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Hi there! First off, I'd like to thank you for purchasing one of our DIY Paint-it-Yourself wooden standees! These stands are laser engraved and cut in-house with an illustration completely unique to Atomik Cupcake Designs!

This tutorial is to help you with specific painting techniques for this project. It also includes visual aids so you can make sure you're on track! So--let's get painting!

Step One: Base Colors

Use the reference photo illustration on the included card as your guide! The round brush is good for smaller areas, and the flat brush is better for larger spaces. It's okay if you paint on the engraved lines--our kit includes a black fine-point marker to touch up the engraving later! Especially on the worm and around the letters on the book, it'll be almost impossible to NOT get paint in the engraved area, so don't worry about it too much! 

The base colors provided in the kit are: bright red for the apple, yellow for the worm, teal for the book, and white for the book pages. However, for the leaf, you'll need to mix a little bit of yellow into your green to make it lighter! Use the provided disposable palette square and add a paintbrush full of yellow to it. Using the round brush, add very small amounts of green to the yellow and mix it until it is the desired color!

Painting Tips & Tricks


Painting Tip: Painting on Wood

These wooden standees are made of MDF (medium density fiberboard) with a cherry wood veneer on each side. The veneer is very absorbent and is a smooth, excellent surface for painting! Because it is so absorbent, you may find yourself wanting to add more than one coat per color. The more paint you add, however, the more noticeable your brush strokes will be, so keep that in mind!

Step Two: Add Shadows and Highlights

Next, we can add shadows! Use the crimson red paint to create a shadow on the right side of the apple, closest to the worm. Use the darker blue to create a shadow on the book, also on the right side, and use the dark green right out of the paint pot to add shadows to the leaf.

To create a shadow color for the worm (and to fill in the stem of the apple!), add a paintbrush full of yellow to your disposable palette square, and use the round brush to slowly add crimson red to the yellow. You'll end up with an orangey brown color!

For highlights, you'll use white to add the little hook shape to the left side of the apple! I also used a white wash to fill in the worm's glasses, and I added a highlight to his head as well! Be creative on this one, but keep in mind your light source so that the highlights and shadows are all consistent! 


Above: You can see the shadow colors in place! I decided to water down the white to paint the book pages, which I did at the same time as the highlights. Look how messy the paint is around those letters and the apple!

Painting Tip: How to Blend Edges

Some colors of acrylic paint can be really thick! Adding a little water to it on your palette will thin the acrylic out and make it easier to spread. You can make small, quick circles at the edge of your paint on the wood before it dries to blend it into the color beneath it when it's thinner. You can also use your palette to blend a small amount of the lighter color in and create a midtone, which will soften the transition from one color to another!

Understanding how light sources affect the subject of your art can really help make it look more realistic, even if the subject matter is a cartoon like our bookworm! In real life, there are usually multiple light sources shining on an object from different directions, but for simple illustrations like this one, I usually only use one. I like to imagine the light source in the mid-left area, which is why all of our shadows are on the right and the biggest highlight on the apple is on the left. Here's a diagram that illustrates the point a bit better!

Let's Talk About Light Sources


Step Three: Touch Up the Engraved Areas

Using the black fine point marker, touch up the paint on the inside of the engraving marks! Because the engraving is indented, so staying in the lines is pretty easy!

Please exercise caution, however, when touching up any outlines on the outside of the illustration. The wood veneer is extremely absorbent, and the marker will bleed out quite easily on unpainted wood!


Step Four: Assemble!

That's really it, you're all done! The nature of this wood, plus the fact that it's almost completely painted, means that there's no real need to seal it! If you do decide that you want to give it extra protection against water, you can apply some beeswax with a microfiber cloth, rubbing it completely in (not included, of course!), but that's only if you feel like being a little extra. =D Place the notches on the bottom of the standee into the wooden stand, and enjoy your handpainted decoration!

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