Samantha Saves a Star Altoids Tin Diorama Project

This is the super-secret project you may have heard me tweeting about a while back. I wanted to do something nice for my friend @ToddGallina. Todd’s a creative genius, and one of his current projects is illustrating a children’s book called Samantha Saves a Star (watch for it on Amazon…coming soon – I’ll keep you posted!). I fell in love with one of the thumbnails he had done of Samantha sitting on her swing looking up at the night sky and I wanted to turn that into a fun little altoids tin diorama.

The first step was modeling Samantha. I’m not so great with the fimo, and I was lucky that in Todd’s illustration Samantha is facing away so I didn’t have to get detailed with the hands and face. The challenge was piecing the chain and Sam together, and then propping it up to bake in a way that it wouldn’t droop or bend while baking. I sort of draped the chain over a little glass. That worked pretty well but you can see there’s a couple tiny flat spots where she was resting against the glass. I actually made TWO Sams, and this is the one that turned out the best. I definitely need to work on my tiny modeling skills.

Next I had to prepare the Altoids tin for the LED switch and wiring. I used my Dremel tool to cut an opening for the switch. I also cut three pieces of midnight blue cardstock that would fit inside the tin. One for the lid, one for the interior to go underneath the wiring, and one that would cover the wiring up that the LED would poke through.

I bought the parts for the LED circuitry at Radio Shack. I needed one LED light, a resistor, a coin battery, a switch, and some wire. The resistor is used to make sure that the LED gets enough current to light, but not so much that it gets damaged. I wired and soldered according to some instructions I found online.

I assembled and installed the LED circuit, the cardstock that covered the wiring, and then used some Gorilla Glue to put Sam in place. I also glued in some green felt for grass. It dried kind of white but I was able to cover that up later with a green marker.

Todd was nice enough to take these pictures for me, the ones I took didn’t turn out as good as his did :) I should have taken pictures of the process. I will do that next time.

This project was the kind I love. I got to surprise someone I appreciate with something fun. It didn’t cost a ton to make – all supplies including clay, chain, electrical supplies, paper, and Altoids came in under $15. I got to try out something new – I’d never done LED stuff before. I got to use my soldering iron and my Dremel tool, which had been getting dusty. Plus I got to eat the Altoids :D

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