To recreate Wil Wheaton’s pixel avatar where he’s wearing a fez, (which he uses on his tumblr and used to use on his website) out of origami stars, I started by printing a copy of the avatar and gridding it off to determine the number of stars I would need to make. Each pixel would be represented by a single star.
I then took newspaper (in this case, I used the puzzle pages since they could be considered games, and Wil likes games) and broke it down into smaller pieces measuring approximately 3.75”x11”. Then the pieces of newspaper were colored with paint to match the colors needed to recreate the image. Once dry, the pieces of paper were cut down into strips that were 0.1875” (3/16 of an inch) wide.
With all of the paper strips cut, next came the folding. Lots and lots of folding. The colors were kept in separate baggies once complete. After all of the strips were folded into stars, they were then varnished by being submerged in a matte varnish and then set on parchment paper to dry. To keep them from forming a tiny puddle of varnish on the underneath side, they were shifted after first being set on the parchment paper. The nearly dry stars were each “pinched” again, to make sure the star shape was maintained and left to fully dry.
The dry, varnish, hand-folded stars were then ready for gluing. The 9”x12” canvas was prepared by painting the background with acrylic paint to the appropriate color. After the stars were complete, I determined that they took up approximately ¼” of square space and was able to calculate how much of the pixel avatar was actually going to be able to be approximated on the 9”x12” canvas and mapped it out using graph paper.
After marking the center of the canvas lightly with a pencil, the gluing process began. I used Liquitex Matte Medium as my glue since it dries clear and is not very noticeable if it gets in areas that aren’t supposed to have glue.
I took some process pictures and they can be found on my tumblr: [link]
Approximately 1600 stars folded and varnished for the project (when I thought I could do the full portrait avatar)
1018 stars actually used and glued on canvas
Approximately 16 hours of folding, with an additional 8 (or so) spent preparing, coloring and subsequently cutting newspaper into the strips used to fold all of the stars and another 6 (or so) to varnish all of the little stars.
Just over 11 hours spent gluing the stars down.
A whole lot of time and effort went into putting this piece together, but I think it was all worth it in the end!
There’s a whole story surrounding this piece and its presentation to the subject himself: Wil Wheaton. That can be read here: [link]