Intro: Grinch Project
The wife and I decided to make a Grinch for Christmas so we scanned the internet for some ideas. We looked at several Grinch pictures and I decided to make a Tall Grinch, Fence Grinch, Chimney Grinch, and the dog. The project took me about two weeks because of some rain days and time for paint and clear coat to dry. All in all I got the Grinch done in time to display them for a month. We added some spot lights so that they would standout at night. The only one I did not display for Christmas was Chimney Grinch because I was trying to figure out a way to mount it on the roof without putting holes in the shingles and or putting something heavy that could slide down and possible be a safety hazard. I will display Chimney Grinch next year along with some new items.
Step 1: Tracing Grinch to 1/4 Inch Plywood
First step was to collect the photos that we wanted to use for our Grinch and deciding how big to make each of them. We decided to make Tall Grinch 6-feet tall, Chimney Grinch 3 1/2-feet tall, Fence Grinch is 2 1/2-feet tall from the finger tips to the top of the hat, and the dog is 2-feet tall. Next I got a full sheet of 1/4-inch plywood that I had lying around and stood it up in my garage on top of some boxes. I then got a projector and hooked it up to my computer and projected the images onto the plywood. I used a 6-foot and 3-foot ladder and started with the Tall Grinch which is three different photos blended together. I took the head of one picture, the body of another picture and then the feet from a third picture. After putting that together I then moved the plywood to it's side and started to fit the other two Grinch and dog into the plywood. I used a number two pencil to trace the Grinch which took me from 5 PM to about 3 AM the next morning.
Step 2: Cutting Out the Grinch and Dog
Second step was to cut out the Grinch and dog. I used two saw horses, battery operated jig saw, electric jig saw, wood clamps, and a hand held coping saw for the fingers so the plywood would not split. Cutting out the pieces took me a hole day plus cleanup. I did the work in my new greenhouse that I built which also worked as a good paint booth later. If I had to do this project again I would use 1/2-inch plywood instead of 1/4-inch. Since I already had a full sheet of 1/4-inch plywood available, I took the easy way out. 1/4-inch plywood works well but you will need to reinforce parts of the Grinch so it can stand up to the weather. We had a warm Christmas this year but for next year I will reinforce the pieces before I put them out. I had to prepare for the next step which is painting so I got some spare 1 x 2 lumber and made a 5-foot easel to paint on. The easel folds up for storage and also has a screw on table to hold up to 14 small plastic shot glasses of paint if needed. The table comes apart for storage as well. The easel was made from scratch with three 1/4-inch spare eye bolts, 4-inch long x 1/8-inch wide threaded bolt with four washers, and a lock nut and some mason's string. It took me about five hours from idea to measuring, cutting and putting it together. What took so long on the easel was the wood glue that was used for the rim board around the table that holds the paint, I had to wait for that to harden in order to screw it all together.
Step 3: Primer Coat
The third step was to go over the pieces with a black marker to hi-light the drawing of the Grinch figures and the dog. After that was done I took some left over latex house primer and put two good coats on each side. I did the front of each piece first and then the back. The primer dried fairly quickly so I could do all of them one after the other waiting an hour and then flipping them around and doing the back. Once the first coat went on both sides I waited another hour and started the second coat for each till everything was done. Two hours after the last figure was painted I traced as needed the sketch of each with a black marker. For the most part the black marker could be seen through the primer. I then stopped for the day and started the next step the following day which ensured that the primer was nice and dry.
Step 4: Painting the Grinch and Dog Colors
The fourth step took about three days to complete. After we had chosen what Grinch we wanted I made a Power Point slide with some of the pictures from the internet and I took that slide to Lowe's and bought latex gloss and semi-gloss house paint. I used the pictures to match the colors with the sample color tabs in the Sherwin Williams section of Lowe's. Sherwin Williams paint scheme had the colors that best match the slide. I bought 14 cans of different color paints, Eco-friendly paint thinner and some 1-inch wide sponge type brushes that came five in a pack. The sponge brushes ensured I did not get any dripping and at the same time I could make sharp lines and the sponge tip put a good coat of paint on each figure. I put three coats of paint on each figure and flipped back and forth from one Grinch to the next so it would give the paint some time to dry before the next coat. I started with the dog's light tan paint first and then the light green of each Grinch. Then the darker greens and dark browns. The next day I started the red. I paused the painting process to build the back support of the Fence Grinch which also works as the suit for the Grinch which can be seen through the top lattice of my vinyl fence. I built the support and painted it red. The next day I painted the black, white, and yellow and worked on the multiple colors on the Chimney Grinch. I did some spot painting here and there and finished with the back sides of each figure. The backs were painted a solid color red, green or tan depending on the figure.
Step 5: Clear Coat
The fifth step of painting was to put the clear coat on each of the figures. I put three coats of clear coat on front and back of each figure and let them dry for a few days in the greenhouse. I then put together Fence Grinch with its support/red coat. I put a piece of 1" x 6"x 4' board on back of Tall Grinch for support using wood glue and some 1-inch wood screws and I also mounted three 1/2-inch pipe clamps on back of the board. I put a 1" x 2" x 2' long board on back of the dog in the same manner and placed two 1/2-inch pipe clamps as well. The pipe clamps support a piece of 1/2-inch electric conduit pipe that I use as a stake to stand the figures up. I did not finish Chimney Grinch's support as I mentioned in the beginning because I am still figuring out what the best way to support him on the roof. My roof has a steep pitch and I need to ensure that what ever I use as a support is safe, does not damage the shingles, and blends in well with the roof.
Step 6: Displaying the Grinch and Dog
The final step is to display the figures where they can be seen. The support for the Fence Grinch slides over the top of my fence and can be seen through the lattice so it was important to ensure it appeared to be his Santa red coat. I strung up the lighted Christmas flower garland followed by a green spot light. I stood up the Tall Grinch and dog and drove the 1/2-inch conduit pipe into the ground about a foot down. I then coiled the Christmas light around the dogs neck and looped it around Tall Grinch's hands and then rapped it around the bush. I then placed another green spot light in front of the figures. All lights are on timers that turn on at the same time and stay lit for six hours. The neighbors, especially the kids liked the display that I set up this year.