DIY Bulbasaur from empty face cream jar

Finally I have a new tutorial to share. All my free time is spent outside chasing Pokémons these days so it’s hard for me to find time to actually sit down and write something.

15 years ago my biggest dream was to become a professional Pokémon trainer. Thanks to Pokémon Go, it has come into reality :D. Back then Bulbasaur was my absolute favorite and I can say that now I adore it even more if it’s possible. I learned from Bulbapedia that Bulbasaurs are natural caretakers and so loyal, that they will return to the same trainer even after he/she has abandoned it for a long time. Isn’t it sweet? I wouldn’t mind having a real Bulbasaur as a pet, they are so perfect…

Because I couldn’t settle for Pokémon Go’s virtual Bulbasaur, I made my own from an empty face cream jar, newspaper and crafting glue. The technique I’m using is called papier mâché. The reason for using empty clean jar as a base is that the finished cutie will double as a place to hide random little things.

A word of warning: this project took me nearly one week to complete. So if you some day decide to make your own, please consider this is not quick one to finish.

The first thing I did was obviously washing the jar I was going to use. I scrubbed it thoroughly with soap because after all the paint and varnish it wouldn’t be washable anymore. Its diameter was (and still is) approximately 6 centimeters.

Bulbasaur1

I also had a little helper :D. No, I really had! He helped me figure out the right shape for the legs and head, and choose the correct colors when I was painting.

Bulbasaur2

I started to shape my Bulbasaur by crumpling pieces of newspaper and taping them onto the lid and around the jar. My plan was to make the bulb from the lid and the rest of the body from the bottom part of the jar, which you can see pretty well from the picture below. I think the design of Bulbasaur suits best for this kind of project (I think it would be barbaric to create a Pikachu whose head could be screwed off).

Bulbasaur3

The fun part was covering the weird uneven thing with strips of newspaper! Actually I found it easier to use small bits instead of strips, and applying glue to the surface instead of to the piece of paper. I have read directions about papier mâche that instruct to do the opposite (glue to the paper) but I think this way it was easier to have the bit of paper stay attached. I added small amount of water to the glue to help it spread evenly. I also covered the glued paper bits with a thin layer of glue-water-mixture (kind of varnished it, sort of).

The fun only lasted so long. I was so fed up with handling wet newspaper after couple of hours that I considered leaving the legs out, but because my Bulbasaur at the moment looked like this, I had to add them anyway. It kept reminding me of a snail, which is why I had to make its ears bigger, too.

Bulbasaur4

Legs were made by crumbling four small pieces of newspaper into balls, gluing them on and covering them with more newspaper and glue-water-mixture.

Bulbasaur5

Notice how the ears are better :). Legs really make the difference. (Less snail-like, don’t you think?)

Bulbasaur6

I let the glue dry overnight after both sessions of papier mâché, so when I finally got to the painting process, it was my third day of crafting in a row. Once again I used acrylics to paint. For the body I mixed teal and white and for the bulb I tried to attain the brightest green possible. Because my paints weren’t 100% opaque, I had to paint both of them twice.

Bulbasaur7

Bulbasaur8

I began the detailing process by drawing on the spots and face features with a pencil. For the spots I mixed dark green and dark blue, which was the closest I could get to the color of my mini-Bulbasaur’s spots. I added bit of shading to the bulb with darker greens, for it looked too boring one-colored.

Bulbasaur9

The painting of the details took about three hours on the fourth day. The fifth day it was finally ready for varnishing, which I also did twice (this time with real indoor varnishing, not glue). The coating took couple days to thoroughly dry. So on the seventh day from beginning, this project was finally finished.

Bulbasaur10

Bulbasaur11

The end result closes pretty well because I was careful not to glue any paper to the closing mechanism of the jar. I love the personal look my Bulbasaur has, but the wrong proportional size of the bulb bugs me to no end. Plus, there are edges of newspaper sticking out from the bulb, too… Maybe I need to make a Squirtle jar for my sister next, at least to distract me from coming up with new errors on this one. Or optionally go out to catch some more Pokémons.

Thank you for reading!

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