Here's an, hopefully inspiring, Instructable on how to beautify your neighborhood. Admittedly this Instructable doesn't really pass the threshold of originality but if I at the end of the day inspired a few people to make their own urban artworks, I'm happy!
Step 1: Tools
- Bead plates
- Tweezers, preferably needle nosed
- Waxed paper
Step 2: Get Images
There are lots of sites providing inspiration for this sort of thing. Some of the better ones are Spritestitch: http://www.spritestitch.com/ The Shyguy's Kingdom: http://tsgk.captainn.net/ and The Spriters Resource: http://spriters-resource.com/
You can also fire up an emulator and just take screenshots of your favorite game.
Step 3: Make a Grid
It's not really necessary to make a grid but it helps you to keep track of how many pixels you've done. You can do it the hard way by blowing up the image in Photoshop and manually adding the grid (like we did), or you can just use this nifty program that we found afterwards: http://people.dsv.su.se/~henrikbe/stitch/screenshots.shtml
Step 4: Make the Bead Plates
Not really rocket science, just put the beads on the plates. Just keep in mind which way you want them to be facing and which side you're putting the glue. The exact color you need probably won't be available so you'll have to experiment to see what looks good.
Step 5: Ironing
Use the wax paper as insulation and heat the beads until they melt together. Make sure that any thin protruding parts gets properly fused or they'll break off.
There is a high likelyhood of the bead plate warping if it gets too hot. I don't have a good way of avoiding this, just try to heat just as long as necessary and not more to avoid that too much heat transfers to the plate.
Step 6: Deploy
Find some unsavory individuals who don't mind a little law bending and go to work. We as upstanding citizens obviously didn't take part in this activity ;-)
Location is everything. Pick a spot where people have a chance to see your art, but don't make it too obvious. It will be more fun for people if they feel like they've found something (maybe we failed a bit in that aspect). Traffic lights are really good since it's kind of rare for people to actually look up when they're waiting to cross. I'm also still on the fence on whether we put too many of them in the same spot, it would've probably been better if we'd spread them out a bit over town.
The glue suggested that it needed at least 15 degrees Celsius to harden properly so being in Sweden meant that we had to wait until there was a reasonably warm summer night. The pictures really tell the story here, enjoy!