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I want to be in a video game when I grow up

So this year my boyfriend got in on the action.

A friend of ours sent him a makeup look for Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 (if you don’t know who that is you don’t spend enough time on your computer).

Or I could just insert the video and be nice

He then got it in his mind that he wanted to be Handsome Jack for Halloween. Admittedly he does have the cartoonish eyebrows for him. If not the cartoonish jawline (thank god, I’d poke an eye out on that)

This got me pondering Handsome Jack’s brackets… and how the hell I was going to do those. Technically its one hinge (at the chin) and two latches (at the brows) so you could imagine the mask unlatching and hinging downward. If you haven’t played the Pre-Sequel, do yourself a favor and don’t google Handsome Jack as to avoid spoilers as to how he got that way. Then go play it.

In the tutorial I linked they use prosthetics made by a prop house. Unfortunately I’m not that fancy. I was going to use duct tape. And no I was NOT going to just stick duct tape to my boyfriend’s face (that is occasionally tempting). I was going to layer it and cut it into the required shape, and voila it’s already the necessary color. Alas I didn’t have any and am too lazy to buy any if I think I have an adequate substitute. Enter felt and silver paint.

Really old silver paint, just laying around the house. Like the consistency of pudding old. That’s how I do it.

I essentially soaked the felt in silver pain and let it dry overnight. I then cut it to approximate size, rolled up one end and hot glued it to create the hinge pin ends. After that I gave it one more coat of the silver paint. Once all that paint was dried I was worried about it retaining flexibility but it still contoured to the face and apparently wasn’t really uncomfortable. I just did a final cut down to size and shape and put in detail work with a black sharpie marker.

 

They are easily applied with liberal amounts of lash glue (or liquid latex).

Then It was on to the makeup. I don’t really have much to say about this process, except refer to the video, and still shots of the character, and don’t be afraid to alter the character to suit your (or the person you are working on’s face). My boyfiend has a smaller forehead and wider jawline than Jack so lines had to be altered a bit. That makes the character no less recognizable.

Also make sure you exfoliate and moisturize prior to application. I had never worked on a man’s face before and though it doesn’t really matter to me, a face is a face all of them have different lines you have to work with. I had forgotten how hard it is to blend product on dry skin, always having had oily skin myself and having worked on the skin of women who don’t have stubble and moisturize regularly.…. Let me put it this way things do not like to blend on dry skin so make sure all of your dead dry skin is gone before you try to do any kind of intensive makeup look like this. Sorry honey, I just got after you on the internets J

 

So this is just the preliminary attempt. Sorry for the slightly ridiculous lighting and the ever present cat. I used mostly powder products over a cream base in the preliminary attempt. Another mistake if you have dry skin. Oh and the streak of grey both in this and the final version was just achieved with some dry shampoo. I like Batiste brand, but whatever floats your boat.

The final run Halloween morning I used cream products and just set everything with powders of corresponding colors. It didn’t turn out too shabby. He still could have used some more shadows through the laugh lines and what not but… not half bad. Who knows maybe i’ll be Tiny Tina next year.

 

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Desk Part 2: In Which the Naked Desk Gets His New Clothes

Yes, my desk is male. Yes, he likes frills and corner details and gilding. Do you have a problem with that?

So when we left off my desk had gone from this to this after a couple of very hot weeks in late august.

You can see its progress in Part 0 and Part 1

After that I wasn’t particularly sure what I wanted to do with the beast. Originally I was going to refinish the top with an ebony stain and paint the base with a grey chalk paint. Then I had planned to go over it with a dark finishing wax to give the carved elements dimension. However, after getting the whole thing sanded down I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to cover up that beautiful wood. So after some convincing and seeing what the top looked like stained I decided it would be worth the little extra work to stain the whole thing with a light ebony stain.

The top with its ebony stain.

I know light ebony sounds like an oxymoron … what I mean is just one light coat of an ebony stain to darken up the wood without adding any additional red since the wood was already reading as red (I’ve no idea what kind of wood it is but it’s very red).

I did some additional sanding over the whole piece with some fine grain sandpaper prior to staining then used a lint free cloth to remove any dust from the desk before actually applying the stain.

Before and after staining on the back panels and drawer fronts

I found it quite hard to get sawdust and lint out of the corners and carved detail no matter what I did. I finally hunted in the bathroom for a bulb syringe to blow air into these areas  and that turned out to be the perfect tool. It was far more efficient than a dust cloth or for that matter my lungs when it came to the crevices.

After all the staining was done it was a matter of protecting the finish I had just worked so hard to get. I originally purchased a can of polyurethane just assuming that’s how you finish things. After doing some research I decided to forego the ungodly coats of poly for just a couple coats of Tung oil. Tung Oil is pretty interesting stuff. If you’re thinking of refinishing furniture any time soon you should consider it as an alternative to poly. It was really easy to work with, a very quick process, and as far as I can tell quite durable. The only prep involved for the Tung oil was a quick buffing with a fine steel wool followed by dusting.

A couple of freshly stained drawer fronts getting the steel wool treatment before Tung oil.

In the end I’m really glad I went with staining the whole thing versus painting.

Tung oil really brings out the grain of the wood without being overly glossy.

Oh and remember that broken foot. It didn’t take stain luckily I had some paint handy, at least it’s an improvement.