Monday, 5 July 2010

Prima Ballerina

Ooooh, an unexpected morning to myself so I could wait no longer to show you the project I've been working on since I got back from holiday.  I'm quite excited about this one and I hope you'll love it as much as I have loved making it.

This is my Dream Team project this week and also my entry into this week's challenge at the City Crafter Challenge Blog, the theme for which is 'Shades of Green'.

The minute I saw 'Prima', the adorable and curvy ballerina by Mo Manning, I thought of a musical box ballerina, turning pirouettes.  I knew there had to be a way to engineer something that would move so that Prima could achieve her pirouetting potential!  As usually happens in these instances, I went to bed with the idea in my head and then bounced out at around 6.00 a.m. with the mechanism clearly in my mind.  Let me show you the pictures and then I'll try to describe how she was made.

Image: Mo's Digital Pencil, 'Prima'

Papers: Cosmo Cricket

There are two images here - both 'Prima' but one is flipped to face the other way.  I printed the images out side by side on my paper and then  coloured them with my Copics, carefully matching what seemed like each stroke to get two identical ballerinas, one facing left, one facing right.  All will become clear, I promise.

Here's the close up - you can see that I have cut very closely around the images (yup, there are two, believe me!). 

The little red roses were made by roughly cutting various sizes of circles from red paper and then spiral cutting the circles and winding them to create the rose.  Check out this tutorial on Papercraft Planet - it's easier than me trying to explain!

So, here's the bit I've been dying to show you.  This project has been ready for a few days and it has killed me waiting to get it posted, but I needed to video Prima in action and I'm afraid I've been having some troubles getting to grips with the video. 
Here goes ......

Well, did it work for you?  Did you see Prima dance?  Isn't she beautiful? 

Unfortunately, I didn't remember until toooo late (of course) to leave one ribbon much longer than the other - if I had done so, Prima would have been able to pirouette much longer but you get the idea. 

The mechanism is really quite simple.  It is an empty cardboard ribbon reel with two pieces of ribbon attached to it, one which winds to the right and one which winds to the left.  I created a groove for the reel to sit in, so that it was held in place, and by pulling one ribbon the reel turns and winds the other ribbon on to itself.  Pull the other ribbon and as it comes off the reel, the first ribbon will wind itself on.  Backwards and forwards - simple!

I encased the mechanism in a box, punched two holes for the ribbons to thread through and knotted beads on to the end to make pulling easier.

Now, the two Primas I coloured and cut are joined together around a single stick (a thin wooden barbecue skewer, actually!) so that they match perfectly.  The stick goes through the box and into the reel (I had to make sure that the holes were small enough to hold the skewer upright but large enough to allow it to turn), so that when the ribbons are pulled, the skewer turns.  With Prima secured around the skewer, therefore, she also turns. 

I had to make sure I allowed enough room for her arms to turn freely, so the 'stage' back needed to be set away from the working bit.  I added the fan of red between centre stage and another box that I attached to the back, to give support to the larger fan I used as the background. 

Now, I'm making no promises here but I think quite a few of you would be interested in exactly how she was made so I will try to put together a video showing the mechanism and basic components.  How long will this take?  No idea, but I'll make sure to let you know when it's ready!

Hope you've enjoyed this one.  I'd love you to leave a comment if you have!

Happy crafting.


  1. Well, I'm certainly interested! This is just awesome, I love it! My compliments!
    Hugs, Alina

  2. OMG Peri - this is just INCREDIBLE!!!!! I thought it was stunning BEFORE I watched the video - toooo tooooo clever!!!!

  3. Stunning Peri - love it - great idea

  4. Wow, this is so clever. Your brain comes up with some pretty spectacular creations.

  5. Wow, wow, wow!! Holy moly, this is AMAZING. What a major work of art this turned out to be. Every detail is totally perfect!! I must say, you are quite the mechanical engineer, my dear. This will totally blow away every challenge you can find to enter it in! Good luck.

  6. wowzers!! soooooooo fabulous!! LOVE that dancing Prima!!!

  7. hi peri

    this is great, you did a wunderful job.
    the image is great also your coloring.
    very beautiful

    greetings karin

  8. Hi Peri, this is spectacular! What a brilliant idea and so beautiful too.
    Tine :)

  9. Oh Peri. We sound so alike! I love creating mechanical paper creations and the exact same thing happens. I go to bed with an idea and toss and turn and then bam I am up and trying to get the idea to work! What you have made here is just divine. I am so happy I stopped by to see it. Hugs
    Zoe xxoo

  10. Peri, This is really amazing! I'll wait patiently for the tutorial....I'd love to make something similar for my granddaughter for Christmas.

  11. Oh wow, this is stunning! What a great project! Thanks for sharing it with us at CCCB!

  12. Hello Peri, just had to stop by and leave a comment(I an Just doing a bit of hopping) on this as I dont think I have ever seen anything so amazing in the card world.
    its all fabulous the colouring the mechanics, just everything.
    have a happy week love chris xx
    ps I think you should enter it into everything possible, you will clean up!!

  13. Phenomenal!!! i love it, you clever clever girl, definitely noteworthy!

  14. omg how clever are you !!! not only is your colouring to die for, but you also talented in the mechanical techno stuff too lol...
    fabby... well done you mrs. !!!!!

  15. WOW you are so cleaver....A beautiful creation!!!! I too will wait patiently fot the instructions
    hugs Jean

  16. wow Peri this is amazing...stunning colouring and what a brilliant way to use the incredible Prima dont you just love her
    Mina xxx

  17. Oh my goodness...AMAZING.. I love this Peri.. You are a genius. Great job as always.

  18. Man Oh Man - are you smart or what!? This is amazing - both the mechanics of it and the beauty!! Your colouring is tremendous and your cutting perfection. The fan and the roses are spectacular!!!
    I am soooo impressed!
    Big hugs, Candy

  19. Wow is that ever an amazing creation! LOVE the colors and you very cute ballerina!

  20. OHMYGOSH! i cannot belive this! way too cool!!! thinki of the possibilities! my head is spinning! what an awesome, awesome idea! no wonder you couldn't sleep! can't wait to see the how-to!

  21. Beautiful card, love the green colors! =)
    Hugs, Elenor

  22. I love this design and am waiting for the video, as I can't picture how it is made. Thanks for sharing your brillant project.


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