You may have noticed that since five weeks now I feature some funko pop that I have customized to make them look like my favorite bookish characters.
Today I want to explain how you can make your own or at least, how I did it.
As I see it, there are three options to make them.
IMPORTANT: before beginning anything, the choice of what funko pop to buy etc you NEED TO HAVE A PRECISE IDEA of how you want your funko to look like!
Example: for Nikolai I started from that gorgeous fanart of Allarica https://www.instagram.com/p/BuOwvDinuy3/
What you’ll need to make them:
One or more funko pops (see below)
Sandpaper (not always but handy)
Toothpic and / or sculpting tools
Clay like Super Sculpty or FIMO (not mandatory as I’ll explain later)
And some ad hoc material.
First option: find a Funko that looks very similar to your book character and just change its colors with painting.
That’s the easiest way but sometimes it’s impossible to find that pearl…
Second option: find two Funkos that, combined together and with a change in colors, will look like your book character.
This was how I did my first Funko ever Nikolai Lantsov and also Kaliis Idraban.
Let’s explain for Nikolai Lantsov:
Nikolai’s head comes from a Spiderman funko pop and its body from a Pirates of Caraibbean ‘s character.
I just swapped Spiderman’s body with that of the pirate and painted the new funko.
Tips and tricks : Everything ALWAYS BEGINS with a BEHEADING.
Even if you don’t swap the face and the body it’s easier to paint the head and the body separately.
How to behead a funko pop?
Not with a guillotine but just in immersing the whole funko into boiling water. Put the pop in a big bowl and pour boiling water on it. The body and neck must be fully immersed. Once you’ve waited about 10 minutes, you’ll feel the head being extra soft and the glue being melted. Remove the funko from the water and just twist and pull gently on the body to separate the head from the body. The glue has melted enough to allow that process.
You need to keep the “socle” (what links the neck to the head) attached to the body.
Look at that video to grasp what I mean.
Here is what it looked like.
Then you have to protect the parts on the body or on the head that you don’t want to paint with some protective tape. Like this:
Third you cover the parts you want to paint with a layer of primer. That’s always better for the final result and ensures that your paint will stick to your funko pop.
Once that’s been done, you paint :-D
Acrylic painting is a transparent painting and it’s important that you paint very fine coating but multiple coatings. For exemple, Spiderman’s skin color was too dark for Nikolai and I had to paint a pale rosy skin tone on its face with …eight layers! It takes some patience but the result is like a “glacis” (fondant) in painting and you don’t see any strokes. So worth the pain!
Once your body and face have been painted to your liking and the painting is dry, you glue them together again with a strong glue (here super glue).
Then you add a layer or two of varnish. I used an aerosol and you can either have a matte or glossy varnish, your choice.
And here is the end result
Third method: you can swap body and head or not but you will also add some new “elements” like change the hairstyle or add flowers or wings or cape or ….
This is the method I used for my second Funko Pop: Jude Duarte but also for Rhysand, Andromeda and Manon!
It’s trickier as you have to have some skills with clay (FIMO or Super Sculpty), or… but I do prefer when creations are challenging! 😀
For Jude Duarte, I also beheaded the Funko Pop (I have worked with only one funko for this one).
Then I changed her hairstyle and added a high bun with a big swirling strand of hair. Then I added roses and flowers in her head, all with the FIMO clay.
Let me tell you that the most difficult were not the very tiny flowers (you can find tutorials to make them like below) but the hair! I tried three times before being satisfied. I began anew three twice! I still have much to improve to make hair.
Once it had been done, I had to cook the FIMO and the head as the clay solidifies with heat.
Don’t be afraid, the funko won’t melt if you keep your oven at 100°C max (212 ° F). I baked it for about 20 to 25 minutes. Just check regularly opening your oven’s door.
And then you paint and glue everything together plus add varnish.
Tips and tricks: I wanted to make the gown extra shiny and used two different shades of …nail polish!
For Rhysand, I worked with Jacob Black’s body and added wings.
I followed an excellent tutorial on youtube. It’s in German but I grasped what was expected. Just look at the tutorial.
You can seen that the wings are made of plastic sheets that you use to recover your notebooks and thin metal wires.
My only problem is that the clay that I found that could dry without heat (because I worked with very thin plastic sheets and feared they would melt) was a nightmare to work with!
I had to build the outer edges of the wings with clay and I decided to go for the FIMO and try to heat everything, plastic included.
Tips and Tricks: some FIMO can dry at a lower temperature.
It’s not on the package but I noticed that FIMO for kids with glitter inside seems to dry at a lower temperature. I decided to use that kind of fimo for the outer edges of the wings and …it worked! No melted or burnt plastic in my oven. But I didn’t place the wings on the metal tray directly as metal can convey the heat. I placed a baking sheet beneath the wing, avoiding overheating and a melting drama. 😀
Then I painted the wings with dots of varnish.
For Andromeda, I had no tutorial nor fanart to help me create the funko!
It was a totally new piece inspired by the book cover of my friend Michelle Hercules.
I did start from Dark Phoenix funko pop BUT I hadn’t realized that she had a booble head!
Meaning that below the head was a big hole that I would have to fill to make the body stick with the head once beheaded!!!!
I opted once again to use clay and built a shape in fimo with a whole in the middle to screw the neck within it. After baking the piece in the oven I had to sand it to make it fit exactly in the hole of the head. But it worked!
You’ve gotta be creative and some solve problems on the way 😀
I cut the big flowing “belt” of the funko pop and began to create my own elements to make it look like the book character.
A skirt and belt in clay, some boots with big wool socks and the chain with the big spiked ball at the end. The chain had to get twisted from one hand to the other going behind the back. And I used the head of toothpicks to create the spikes of the ball. Again, gotta be creative.
I put everything in the oven.
Once dry it was as above: primer, paint and varnish then glue everything (body and head) together .
And finally, Manon Blackbeak!
Again I followed a turorial in German, by that same artist who created Rhysand (see the tutorial below). She is a fantastic artist! So clever! With beheading, painting etc.
Note that I didn’t want Manon to have that scar sported by the funko pop so like Nikolai, I had to repaint the face with TEN extra thin coatings of paint.
To make the cape I used red fabric, cut it like it had been shredded in battles, painted the endings in black and red to give it a used look. Then I used some special “glue” for fabric that helps create movement in the fabric and once dry, keeps the shape you gave it.
And just for your information, Kaliis Idraban is also my creation and was made with the same technique as Nikolai Lantsov, using Legolas’s head and a super hero body.
The trickiest part was to paint the tattoo on its forehead as it’s three swords crossing each other and the size of it all was no more than two to three milimeters. 😉 I didn’t use a pen but a paint brush ….
I hope this has been if not useful at least enlightening for you!
All comments and questions are welcome (just know that I currently have a problem replying right now as I seem to only be able to do it while starting from the dashboard…).
Thanks for reading!