Painting the owl

To find Part 4 of the Harry Potter Owl lectern click here.

Now that the base and the owl was all done, I needed to seal them as I wanted to spray the lectern gold. As I have said before foam and the thinners in spray paint DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER. Its like the Coyote and Roadrunner. The foam is happy to do its own thing and all that the thinners wants to do is ATTACK, do you get my point.

What I did to over come this feud was to seal the foam. I mixed pva glue with water (I used 1:4 glue to water) and put in some yellow food dye. That way I could see where I had already applied the sealer on to the foam, as foam is white and the sealer was yellow.

It made my job a lot easier, I might also add that as I was painting everything gold this helped with the coverage as well.

Before I attach the owl to the ball permanently, I wanted the ball to be a different color. I tried silver at first which I quite liked but it didn’t stand out enough. I had some left over gun metal grey in my paint drawer, so I decided to give that a go and it was exactly the look I was after. So after a few coats the ball was ready to attach the owl.

I gave the owl three coats of sealer and left that to dry for a week wile I went on with other props.

The owl still needed a tail. I drew this out freehand on a piece of cardboard to see if it was BALANCED, sorry couldn’t help myself.

Once I was happy with it, I cut down a piece of foam to 10mm (6/16”) thick using my hot wire jigsaw. I used the cardboard as a template and traced it onto a piece of foam. I also cut out another tail piece from 3mm (1/8”) mdf and glued the two together for strength.

Then I added the detail to the feathers and glued the tail onto the owl with Araldite.

Now the exciting part, I was going to spay it with gold paint. I gave both the stand and the owl three coats of paint. It looked good but it looked way too shiny and new. I had to age it some how and turn it from gold to a antique bronze look.

I watered down some black, water based paint and sprayed it with my air brush, it was amazing how the lectern was transformed, it gave me the exact look I was after

So you think I’ve finished this project, think again……

Finally the last section of the Owl Lectern, the candelabra that is attached to Chester the owl.

I had been giving this a lot of thought over the past month. How would I attach it? How would I balance it? What would I use as candle holders…… Hmmm……

I decided to start with the supporting arms for the candles. I needed something that was light and easy to bend. I went to Capral an aluminum stockiest and bought 6 meters of 12mm (roughly 1/2”) hollow aluminum tube for around A$5.00.

I cut the two outside arms first and roughly bent them into the shape I wanted. I then cut the next two arms to the length that I wanted. I also staggered the height of the ends so that the candles sat at different heights to each other. I kept going until I had 4 arms on each side.

To hold them in place and keep them spaced evenly, I cut two pieces of pine the width of the body of the owl and drilled six evenly spaced holes. The aluminum tubing was put through the holes i had drilled in the pine. To hold the tubes in position and prevent them from twisting, I drilled more small holes though both the pine and the tubing locking them in place with a screw.

I wanted the candle holders to look ornate and have some character. I had an idea that I wanted to try; I took some empty spray cans and put a small hole in each to let out any pressure left in the can. Once all the pressure had gone out, I cut the tops off the cans with an angle grinder and sanded the edges smooth.

Turned upside down these tops made perfect candle holders.

I needed to find a way to attach the aluminum tube to the candle holders and it needed to be strong. There was going to be some weight from the candles and I need to be able to  replace the candles without worry about braking anything.

I looked around my garage to see if I could find something to fit in the hollow aluminum tube. What I ended up using was a plastic wall plug. The kind that you use when wanting to put a screw into a brick wall, they expand holding firmly into the wall. These come in all different sizes, the green one fitted perfectly. I also pushed a 3 inch nail through it as a spike for the candle to sit on.

Now to attach the spray can top, I took the nozzle off and punched out the small plastic spraying mechanism thingy.Then I got a drill bit the same size as the green plug and drilled a hole where the mechanism had been. Now I could glue everything into place with some 5 min Araldite.

Then it was a matter of repeating it for the other seven arms. To finish it of I used some rope and hot glued it down the arm for some extra decorative effect. Once I had everything finished I sprayed it all over with some gold paint and aged it with a touch of black.

The next step was to attach the candelabra to the back of the owl with 4 long screws and then glue the owl to the ball (this where you will need the help of another pair of hands).

Once I had the owl in position I masked around Chesters feet with some low tack masking tape, next we mixed up some 5min Araldite and carefully applied it to the specific area we had marked out and glued Chester and the ball together.

To really secure everything in place, I also put a 6inch screw through the tail and into the ball, this did the trick.

There was only one last section left to do, add the book stand. I cut out a piece of mdf that would cover the aluminum rods and also make it a usable lectern. Painted it to match the rest of the owl lectern and attached it

Now that it was all finished and I could stand back and admire it, I was really pleased with what I had achieved.

Yes it was hard.
Yes it was challenging
Yes it took longer than I thought
Yes I had never done anything like this before.
And Yes if you want to do it, you can do anything you put your mind to.

That’s been my experience over the years.

Looking back at it now, if I had someone showing me what to do from the start, I could have made it in a fraction of the time.

When I made the owl lectern there were no instructions on how to do it or photos showing you every step off the way.

I want to make it easier for you to build your own owl lectern, that’s why I’m currently writing my ebook. Watch out for it coming soon to this web site.

Are you up for the challenge? Leave your comments below.

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