December 8, 2009

Lego Minifigure invitations - My first tutorial, well almost.

My 7 year old son is a bit obsessive. But I suppose that's normal for his age, right? First, it was Spiderman. Then Megabloks Pyrates. Then Lego Star Wars. Now he obsesses over Lego minifigures. I don't remember when or how he got the idea he can design his own minifigures, but he's taken to it like a fish to water. He conceptualizes his favorite characters, draws it on paper many times, then when he's ready, he paints and draws them to reality with paint or Sharpie markers. He's even used paper, glue, and paperclips to get the accessories right. Crazy! He's actually gotten very good at it that his friends ask him to make them some. Given this current obsession of his, naturally, his 8th birthday party has a Lego theme. It would have been too easy to make an invitation with an outline of the traditional four-studded Lego blocks. Of course! I wanted a minifigure for the invitation. So, I set out to google search an outline or drawing or black and white rendering of a Lego minifigure. Alas, I found none to my liking and purpose. Here's what I used: computer printer Cutter Bee scissors Extra Thick Template Plastic - EZ Quilting by Wrights paper cardstock a bit of ingenuity Here's what I did: I took a photo of the minifigure and uploaded it to my computer. On photoshop, I converted it to black and white and contrasted the image where the outline of the figure was most visible. This allowed me to erase the background and crop the image pretty easily. Then I saved it as a jpeg. You can pretty much do this to any image, really. I closed Photoshop and opened the jpeg image on My Computer. In the Windows Photo Gallery, I printed 2 images of the minifigure as 5x7s side by side. This made it automatically sized for large invitations -- and gave me an extra image to spare if I screwed up the first one. (I'm sorry if this alienates you lovely Mac users, but I don't have the moolah to buy a Mac -- but I'm sure Mac has got some printing feature just like this.) With my trusty Cutter Bee scissors, I cut out one of the minifigures. Now, I have this wonderful extra thick sheet plastic I picked up from Wal-Mart a long while back when my local Wal-Mart sold fabric. It's primarily used to make reusable quilting templates; this one I love in particular because it isn't flimsy. I traced the cutout on the template plastic with a Sharpie and then cut again with the Cutter Bee. Cut it on the inside of the lines to get as much detail as possible. Et voila! A minifigure for invites! I used MS Word for the text of my invite and played around with the text size a bit to get it to fit within the minifigure shape. I hate to waste paper, so I created a 2x1 table within the Word document and printed two equally sized invitations per 8-1/2x11 inch sheet. An awesome feature of the template plastic is that it is opaque enough to see-through to make sure the text fits. This was trial and error on my part; I have not yet found an easy way to do this. Next, print on your favorite paper, trace the template with pencil (so you can erase the marks if you're like me and don't cut perfectly), and cut it out! It's not a quick project, but it is most definitely different and I had fun doing it. Lego doesn't sell invitations like this, but if you see something like it, please let me know. So as to not reinvent the wheel; and to thank you, my fabulous reader, for bearing with my first tutorial, I give you my version of a lego minifigure for your personal enjoyment: jpg (for printing more than 1 on a page as described above) or pdf (single print). Now go and create your minifigure paper army! (As a side note, the image you download can be enlarged easily on Windows Gallery to fit on an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. You can cut it out and string it up like a banner or decorate it with accessories, etc. The possibilities are endless. I plan to do that this weekend for the birthday party...)


Eugene Shields said...

Your minifig invitations are the best. I am also having a lego (star wars) pary for my soon to be 5 year old. The minifigures are what really interest him so your invitation is perfect!!! You might check out the Pazzles machine if you do this kind of thing often. A little tricky to get the hang of but faster once you get the pattern worked out. Good luck on the party! I will check back for any more ideas!

Eugene Shields said...

LOVE the invitaion. Working on the same thing right now for my soon to be 5 year old's party! Will definatly be using your template possibly with some star wars motifications to it. -Sarah

Jane O said...

Thank you for the kudos and the info on the Pazzles machine! I will definitely check it out. Good luck to you on your party as well.

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