Obito Mask Pepakura build part 1

Wow I cant believe this is only going to be my second post of the year! sorry about that! I guess I’ve been a bit lazy with making stuff recently but I’ve also been planning some other stuff that I want to start putting up on my blog so I should be a bit more active soon!

Anyway, recently I went and joined the replica prop forums as I constantly hear great things about it and have just been blown away by the stuff people do on there, so if you’re interested or starting to get into costuming, cosplay, props whatever, I suggest you go on over there, sign up and have a look around! The reason I joined the RPF was because although I liked making the Spyro the Dragon model (I also did a Crash Bandicoot one which I realised I haven’t even posted about on here! whoops!) I wanted to make something a bit more robust. I follow a few cosplayers but have never taken part and so this was a good way to research how people go about making their costumes (some of the armour that I’ve seen is stunning), I knew that people use pepakura to build armour then use resin and fiberglass and other things which I have no idea about but there is a lot of information on the forums to help explain these kind of things to all the noobs like me. I wanted to start off with something that was easy to build and practice on before I started making a full costume so I went for Obitos mask from Naruto. It’s a nice simple shape apart from the eyes which gave me a bit of trouble it’s turned out quite well so far I think, the next step is to do some research on the next step which is applying coats of resin to the outside and fibreglass on the inside so wish me luck!

Just want to say a quick thanks to saucer33 from the forums as they were the one that posted the Obito pep file I used to make the mask so credit goes to them.

Obito Mask 1

Obito Mask 2

Obito mask 3

Spyro the pepakura dragon

Over the past few days I’ve been working on a papercraft project and if you’ve been following my Instagram you would have seen all the progress pictures I was taking. I’ve attempted making a Millenium Falcon before which turned out ok but I didn’t really have the right equipment and it was a bit of a simple model. This time I wanted to challenge myself, I had to decide on what I wanted to make so I did some searching. I came across a few sites such as pixel papercraft and Paperkraft.net but eventually I found the Spyro the Dragon design via Instructables.com (which I highly recommend checking out as there is all sorts of awesome stuff on there) and though it was perfect, it looked difficult enough to give me a good challenge but not so tough that I though I might get frustrated and give up halfway through.

If you want the instructions you can find them by clicking the following link: Spyro The Dragon Papercraft Instructions

The only problem here, was that once I downloaded the instructions they were in an odd .pdo format and I had no idea what would open then, so back to google I went to find out what program used these files. I am so glad I made the decision to take the time to find this out rather than just try and find some pdf instructions or something similar because it introduced me to the program Pepakura. To download the program click the following link: Pepakura Viewer. they also have a database of websites that have pepakura and papercraft models.

Pepakura

Pepakura workspace: click to enlarge (will open in new window)

Pepakura viewer is a program that shows the 3D assembled model from any angle and next to it, a 2D unfolded template of the model. The 2D view allows you to hover your mouse over the edge of a part and it will show you the part that it’s connected to which is a great feature as you can easily loose track of how everything is meant to be connected. It also allows you to double click and select parts in the 2D view which are then also highlighted in the 3D model. As you can see below this is how the program looks with the downloaded pdo files.

Spyro_Pepakura

Spyro The Dragon Pepakura model: Click to enlarge (will open in a new window)

There is also a designer program where you can import your own 3D models but I’ve not used this yet and I will do a tutorial on that at some point in the future after I’ve had a bit more experience using the viewer and making a few test models.

Tools

Here are the settings I used: So the download file for this Spyro model comes with texture images (don’t worry you don’t have to do anything with these) and the button that is circled in black will simply apply the texture to the image, if you are good with a paintbrush you can turn this off, build your model then paint it once it’s done. The button circled in red is utilized in the 2D view, it takes the colour texture and adds the colour to the outside of the parts edge as you can see in the image below. The button circled in blue just adds lighting to the model. As I said there are other settings and things that can be done such as show edge ID which number each individual edge of the part and the corresponding edge of the part its connected to and then ones that simply number the page so just have a play around until you get the hang of it.

Overlap Colour button

One final thing, if you don’t have access to a printer and need to print off the design somewhere else you will need to do a few things.
Go to http://www.cutepdf.com/products/cutepdf/writer.asp and download the CutePDF Writer and Convertor (both links are on the left) and install them both. When you want to convert a a pdo file to pdf simply print as you normally would but in the printer name drop down menu, select Cute PDF writer, it will ask where you want to save your files and that’s it. So now you know all the basics about Pepkura you can start building your model.

Now you have your pdo design and your software you will need a few things to begin:
1) A cutting mat
2) An X-ACTO knife (and a few blades)
3) A ruler
4) PH Neutral acid free PVA glue
5) Card stock ( I used 160gsm, click here for a little bit more info on gsm)
6) Printer

You can get all of these online fairly cheaply, as for the card, I was able to find some in Wilkinsons, £3.75 for 50 sheets. From this point on simply print out the design and get cutting following the instructions and using Pepakuras features to help guide you when you get stuck. Here are a few picture of the finished design that I made.

SpyroBack SpyroFront SpyroFront2 SpyroHead SPyroHorns SpyroLegs SpyroTail

As you can see it’s not perfect but I’m happy with it considering it was my first attempt. Next time I’m going to make something a bit simpler so I can improve my technique. Anyway hope this inspires you to try out some paper modelling and good luck if you do!

 

Snicker Brownies

I have finally got around to doing a bit of baking as promised!
courtesy of Outsider Tart I made Snicker Brownies.

IMG_2532_1

IMG_2534_1

They have a book out which has a bunch of recipes in it and although I’ve only made two of them so far they have both turned out amazing. I highly recommend it! Simply click here and you can buy it from their website.

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

This Christmas I got a book off my brother and sister in law (THANK YOU!) called Baked In America by outsider tart, and it’s awesome. I’ve already tried out on of the recipes which I had to slightly alter as I didn’t have any dried cherries but it still tasted amazing!

Ingredients

Chocolate batter

  • Unsalted Butter: 115g
  • Chocolate: 340g
  • Plain Flour: 160g
  • Baking Powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Eggs: 4 Large
  • Granulated Sugar: 340g
  • Vanilla Extract: 2 teaspoons

Cream Cheese Topping

  • Unsalted Butter: 115g
  • cream cheese: 225g
  • Granulated Sugar: 175g
  • Eggs: 3 Large
  • Plain Flour: 3 Tablespoons
  • Vanilla Extract: 1 Tablespoon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tin (30 x 23 x 5 cm) with parchment and grease it with butter.
  2. Cream the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and slowly add the sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla blending until just combined. You want a nice creamy mixture, not a frothy one.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over boiling water.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In another bowl, combine the eggs and sugar until slightly thickened.
  6. slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mix until just combined.
  7. stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
  8. spread half the chocolate batter in the pan and smooth off. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate batter and distribute it evenly. Then place the remaining chocolate batter mix on top and swirl the batter and cream cheese mix together.
  9. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes and let cool before chilling in the fridge for about 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Ingredients

Progress 1

Progress 2

Brownies 1

Brownies 3

Brownies 2

WuTang Pillow

This was a commission for someone’s Christmas present, I had this finished a while ago but obviously couldn’t post anything because I didn’t want to ruin the surprise! It was my first attempt at doing Tunisian Crochet and getting used to changing colours was a nightmare, I kept dropping stitches and getting stuck. Eventually I managed to get the hang of it (after about 7 attempts and a lot of yarn) and I think it turned out ok, so I managed to take a few progress pictures which you can see below, (sorry they aren’t that good quality, I was using my ipad to take the pictures rather than my actual camera for some reason).

Pillow 1

Pillow 3

Pillow 2

Pillow Finished

Mario Mushroom

Mushroom2

Super Mario Mushroom: Pattern

Totoro amigurumi

So this past week this is what I have been working on. Really happy with how this has turned out! let me know what you think. Also here is the pattern I used to make this: Totoro

TotoroFront

TotoroBack

TotoroSide1

TotoroSide2

Mens Black 68″ Scarf

MenScarf2

So as it’s been getting a bit colder I decided I’d make a nice smart looking scarf that I can wear with anything. I actually finished it off last week but was too lazy to get a proper picture of it but tonight I changed that. Also here is the pattern.

3.5mm hook
Black yarn
UK Stitches

Row 1: chain 21,
Row 2 – 353: DC 20, chain 1, turn
Fasten off and stitch loose end into the last row.

Simple.

Totoro / Cat Bus

Wukong

WuKong

Link

Link

Blimp

Blimp

Naruto

Naruto

Jack Frost/Pitch Black

Jack Frost and Pitch black.
Click image for a larger version.

jackFrostpitchBlack1

Mini chocolate orange, red velvet cupcakes with maple syrup cream cheese frosting

Bit of a mouthful for the title but that’s basically what they are so I’m sticking with it!

Mini1

Mini2

Ingredients

Cupcake Mix

  • 125g Sifted plain flour
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 57g unsalted butter
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1Tbsp red food colouring
  • 1Tbsp orange essence
  • 120ml buttermilk (or a mix of 120ml milk and 1Tbsp of vinegar)
  • 1/2tsp vinegar
  • 1/2tsp baking soda

Frosting

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1Tbsp maple syrup

Method

  1. Preheat over to 175°C
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and coca powder
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is soft, add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
  4. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk (or milk/vinegar mix) with the red food colouring and orange essence. With the mixer on a low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk in 3 additions beginning and ending with the flour
  5. in a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda, allowing the mixture to fizz then quickly folding it into the cake batter.
  6. divide the batter equally between the cupcake cups and place in the over for about 13 minutes.
  7. Cool the cakes on a wire rack.
  8. For the frosting, first beat the butter until it is soft then add the icing sugar and beat to combine.
  9. Add the cream cheese and maple syrup to combine.
  10. use a piping bag to ice the cupcakes.

One thing I did notice while doing the frosting was that it wasn’t as stiff as I’d of liked it to be so I’d recommend adding a bit more icing sugar to the mix to see if that helps or mixing it for longer. Apart form that they were really nice and I very much recommend them. Happy baking

Peppermint Creams

Peppermint Creams

Ingredients

  • 4Tbsp double cream
  • 1-2tsp peppermint extract
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 100g plain/dark chocolate

Method

  1. Place the cream in a mixing bowl and stir in the peppermint extract. Using a wooden spoon to start with gradually work in the icing sugar, then swap to use your hands to finish kneading in the icing sugar to form a soft fondant.
  2. dust the work surface with some icing sugar and roll out the fondant until it’s about 5mm thick. using a small plain round cutter 3 – 4cm wide, cut out rounds from the fondant. when you’ve cut out as many as you can, knead the fondant together and roll out again. Continue until all the fondant has been used up. Transfer the rounds to a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  3. Using a toothpick or a form, gently press 3 or four lines across each round for decoration. Set aside to dry out for at least 12 hours or overnight.
  4. break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water to melt. Dip each peppermint round halfway into the melted chocolate, allowing any excess to drop back into the bowl and return it to the baking tray. Let the chocolate harden.
  5. Eat them all.

Lemon, Honey and Nutmeg Cupcakes

Cupcakes1

Ingredients

  • 225g (8oz) wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spices
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g (7oz) runny honey
  • 50g (20z) unsalted butter
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 325g fondant icing

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°C/Gas 3. Mix together the flour, mixed spices, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Melt the honey and butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat, stirring until they are blended. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the honey mixture, stirring until it is well combined. Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug and pour them into the cake mixture a little at a time, beating after each addition.

2. Spoon the cake mixture into the cupcake cases so that each one is two-thirds full. Bake the cakes in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until they are golden and a cocktail stick pushed into the centre comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool fully.

3. In a bowl sift in the icing sugar, gradually add warm water until the consistence is dough like then sprinkle a little extra fondant icing on a flat surface and knead the fondant until it is smooth. Roll it out and cut out circles using a cutter. Add food colouring to make the icing yours desired colour.

4. Brush the top of the cupcake with a little warm water then press each round onto the top of the cupcake.

5.Eat them all.

Crochet Poppy

Here be a poppy I made this evening. My mum found a pattern for knitting and crochet so we have both attempted to make one. It took a while to figure out the pattern but I’m actually quite happy with how it turned out. If you want the pattern you can pick it up for £4 in Women’s weekly knitting and crochet special magazine.

Poppy2

Poppy1

Girls Crochet Scarf

Scarf1

This week I’ve been doing a bit more crochet. My niece loves pink and purple, winter is coming and I thought I’d make something practical so I went and made her a little scarf. This is really easy to make and doesn’t take up too much time either so it’s a really good one for beginners.

Pattern:

Row 1: Starting with pink Ch 241
Row 2: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 3: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, sl st to close
Row 4: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240m ch 1, turn
Row 5: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 6: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, ch 1 turn
Row 7: SC 240, ch 1, turn
Row 8: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 9: Change colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, ch 1, turn
Row 10: SC 240, sl st to close
Row 11: Change Colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, sl st to close
Row 12: Change Colour, ch 1 in last stitch of previous row, SC 240, ch1, turn
Row 13: SC 240, sl st to close

Then using a needle simply thread the loose ends into each row and you are done. You can create tassels at each end like I have or simply leave the ends bare, the choice is yours. there are loads of options with different colours and ends so have fun with this one and let me know what you think or how yours turned out in the comments below.

Matt

Cake Science: Victoria Sponge Cake

As well as making cakes I want to understand the methods and science behind the methods and ingredients so I’ve been doing some research and I’m going to try to break everything down in simple terms and explanations as best I can for you all. I am going to propose a recipe and then break it down, also bear in mind I haven’t actually made this recipe it’s just theory based on the research I’ve done (I will try it out when I get a chance and post the results but I just want to make it clear that I’ve not tried this so if you make it and it’s horrible I am sorry!).
[UPDATE]: So I got around to making this and it turned out beautiful! took it into work and everyone was very impressed, and I would say this is the best version of it I’ve made so the science approach worked very well.

Victoria Sponge 3.0

Ingredients

  • Large Eggs (3 – 4 at room temperature)
  • Self Raising Flour
  • Butter (65 – 70°F/18 – 21°C)
  • Margarine (65 – 70°F/18 – 21°C)
  • Castor Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Of Salt

As you can see, I haven’t listed specific weights of each ingredients. This is because the weight of each ingredient should be equal to that of each other apart from the butter/margarine. the weight of each should be combined to match the weight of the other ingredients. 

Method

  1. Grease two sandwich tins with butter and place the oven on 180°C
  2. If you have electronic scales, place a small bowl on them and zero the scales. Crack the 3/4 eggs (this depends on how much batter you want to make) and make a note of the weight of the eggs, you want to match the weight of the other ingredients to this. Set the bowl aside for later.
  3. in a large bowl mix together the butter, margarine and castor sugar. If using an electric whisk, begin by mixing on a slow speed, after a few minutes gradually increase the speed and continue to beat until the mix is light and creamy.
  4. whisk the eggs in the bowl you set aside earlier then add to the mixture gradually (about 1 Tsb at a time, beating gently after each addition) until combined. If the mix starts to curdle, stop adding the egg and beat until is has combined with the batter. Add 1tsb of vanilla extract at this point too.
  5. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture gradually starting with a larger addition for the first time and fold in gently using a spatula until all the flour has been incorporated into the mix.
  6. divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins, smooth the top and pop in to the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. Make sure that during the first 15 minutes you do not open the oven as this causes the temperature to drop and can affect the rising of the cake. I normally wait until 25 minutes at least and if it’s not finished leave it in for another 5 minutes.

Now comes the science

The Creaming Method – (Step 3) mixing butter/margarine and sugar: Creaming of the butter and sugar produces air bubbles in the fat created by the rubbing of the sugar crystals against the Fat. These holes will get larger and multiply as you continue beating. Starting on a low-speed and then gradually increasing the speed allows the air bubbles to form and strengthen, Starting at too high a speed could damage or break the fragile air bubbles which will cause the cake to be heavy with a compact texture. The goal is to have maximum aeration. The butter/Margarine should be at room temperature (65 – 70 F/18 – 21C) so it incorporates the sugar sufficiently to produce a smooth and creamy batter that is light and fluffy. Never melt the butter as you lose all the crystals and won’t trap any air. Also don’t use low-fat spreads they contain lots of water which won’t trap air bubbles either. Butter provides flavour, tenderize the batter (acts as a “shortener”, coating the starch and protein of the flour with an oily film reducing the formation of tough (bready) gluten) and provides volume. Sugar helps tenderize the batter (slows down the gluten development in the flour and lowers the caramelisation point of the batter allowing the cake crust to colour at a lower temperature) and sweetens and moistens the batter which helps keep the cake fresh, and helps with browning. Margarine crystals are smaller than butter crystals, and smaller crystals trap smaller pockets of air so will give a finer texture than butter. Scientifically speaking margarine is better but if you like the flavour of butter it works fine also. Also use Castor sugar as the smaller the crystals the more air is incorporated. These air bubbles are encased by a film of fat creating a foam.
The choice to use butter and margarine means the cake will have a finer texture than if only using butter, and the butter is used to add that bit of flavour.

Eggs – (Step 4) should be at room temperature (not cold as this will reduce the volume of the finished cake). They form a layer around each air bubble and as the temperature of the cake rises in the heat of the oven, they coagulate to form a rigid wall around each bubble preventing it from busting and ruining the cake’s texture.

Flour – (Step 5) takes the role of structure builder within the cake. The starch is a reinforcing agent that stiffens and helps strengthen the egg layer. Some of the proteins in the flour join together to create an extensive network of coiled proteins knows as Gluten. The gluten holds the cake together and allows the batter to expand during baking to incorporate gas and then coagulates into a strong network so support the weight of the shortening. The gentle folding action used to incorporate the flour avoids breaking the bubbles you have worked so hard to put into the mixture and reduces gluten formation (although this is vital to the structure of the cake, excessive beating causes too much gluten which results in a cake with a heavy bready texture). The first addition of Flour will be fully coated and does not form gluten so add the largest amount in the first mix.

So there it is. I will try to make this during the week and then post the results and let you know how it went, or try if for yourself and leave a comment to let me know your results! Good luck!

Matt

References:
Cake Making Technique
Open Learn: Victoria Sponge Cake
The Guardian

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