(apologies for the crappy photo quality; it’s hard to take pictures of metal…)
I have the kind of family that gifts things like Home Depot gift cards as stocking stuffers. I don’t find this offensive or annoying at all. I prefer the miscellaneous gift cards to the Onion Saver, Lettuce Cutters, Wreath Hook, Outdoor Faucet Cover, et al.
So sometimes I can stroll into Home Depot and buy that giant light bulb I need for my dining room light fixture or all the supplies I need to make a metal Space Invaders triptych for the low, low price of Free.
What does one need to make Space Invaders Wall Art?
- (Pre-cut) Aluminum Sheets
- Two 12in x 12in squares (about $7 each —or $3 on Amazon.com)
- One 12in x 24in rectangle (about $10 each)
- Masking tape (or that frog tape, or blue painter’s tape) in one inch width.
- At least half a roll
- Black Spray Paint or Acrylic paint (make sure it lists metal as one of the surfaces it’s suitable for or it could end up peeling off)
- A template of your 8-bit Space Invaders (lucky you, I made one that you can download as an excel file or a pdf: Space Invaders Template & Space Invaders Template)
- A craft knife
- A pencil with an eraser
- Acrylic sealer
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Put on your favorite show (for like the umpteenth time, I’ll recommend Sgt. Frog—which in this one case is totally relevant because it’s about aliens invading earth and then being welcomed into the Hinata Family home!) and get all your materials out and organized.
I did this project in a couple hours while I was home sick one day. The weird thing is, I bought the metal sheets with no real idea of how I’d use them. I just needed to have a number or aluminum sheets in various sizes…
- Start taping up your metal sheets.
- Start at one edge and lay down a strip or tape in a straight line using the edge as your guide.
- Repeat this step but on a perpendicular edge. In one corner there should be a double layer of tape.
Make sure to press your tape and smooth it so when you’re ready to paint you don’t get paint seeping under insecure tape.
- Keep up this right angle-based taping technique until you’ve covered the entire sheet. It should look a bit like a woven tape surface with evenly sized 1inX1in squared.
- Now, start mapping your dude onto you tape weave.
It’s okay to mess this up a time or two, especially if you’re drinking, this is why we’re using a pencil.
- Carefully cut out the squares that were marked for death—I mean that your map indicated should be painted. You should be looking at an inverse invader in the color or your original metal sheet.
- Tamp down any loose tape edges so paint doesn’t seep under them.
- Now, lightly spray a layer of black paint. I really mean it when I say lightly because you can layer this on all you like but if you go too heavy from the jump you ruin everything and it seeps (seepage sucks) and it peals when you remove the rest of the tape and it puts more poison in the air.
- Wait a few minutes or follow the directions on your spray paint and then add another light layer.
- Repeat this pattern until you have an opaque black Space Invader.
WAIT UNTIL your space invaders are COMPLETELY DRY.
- Go back over your edges with your craft knife to be sure there isn’t a paint-tape bridge that will take your paint away with the tape. Paint doesn’t WANT to stick to metal.
- Remove your tape.
- If you have some seepage, you can correct it by (this surprised me when it totally worked) rubbing it with a Q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol.
I hung my triptych up with command Velcro strips so I could re-position them if they were askew or take them down and clean them if they got dirty.