Friday, April 11, 2014

British Royal Guard Jumping Jack

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 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
                                                                    Says Alice.

Did you ever run across the A.A. Milne poetry collection  When we Were Very Young? If you like Winnie the Pooh you will find his favorite boy featured in many of the poems.  Anyway that was just one stanza but it is a nice poem, and brings me to today's project: my Brtish Royal Guard Jumping Jack!

I think little kids are always really intrigued by the Royal Guard and their impressive outfits. At least I always was. Plus, I am a pretty huge Anglophile so I have always wanted to make a little soldier for our house. (See the bottom of this post for our many projects inspired by our love of English culture.)
I have some really incredible German craft books that my mom bought in the Sixties in Europe. This one is called "Tiere, Puppen, Hampelmanner" and is by Ilse Strobl-Wohlschlager. It contains some really fantastic jumping jacks that inspired me to make my own. Unbelievably, I did an internet search and this book is available at Amazon! In English! For like $5! So I did not know this when I started and I could not actually read the instructions, but I think I came up with a working jumping jack using her photos for inspiration.
First I cut out the body parts from card stock. There are lots of templates for jumping jacks floating around the internet to inspire you. The German book had a very stylized doll, with a pinched waist and pointy feet, which I totally copied.
You will note that I punched small holes at the shoulders, top and bottom of thigh piece and top of arm and foot pieces. These holes will hold the brads. So, check out how large your brads are and make sure your hole is the right size. The big brass fasteners you get at office supply stores don't work very well with this as they stick out all over the place. I used smaller brads from a craft store.
 I then punched an even tinier second hole at the top of the two arm pieces and the top of the legs. This second hole will be for the string. It should not be too close to the edge as it could tear if people get too rowdy with the jumping jack.

I glued tissue paper onto my body parts. The leg and feet pieces are black and the body is red. I also cut out a hat piece and covered it with black tissue paper. The chin strap is white paper colored black, cut to frame the face. I used Mod Podge to apply the tssue and put a few coats on top to make it a little sturdier.

I drew the face using a black Sharpie. (Pencil first.) After I colored the face I glued on the hair and chin strap. I also used black marker on the cuffs and collar and added a white tissue belt and gold accents using a paint pen.
 I attached the arms and legs loosely with brads so the limbs can dangle freely. Then I took a needle and some embroidery floss and rigged up the back. I tied a straight string between the arm holes. This needs to be tight but not tight enough that it causes the arms to pull up. Don't worry about the ends of the string until later. Tie a straight string between the top of the legs. Then Tie a string from he middle of the top string to the bottom string and have it hang down. I added a bead to the bottom. I don't really care what the back of this guy looks like so I trimmed the edges of the string and taped them down. You could probably do this neater if you are so inclined. My kids LOVE the jumping jack. I am going to make some more blank body part pieces and let them design their own. My daughter wants to make a princess and my son probably has some incredibly complicated design of his own.
Other projects inspired by our love of England:
What is in Dr. Watson's Desk?

Ms. Marple's Desk

Sherlock Holmes Stenciled Pillow

The Parlor from Longbourn House

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