My next YouTube video is on “Show, Don’t Tell Using Dialogue,” and I figured I could best show dialogue’s importance by bringing in Wilson, the infamous volleyball from Castaway. The problem: Wilsons are really hard to come by… I decided to make my own Wilson.
I don’t want to spend too much time on props for a simple five minute video, so I needed a way to age a volleyball quickly with whatever materials I had on hand. Fortunately, I am into chalk painting.
For those of you who haven’t discovered chalk paint (not to be confused with chalkboard paint), it is amazing. It sticks to almost anything without primer, and it easily sands away to create a weathered, aged look–especially when you add dark wax. It goes on thick, and unless you are using white, you usually only need 2 coats for complete coverage (and that is without primer).
I’ve been using chalk paint on my furniture and my art boxes in my Etsy store for a few years now, and until this week, I never realized that chalk paint could be of some use to cosplayers and anyone who designs stage props–especially if you need your props to look aged with little to no effort. My favorite brand is Annie Sloan’s. (She createdchalk paint, so you know it’s good.) Hers are hard to find, however, so you might want to check out Americana Decor’s chalk paint Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or Home Depot.
Instead of recreating a “How to Chalk Paint” blog, which you can find with a simple google search, I figured I would share how I used chalk paint to make Wilson.
Here’s what I started with:
- A Wilson volleyball. It was technically the wrong kind of Wilson ball, but seriously, this is just for a five minute video (although I will probably use it more than once).
- Americana Decor Chalk Paint in the color, Romance, that I had on hand. If I really felt like being OCD, I would have mixed in some blue and brown to give it the dried blood look, but I went with bright red knowing it would take me too long to find the perfect color.
- Annie Sloan’s French Linen Chalk Paint
- Annie Sloan’s dark wax (not pictured.
- Painters tape (not pictured either)
- I needed to paint Wilson’s face. After running some tests, I discovered that chalk paint sticks so well that I couldn’t paint the face on and then wipe off the paint for the eyes, nose, and mouth the way Tom Hanks does in the movie. Instead, I cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth out of painters tape, painted the design using the Romance color over the tape, and then removed it. I smudged the sides to make it look more realistic.
- After the red dried, I mixed water with the French Linen in about a 1 to 1 ratio. (Crafters call this a “wash.”) I used an old rag to wipe the paint on and another to wipe it excess off.
- After it dried, I decided it wasn’t dark enough, so I got out some dark wax and did the same thing: wipe on, wipe off.
- I mutilated the volleyball.
- A palm tree outside dropped some twiggy-things last week, so I grabbed a bunch, cut them to size, and stuck them in Wilson’s head.
Here’s is the weathered finish, which is easier to see than in the top picture:
It took me less than an hour, and I only encountered one problem. My two-year-old had a nightmare and started screaming literally the moment my hand was covered in red paint. That was fun…
If you are a cosplayer or a stage designer, I strongly encourage you to check out chalk paint. Not having to start with primer is a huge time saver.
Note: I’m not sponsored by anyone. I didn’t receive any product for free, and Wilson, Annie Sloan, and Americana Decor have no idea I’m posting about this. (If you visit a lot of crafting sites, you will know why I included this paragraph.)
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Fantasy, steampunk, pulp, and paranormal novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit www.mbweston.com. To receive notification of M. B. Weston’s book releases click here to subscribe to Dark Oak Press & Media’s e-newsletter.
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