everything straightened out.

After that it was just some finishing touches.  I added some yellow to the tires to give them some interest.  I dabbed on a spot of glue to where the wire met Coco so he wouldn't fly upside-down, then signed and dated it.  Go-kart Blue and Coco!

I hope it survives the man-handling I suspect it will get!

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