Toy Story Engagement Ring Box
I was helping the cupid recently, commissioned by romantic guy to craft the engagement ring box related to Disney/Pixar Toy Story movie. We came with this idea that all characters from the movie will act together to support him and help to convince the girl to become his wife. They all gathered inside Andy’s toy chest and prepared the surprise. They even built the “Marry Him” sign with LEGO bricks I managed to sculpt and fit 8 characters in this 95mm x 65mm x 75mm box. We have Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Sqeeze, Mr. and Mrs Potato Heads and in the center Lots-O’-Huggin Bear holding the ring. I know he was a bad guy in Toy Story 3, but I believe he can change, just give him a chance, you can trust him on this one.
I searched for existing models in small scale which would fit in small box like this, but I could not find any. Even the happy meal toys were too big for this project, I had to make everything from scratch, as usual. This is what I do, make things you can’t find in the shops. I also used it as a great opportunity to practice sculpting in small scale what I like the best.
I used 2 parts epoxy putty casually called green stuff. There is few companys who make them, but I use Games Workshop brand, because it is good quality and they have brick and mortar shop in neighbourhood where I can get it any time I need it. If I will need bigger quantities 3.5ounce pack Kneadatite looks like better value and you can also order it online.
I like sculpting in it very small and detailed objects. It is standard modelling compound in gaming miniature industry for figure conversions and sculpting prototypes for mass production in metal or resin. The package contains 2 color ribbons; yellow and blue and looks like chewing gum. Basically you cut small pieces of both and mix for few minutes to get even green mixture. You can change the proportions to get different properties of the material. Blue part is hardener, If you add more of this part, it will cure faster and slightly harder. Yellow is the filler, add it more to get sticky and soft mixture which will allow smoother blending and longer working time. You can experiment later, but for starters, use 50-50 mix and use gloves while mixing. It may produce discomfort for people with sensitive skin, especially at this stage when you have most contact with the material. Later you will use tools, so gloves are not needed, but don’t worry, it should not harm you when you use it once in a while. After mixing you will have about 90 minutes of working time, this can change depending on the room temperature. At the begining it is soft, but it is getting harder what allows to refine details over time. When it sets it can be sanded or carved with knife but will never be plastic again, so you need to work fast and in small sections. Good thing that it sticks well to the surface so adding details and elements to the model is easy. It can be sometimes problematic when it sticks to your tools or fingers you can moisturise them with water or Vaseline. Water droplets tend to obscure details and need to dip tools more often, but I dont need to clean finished parts with soapy water from residue of vaseline which will later prohibit sticking new layers of greenstuff on top of hardened sections.
I started with heads, to see if I can capture likenes of the characters what is crucial for me. I put little ball of greenstuff on top of pinheads and leave it to harden. This will be the base of the face later so you can shape it like a tiny scull if you want. The pin will allow me to hold it without squashing the finished sections of head, and bit of greenstuff will create base for face to hold on. To speed the hardening process, you can place it in warm place, under lamp but don’t burn it or use oven, you want to speed the chemical reaction and not melt it. Patience is crucial when you do this kind of work. I worked on few figures one after another, leaving finished heads to dry while working on other. When finished heads, I repeated the same process with hands. It was easier to work with small bits and have access to all areas. When few parts of single figure were ready, I assembled them together, using exposed pins or wire as base of armature hidden in body. I used small quantity of green stuff to cover the armature, block the pose and left it to harden. Then I could bulk it or finish details of this part of figurine, while holding hardened hands or head and trying to avoid pressing my fingerprints. You can use toothpicks or knifes as your sculpting tools. If you want something more sophisticated you could buy stainless steel sculpting tools or make them yourself. This material is flexible, I push the putty to shape, so I like hard tools. Lots-O-Huggin bear’s fur ir pressed with knife. Greeen stuff remains little flexible when hardened, that allows him to hold the ring. If I need hard edges like on Buzz Lightear’s armour, I refine them with knife when it is dried.
When finished sculpting, I cleaned them in warm water with soap or washing liquid to get rid of oil residue from handling it with my fingers. When dried, I applied primer to prepare surface for painting. I use my growing collection of clors of Valleyo paints. They cover the areas very well, dry fast and are pleasure to work with brushes. At begining I thought that squizing the paint from tiny bottle will produce lots of waste in compared with jars, but it turned that I can still work with the paint I bought 7 years ago while paint in the jars is hard like stone. It is well worth to invest in proper paints and add new colours when needed with new project. As a starter there is this kit containing all colours I use and you can get it from Amazon here. This are also the colours I used on my “Up” house I built before.
The Andy’s toy chest is also made from scratch. I used my laser cutter to cut the parts in plywood and the cariage drawing is engraved, so it was easier to paint it precisely. The top section is curved. I would not be able to bend plywood without breaking it to pieces. I used few layers of thin wood sheets bend to shape together and glued together. When dried, it was tought piece of wood. The LEGO sign is also engraved in plywood, I could go crazy and engrave logos on each pegs but I riched the limits of my machine and material at this scale.
I didnt make molds of the figurines so it will be only one model like this worldwide. Is is a pity because it draw attention from many blogs and websites interested in wedding related stuff. It was also featured on Telegraph.co.uk as picture of the day. Many people asked about this model, but I am sorry, there will be only one worldwide. I already know that the girl who got it liked it and she said YES. I am very happy I completed another project with success and my little object was present on this important moment of the couple who decided to spend rest of their life together. I wish you guys all the best!