Introduction: The Flash - Wall Art - MDF Project
Don't worry if you can not draw or paint you can make this!!! If you can trace a picture you can make one of these. One of the secrets to success is the blue masking tape. The rest is just a little planning and patience.
This is a limited tools project that almost anyone can make, you don't need to know how to draw to make this and cutting out the shape is very simple as well. It is also fairly affordable you get a lot for your money. I used 3/4 inch MDF which costs about $30 for a 4x8 foot sheet. I only used 1/4 of the MDF (that's only $7.5 in material) sheet for this project. I already had the red and black spray paint which were leftovers from other projects. I bought one new black paint marker which costs about $3. The rest of the materials like glue, brushes, etc., I already had on hand. So for less than $15 I made a giant piece of wall art that will last for years.
I've always been a comic book fan as good as the stories were is was the art that caught my attention. I saw the cover of this Flash comic in a bargain bin and fell in love. I knew I wanted to make a large wall art version as soon as I saw it.
I was lucky and was able to find a good image of this cover online. I saved it to my desktop and then turn it in to a vector in Inkscape which is a free vector graphics software. Next I printed an enlarged version. I trim up the print out and use clear tape to tape them together. I make sure to tape up the front and back seams.
I know what you are thinking, "Hey man you just skipped a pretty important part!?!?" "How do I convert an image in to a vector and then print out an enlarged version?!?!?" And you are right I did. But I did so because that process is all done on the computer and to be honest kind of boring in picture form. I started off trying to add that info in this Instructable but it just looks like the same picture repeated several times where I try to explain where to click. However do not fret I did make a video tutorial of that process if you want to know how I make my templates. You can watch it here How I make my stencil/templates its a step by step of my process with a voiceover, in my opinion its a lot easier to follow.
Once everything is taped together I use a razor blade to cut out the template.
I tape the template on to a piece of 3/4 inch MDF that was 2 feet wide. I space out the tape every few inches so that it secures the template to the MDF. You don't want it to move or slide around.
*Most home centers/big box stores will cut a piece of MDF for you for free. Some have pre-cut 2 foot by 4 foot pieces they sell as well.
After taping down the template I trace the image on to the MDF. When I remove the template I go back and fill in any gaps left by the tape.
Next I use my jigsaw to cut out the template. I try to stick as close to the line as possible it doesn't have to be perfect as long as you stay close to the line the final product will turn out fine. Just take your time and follow the line.
With the template cut out I sand the entire surface and edges with 220 grit sandpaper. This is mainly to remove any imperfections left from the jigsaw. This doesn't require much effort as the surface of MDF is pretty flat and smooth from the store.
Before moving on to the paint step I brush the entire edge of the MDF with wood glue. This seals the edge which will allow for better paint coverage on the edge. The edge of MDF is notorious for wicking paint unless it is sealed, do not skip this step.
Once the glue dries I then spray paint the entire piece black including the edges this is just to act as my base coat. When that dries I spray the entire surface red as this is the main color of the piece.
Now its time to start prepping the piece for the rest of the colors. I lay my template over the MDF and figure out which area I need to mask off with tape. Then I lay the template back over the MDF and use a ball point pen to trace the area that I want to paint, in this case its the white area of the figure. I try to apply slight pressure while tracing this will leave an impression in the blue tape underneath which I can then trace with a pen. Next I use a razor to cut away the masking leaving a precise template for me to paint. I mask off the surrounding area with tape and newspaper and spray it white.
*I prefer to use 3M Blue Painter's Tape. I have tried regular cheap beige masking tape and it didn't work. I have tried the green masking tape and didn't consistent results. I have also tried 3Ms Blue Painter's Tape with the writing on it and it didn't work as well. In my experience I get the best results with their regular Blue Painter's Tape.
I repeat the process for the other colors, here I am prepping the areas that will be yellow. Here again I mask off the area with tape, in this case straight over the white section I just painted, then trace the template, then trace the impression lines, then cut out the shape leaving the perfectly masked off section ready for paint.
I mask off the rest of the areas with tape and newspaper and spray the yellow sections.
Once that paint dries I remove the masking and repeat the process for the other colors. This is time consuming but you end up with really good results and very clean and precise lines.
I do the same for the beige of the face. You can see the last pic has all of the main colors the only thing left is the detail which is all in black.
This would probably seem like the hardest part but its just more of the same thing. This time though there is no masking tape applied to the piece. Here again you lay the paper template on the work piece and make sure its lined up well. Then using the ball point pen you start to trace all the black lines. This time the impression from the ball point pen is left in the paint. And instead of spray paint I use an acrylic paint maker to fill in the black lines. This can take some time but I always feel like there is a big pay off once all the detail is added. I like to work a section at a time when it comes to adding the black lines, it can look a little abstract as you go along but eventually it all just comes together.
Top tip! If you mess up with the paint marker you can use a cotton swab dipped in denatured alcohol to remove the paint marker and fix any mistakes. Once everything dries I spray the entire piece with 2 coats of clear spray paint to protect it.
I've made these types of comic book wall art pieces before. This time I decided to make a giant wall art piece of The Flash. I absolutely love this cover it is so dynamic and full of energy it totally fits The Flash. This can look intimidating but its not really hard its just a matter of taking your time and taking it on one color at a time. I really hope this inspires you all to make your own giant piece of comic book wall art.
Third Prize in the