Introduction: DIY Aluminum Foil Millennium Falcon

About: ★ It's what I do. I craft and I know things ★ Autistic/ADHD Self-Taught Artist & Maker ★

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Welcome to my first Instructable! I’m here to guide you through the steps I used to create great geeky art. I used a coloring book page of a Millenium Falcon (you can use any design you choose) and everyday materials you may already have at home. If you make some geeky art of your own, I’d love to see it in the comments. Have fun!

Supplies & Materials:

  1. Design of your choosing
  2. Cardstock (back of yellow legal pad)
  3. Corrugated cardboard
  4. Aluminum foil
  5. Tacky glue (Aleene’s Tacky Glue works great)
  6. Spray adhesive
  7. Razor / craft knife
  8. Scissors
  9. Toothpicks
  10. Eraser or other squishy thing
  11. Shoe polish
  12. Rag and/or brush

Step 1: Choose Your Design & Glue It to Cardstock

Choose a design from a coloring book. The dollar store has some great Star Wars coloring books. You can also draw your own design instead. Space ships or metallic objects work best with this foil relief effect. Photocopy your design if you wish to preserve the original for future projects.

Cut around your design with scissors. Spray the back with spray adhesive and glue to cardstock. Rub design with your fingers to flatten and get rid of bubbles. Cardstock is best for this because it isn’t corrugated and non-glued areas will be flat and not show lines.

Step 2: Cut Cardboard Flush With Design Edge

After drying, cut through both the design and cardboard with a razor. For a dynamic finished product, cut as close to the lines as possible. The cardboard is tough to cut through, so be patient and cut many times in the same place. Compared to cutting forcibly and all the way through the first time, this improves detail, reduces risk of cutting the wrong thing, and saves your hand from cramping.

Step 3: Strengthen With 2nd Layer of Cardboard

Cardstock alone isn’t sturdy enough to lay flat all the time, so use some tacky glue and glue it to a piece of regular corrugated cardboard. While the glue is drying, stack some books on top to make it lay as flat as possible. Let it dry for a couple hours at least.

After the glue has dried, use the razor to cut through the corrugated cardboard flush to the cardstock edge. This cardboard isn’t easy to cut through the first time either, so be patient and use many small cuts.

Step 4: Trace Lines With Tacky Glue

Use tacky glue to trace lines you wish to show up under the foil. I found that the glue bottle’s tip was too large for the detailed lines I wanted, so I pried off the tip of an old mechanical pencil and popped it onto the glue tip. This produces nice, fine glue lines, perfect for tight detail.

For edges and areas with lots of lines, go over them a few times to make them taller, but wait for them to dry completely before doing this.

Step 5: Glue Foil to Design & Rub It Out

Wait until all glue is dry before starting this step. Use spray adhesive to glue a piece of aluminum foil to your glued design. Shiny side up or dull side up, it’s all your preference. I chose to do shiny side up.

Use your finger to press the aluminum foil down over the glue lines, careful not to tear the foil. Use an eraser (or some other sturdy, squishy tool) to further press the foil tight against the glue and cardboard. Toothpicks are the best for making sharp creases in the foil, but be gentle to not tear the foil. I sanded my toothpicks with a nail file to blunt them a little before doing this.

Use a toothpick to lightly scratch the foil in open areas, and add extra lines by etching a little harder (again, try not to tear the foil).

Wrap the extra foil around the edges of the cardboard and secure to the back with glue. Glue scrap pieces of foil to cover bare corrugated edges.

Step 6: Rub Shoe Polish Into Grooves

Now for the fun part! Watch the design come to life by rubbing shoe polish on it. The amount you use is totally up to you; when you’re satisfied, stop. Don’t forget to do the edges. Some tutorials suggest using acrylic paint for this step. I tried this and did not like the result. Shoe polish is more forgiving and helps give it a pewter-type finish. A brush works well at getting the polish into tiny scratches and tight areas, but this is optional.

Once you get your desired look, you’re done! Glue magnets to the back, use Command Strips to adhere it to the wall, add it to another mixed media art piece, etc. The possibilities are yours to explore. Enjoy your new piece of geeky art!

If you use this tutorial to make your own, I'd love to see it in the comments!

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