It’s really no secret how much I like owls.
As the season changed here in Kansas City, I’ve noticed some really good Fall door decorations, and I saw a large owl that was simple and striking and cute. So I set about to make one out of paper, and quickly got off track.
What should have been a twenty minute project of drawing, cutting and gluing on some eyes developed (in a good way) in a major weekend project of experimenting with making different textures.
My inspiration was this wood and paper craft. I decided I wanted something similar, but entirely out of paper.
First, in Adobe Illustrator, I drew up the body and tree shape so I could play around with sizing.
Once I was set, I exported the head and body as a DXF file, and then opened that file in Silhouette Studio. I separated it into two different cuts, so I could make it taller than the 12″ limit of my cutting mat. I cut it out brown textured paper.
I put the two pieces on a thick piece of corrugated cardboard and traced that. I removed the two loose pieces and then cut the shape with an x-acto knife, since it’s way too thick for my Silhouette. The trick to cutting thick cardboard is to not try and cut it through all at once; just go around several times slicing and poking and sawing until it cuts all through. It’s all going to be covered anyway, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
For my “feathers,” I set up several grunge textured digital backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator and printed them on thick smooth cover stock. . I had the Silhouette cut many shapes based on the body shape – it’s a smaller version that kind of looks like an acorn. Once they were all cut I tested a couple of arrangements to get a random look. Then I started gluing those on the cardboard from the bottom up, stopping where the the head piece would overlap.
For the head, wings and feet, I cut scalloped pieces from the same paper stock as the head, wings and feet, and then glued them on, overlapping from the bottom to the top. This gave those portions nice texture, and with the extra layers, it created more sturdiness in those pieces.
I cut circles of white and black for the eyes, and a triangle of orange became the beak. I glued the head, wings and feet on top of the cardboard, making sure to overlap the feathers so none of that background showed through.
For the tree branch from the inspiration photoI used a digital wood grain background paper I printed, and I cut leaves of two sizes from two different shades of green paper.
And once everything was all glued up, I created a different way to hang this on my door. I have been punching a hole in a rectangle of a cereal box to use as a picture hanger, but that tends to tip the decoration at a precarious angle.
This time, I cut two rectangles and punched two holes (off center). I threaded a thin piece of wire between them before gluing that down.
Once the glue was completely dry I wrapped the wires together to make loop. This gives me a little more fudge factor when looking for the center balance on the nail on my front door.