One of my favorite game franchises of all time is portal. Everything from the gameplay to the characters and dialogue. Anyone who has played portal 2 has become familiar with Aperture Science CEO, Cave Johnson and his increasingly insane rants. The most famous of them is concerning a grenade made out of a lemon. I have seen people make some lemon grenade displays and I wanted to make one of my own. Unlike most displays that I have come across that look like come out of a present day Aperture Science, I wanted to make one in the style of when the company was in its prime in the 1970's. I've embedded a clip of the speech from youtube for your enjoyment (caution:mild language) If you are interested in making one of your own, read on!
Step 1: Materials
This project while not requiring many tools will take some supplies. Depending on how detailed and intricate you want to make your display will dictate how much you need. To recreate my display, you will need...
- Fake foam lemon
- Shadowbox with depth enough to fit the lemon
- White acrylic paint
- Yellow acrylic paint
- Black sharpie
- Polymer modeling clay
- Xacto knife
- Masking tape
- Small piece of wire
- Keychain ring
- Paper cutter (optional)
- Some printed labels/ cutouts (optional)
- Kitchen oven
Step 2: Prepare and Paint the Shadowbox
Because I wanted to make the display seem like something that you could find within the halls of Aperture I wanted to make a emergency style box. What better way to covey that contents are for emergency use only than high contrast safety stripes? To create the pattern I used the masking tape to create the lines and wrap them around the edges of the box. Looking back at it, I should have started the tape lines in the center rather than on top. Towards the end of the taping I had to cheat the lines a bit to get everything to fit. I ended up having to paint the box with 3 coats of the yellow paint due to the glossy finish that was on the shadow box that I had. Before you do any painting be sure to remove the glass so no paint gets on it. Set it aside in a safe place for later. Once the paint is dry you can remove the tape (super satisfying).
Step 3: Prepare and Paint the Glass
This step ended up taking quite some time. I went online and found a website that you can type text in and it will output it in various fonts. I was fortunate enough that there was the font from the cover. I printed out my text and used the xacto knife to cut out the letters to make a stencil. Once had the stencil cut I positioned to on the glass and taped it with the masking tape. Then I painted the letters with the white paint. Unfortunately, the paint smeared and needed to be cleaned up with the knife blade. After the paint was dried, I used a paper towel to wipe some of the paint off to give it an aged and distressed look.
Step 4: Cut the Lemon
I picked up a fake foam lemon from the craft store. I tried to cut through the plastic shell covering the foam with a fine tooth hacksaw but it was just shredding the outside. i switched over to using the xacto knife and just slowly cutting until I had cut all the way though. I didn't realize it when I bought it but there was a rock in the middle of it to provide some weight. I cut away material inside until I could remove the rock. then i continued to cut and sand to remove material so the lemon would fit in the box.
Step 5: Make the Handle
In this step, we will be using the polymer modeling clay to craft the handle and cap of the lemon grenade. Using the lemon to get the size, I worked and molded the clay making a small rectangular cap and a long, thin handle with a slight curve. The rectangle received a small bent piece of wire with a complete full loop in it to hold the keychain ring. Once I had the pieces shaped, I gently married the two pieces together and baked at 275 degrees for about 30 mins so it wouldn't flex or deform after the project was finished.
Step 6: Adding the Logo
Now the Aperture logo is something that I have seen on most of the other lemon grenade displays. However, they have all been the new logo that is featured in portal 1 and 2. As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to style the display as if it was created shortly after the lemon rant recording was made. I went online and found the old logo and removed the text to simplify for placement. I first tried to use decoupage to glue the simplified logo to the face of the lemon but due to the curvature, it was wrinkling and not sticking properly. So I decided to paint the logo instead. Using a compass and a printout for sizing, I copied all of the rings and the orientation of the lines to begin painting. I used the black sharpie to fill in the details and black sections and the outline of the logo and the thin white accent lines. I cut one of the logo printouts to get the correct size and shape of the atom orbitals in the logo and added them as well.
Step 7: Reassembly and Final Details
Using a touch more of the modeling clay, I joined the handle to the lemon. I worked the clay into the gaps to ensure a secure fit. I added the keychain ring to the wire pin. Next I cut a sheet of black paper to fit for use as a background. Before the reassembly, I added a flammable label to the inside glass under the lettering. Finally, I put all of the shadowbox pieces back together and added some exterior labels for added detail.
Step 8: Finished!
Congratulations! You now have a display that would make Cave himself be proud. Thanks for reading and remember, if life gives you lemons, burn his house down...with the lemons.