Tips of the Week: Painting, Drawing, and Jumper Wires

Tips of the Week: Painting, Drawing, and Jumper Wires

There currently appears to be a trend among YouTube makers of doing a trio of tips videos where one of the three participating ‘Tubers creates a video and the other two contribute a tip or two. So, you end up with three chock-full tips videos, and fans of one YouTuber get exposed to other channels they might not already know about or follow.

We covered the trio of tips videos from Matt and Jimmy DiResta and Darbin Orvar a few weeks ago. This week, several of our tips come from a tips trio done by Laura Kampf, Linn of Darbin Orvar, and Cris from Get Hands Dirty.

I’m already a subscriber to Laura and Linn’s channels, but I’d never heard of Get Hands Dirty, so this little bit of collaboration and cross-promotion works! I’d love to see more of these tip trios in the future.

Sanding Off Edges on Masks

In the Darbin Orvar tips video, Laura Kampf shares this tip for using sandpaper to create a clean edge when masking off an area for painting. Once you have the area masked off, you simply sand the edge with fine sandpaper to “cut” the mask cleanly away. This is similar to the gasket-cutting tip we shared a few weeks ago. Of course, this only works when masking defined edges and on material that is hard enough to create a workable cutting edge.

Spray Nozzle Tips

Here’s a tip that everyone should know already (and always practice). Laura reminds us that it’s always a good idea, when using canned spray paint, to turn the can upside down and give it one more toot to clear any paint remaining in the nozzle (which can dry and clog it). She also talks about buying after-market paint caps, which offer different nozzle thicknesses. I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but it makes sense. I plan on experimenting with some of these caps for priming and painting gaming miniatures.

Painting Eyes on Miniatures

Speaking of painting miniatures, anyone who has done so knows how difficult it is to effectively paint eyes. This technique, from the Reaper Miniatures website, is a real eye-opener (if you’ll pardon the pun). Basically, what you do is over-paint the whites of the eyes (beyond the borders of the eyes), paint in the pupil (and repaint, if needed, until it looks right), outline the eye shape in black, and then paint the face flesh tone color up to the edge of the eye outline (reducing the thickness of the eye outline until it looks good).

Extending the Life of a Disappearing Pencil

In the Get Hands Dirty tips trio video, Laura Kampf shares this tip for extending the life of your favorite shop pencils. When a pencil gets too small to comfortably hold in her hand, Laura screws a threaded sleeve that is the appropriate diameter onto the back end.

Drawing with Perspective String

We actually covered this nifty little tip back in September about using elastic string as an aid in perspective drawing. I’m including this video here because it’s longer than the one we previously included and it shows different string set-ups and drawing applications.

Cutting Perfect Jumper Wires

This tip comes to us by way of our own Make: Video channel and Charles Platt’s Make: Electronics. As the video points out, jumper wire kits are color-coded by length of wire. That means that, if you want to breadboard a project where you use red wire for power, black for ground, green for signal, or whatever, you are out of luck. It’s certainly easy enough to cut pieces of wire to make your own jumpers, but it can be a little fussy to get the lengths exactly right. This method the stripping, measuring, and cutting the wires makes it easy to create your own precise set of jumpers color-coded however you wish. It’s probably easiest to just watch the video to see how it works.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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