And now Part two!
This will outline the handle construction all the way to completion. There are a few new supplies to add to the list first:
- Acrylic Gloss Coat
- Fabric Paint
- Craft Acrylics
- A Push Pin
- Card Stock
Alright, first off, the interior bit of foamcore in the handle needs to be cut out. It’s cut to match the exterior back curve and the lower edge curve of the blade, so that it gives structure to the handle while allowing the blade to nestle inside it. I also cut two extra pieces of plain cardstock to give a little extra clearance for the blade, don’t want the resting track to be too tight, or it will wear off the paint on the blade.
Now the interior pieces are glued onto one side of the handle, before gluing the other side of the handle down, I went ahead and painted the whole interior black. It’d be nearly impossible to paint after assembly.
Now, time to get that rotating mechanism in there. It’s a very simple sort of arrangement. A push pin (the kind with a flat metal head) is embedded, head end, into the blade, with the pin protruding. Later, this pin will be anchored into the handle pivot point. First we cut a square out of the blade, careful to only cut the top layer of paper, this is then removed, and the foam inside is compressed slightly to allow for the pin. We also cut a square out of cardstock that will fit -very- snugly into the square in the blade, punch a hole through the center of this bit with the pushpin. Also, to allow for maximum adhesion later, I took some wire cutters and put little score marks all up and down the pin shaft to give the glue more to bond with.
The pin was then inserted into the cardstock cutout, and this was pushed into the cutout in the foamcore, making sure it’s -very- snug. Then, to smooth the top over, since it now has a big square cut into it, I cut out a piece of plain printer paper in the shape of the blade and secured it over the top of the foamcore with a thin layer of the permanent fabric glue. This glue doesn’t make the paper wrinkle o get too wet, so I find it’s good for paper to paper application. Now this side of the blade can be finished, I won’t post photos of this since it’s exactly the same as the other side.
Alright, back to the handle, Now I went ahead and assembled the whole knife. The blade was set into the pivot point, but not glued down yet, I then checked to make sure the opening and closing was smooth and that the knife folded down without any of the point still sticking out.
Now on to finishing that handle! The handle in the game shots is definitely rubber like, so I decided to use Eva foam (aka foamies, craft foam). It’s nice and comfy to hold, has a rubber-like feel and photographs like rubber. Also, this stuff can be heat formed very easily. I cut a square out large enough to cover the piece, then went to the kitchen. The foam was held over a stove burner until it started to soften, then stretched over the handle to pick up it’s curves. Repeat a few times to really get the shape. Now this is just to get the back curve, the finger grip is a bit too much to do without having four hands to work with.
Now the eva foam was glued to the handle, first along the back edge, then carefully stretched over the finger grips, gluing down only a ridge or two at a time to preserve the contours. Many Hot glue burns from holding those edges down. The the edges of the foam were trimmed.
Now, some detailing. First, grooves were cut out of the eva foam near the front, the underlying foamcore was painted matte black afterwords. Then, I used an old stylus to press the details of the finger grip into the foam. Eva foam embosses like a dream, just use even pressure and be careful not to tear it, and repeat the pressure several times. Then, to give the grip a different finish than the rest of the handle, I painted it with glossy black fabric paint (I used Tulip brand Slick paint).
Now comes the time to work on the gold caps on the handle. I had intended to make these from styrene, however I hit a snag when I discovered if I want styrene, I need to order it online. No stores in my town stock it. So, plan b…more Eva foam! The problem with eva foam and painting is that it is, quite literally a sponge, and will keep drinking paint without ever letting go of it’s porous texture. There is a technique to help prevent this though. By heating then stretching the foam, buffing the surface the whole time, the surface becomes very smooth and more apt to take paint well. I did this by heating the piece of foam under a hot iron, then immediately stretching it, all the time running it over the back of my office chair (think how you shine a shoe). The butt form was cut from this and further heat formed into a curve (I actually used the outside surface of my very hot teacup for this).
Then, the cap and it’s bottom were glued to the and of the handle and embossed in the same way as the finger grip area. The cap foam was then sealed with gloss acrylic paint first, then got two coats of gold enamel.
Now the back cap, it’s done in the same way as the butt cap, cutout from the same strip of foam that I buffed and stretched.
I had to extrapolate most of the embossed design, as all of the references I could gather only really show the side of the design. You can also see the different finiah the eva foam gets after being streched and buffed.
Another sealant coat, then two coats of paint:
Now, on to the emblems on the pivot point. I had hoped to make these of an image backed clear material, however the supplies were a bit too much for this piece, so Instead I decided to sculpt the rounds with sculpey and paint them. First, the sculpting. Little flattened rounds are harder to do than you’d think, so I went ahead and made a simple press mold in sculpey by pressing the rounded end of a hobby blade cap into some rolled out sculpey, fired that, then used it to mold the two emblems. One is a little bit bigger than the other in the references, so one is smaller than the other here as well.
Once fired, I set them up to paint. When painting very tiny things, It’s hepful to secure them to a round head sewing pin with a little hot glue or other removable adhesive, then stick the pin in something like foam to keep the piece from moving while you paint. I used a little craft acrylic paint to paint in the base colors first.
Then, highlights were added to the base colors and the black lines were painted in carefully.
They were then given two gloss coats and removed from the pins. Now it’s time to assemble. The Emblems were glued down, the pivot post glued into the pivot…and voila!
There are still a few things to do, paint touch-ups and the like, but I won’t bore you folks with that process.
This piece has been a lot of fun to work on, and I’ve certainly learned some new tricks while doing it. I hope this little walkthrough has been helpful or at least entertaining. Look forward to the next tutorial coming soon (and I mean soon!): Making small sculpey press molds from hot glue!