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View Full Version : Painting a soprano- the process...



Rainbowuke
02-17-2016, 07:16 AM
I'm playing ukulele for my friends' wedding soon, so I thought I'd make them a gift in the same theme! Figured I would document the process, in case anyone is interested :) It's a cheapie Mahalo that I got just for the pretty body shape since it will be a wall decoration & not played.

A nod to Mountain Goat, who inspired me to post this here!

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Still Water Weapons
02-17-2016, 07:35 AM
Looking forward to updates. Love the Koi theme.

Rainbowuke
02-17-2016, 10:56 AM
I jumped right in and started painting...and took a shortcut because I knew it would be hanging and not faced with much abuse. I cut corners...and I know better!!! After the primary layer, I realized it wouldn't work at all...

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Because I didn't sand first! I'm gonna repeat myself...I know better! This, boys and girls, is what happens when you don't sand first:

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Rainbowuke
02-17-2016, 11:04 AM
So I masked the areas I didn't want to sand and started over.

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Here we go, layer 1 all over again! I'll post more tomorrow. Time to go home and baby-wrangle ;)

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PS- does anyone know if there's a way to embed the photo into the post, rather than a link to the photo? Also not sure why it's flipping my photos to a horizontal format. I'm posting from my phone. Thanks in advance!

Still Water Weapons
02-17-2016, 11:57 AM
The pictures are showing up embedded to me. But they are sideways! :)

Rainbowuke
02-17-2016, 12:39 PM
The pictures are showing up embedded to me. But they are sideways! :)

Thank you- and thanks for checking out the post!

I'll try to post from a computer tomorrow to see if that solves the formatting issue. Someone should program a UU app...;)

Rainbowuke
02-18-2016, 02:20 PM
Today's progress...

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Fixed blue fishie's eye placement:
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(Still posting from my phone- sorry for the sideways photos)

cpmusic
02-18-2016, 05:39 PM
This is beautiful! I look forward to seeing the finished artwork!

Luke El U
02-18-2016, 09:21 PM
Hey, that looks really nice. What kind of paint are you using? And will it last or peel off later?

cpmusic
02-18-2016, 10:53 PM
I sanded the first uke I painted (its my avatar right now) but I didn't use a binding prrimer, and it made the job go longer. Now I sand very lightly with a small finishing sander (saves time and my wrists), clean the surface, and give it a light coat of a water-based spray primer. I paint with acrylics and finish with a water-based matte sinish spray.

It's a fun hobby that doesn't break the bank.

Rainbowuke
02-19-2016, 06:08 AM
Man, that is gorgeous!

I should have said in my thread...

yes, I sanded the top down , then applied a coat of white primer beforehand. :p

To seal the top and prevent from wear and chipping,

I recommend using spray-on estapol/polyurethane finish. I've given mine three coats over the last three days and will be stringing her up tomorrow.

Can't wait to see how this one turns out Rainbowuke, it looks really pretty.

I so love your artwork. :)

Thank you!

Can you let us know if you notice any intonation difference once you get yours set up? From the research I've done on guitars, it's not ideal to paint them or apply stickers because sealing the wood deadens sound. So I've been too scared to brighten up any of my guitars, though I've wanted to! But ukes have a long history of being painted and/or made from plastic or other materials. So...I'm interested to know how they sound after customization. The one I have has such terrible strings that it sounds terrible anyway, but I'm keeping them because they're clear, and it's just for looking at ;)


Hey, that looks really nice. What kind of paint are you using? And will it last or peel off later?


I sanded the first uke I painted (its my avatar right now) but I didn't use a binding prrimer, and it made the job go longer. Now I sand very lightly with a small finishing sander (saves time and my wrists), clean the surface, and give it a light coat of a water-based spray primer. I paint with acrylics and finish with a water-based matte sinish spray.

It's a fun hobby that doesn't break the bank.


Thanks for the tips! Same question as above...do you notice intonation issues after painting?

And to cpmusic-- I LOVE your hamburger uke! :D

Here's the beginning of today's chrysanthemum sketch...
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Rainbowuke
02-19-2016, 07:07 AM
Oops- forgot to put this after your quote Luke El U,
I'm using Liquitex acrylic paint. If it were a uke that would be played, there's risk of it scratching, so a good sealant would need to be used. Polyurethane is toughest, but I would worry on a nice uke about deadening the sound. I wonder if there's a thread about that in the Luthier's Lounge?

Definitely needs to be sanded first, even if it's decoration. In my hurry to finish, my first unsanded attempt scratched when a fingernail brushed up against it. A good primer also helps with adhesion. Hope that helps!

cpmusic
02-19-2016, 08:06 AM
Thanks for the tips! Same question as above...do you notice intonation issues after painting?

You're welcome! I didn't notice any difference in the uke's tone from the paint, but I used an inexpensive uke so I wouldn't have to worry about it. The only difference I can tell in tone is due to different strings; I used Martin sopranos because they're clear and don't distract from the design, and they sound different than the Aquilas that came with the uke.


And to cpmusic-- I LOVE your hamburger uke! :D

Thanks! I didn't use a primer on this one and that made painting lighter colors a pain. Also, I had never used acrylics before, so I learned some other lessons the hard way. Here's the "whole package":

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Rainbowuke
02-20-2016, 08:25 AM
Yesterday's progress:
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I have more...but I'm getting an error that I've exceeded my quota. To post more do I need a paid membership? Or is it just per post??

Rainbowuke
02-20-2016, 08:28 AM
Tried putting them in a second post- same error message. I also tried a screenshot of them to decrease the file size. Should I be hosting the files somewhere else & linking to them here?

Any ideas/advice/solutions would be appreciated!

Inksplosive AL
02-20-2016, 08:54 AM
I have an old free photobucket account I use for pictures on forums. I am unaware if they have changed anything for new accounts. On this forum I usually link to an external site like photobucket and make certain the "Retrieve remote file and reference locally" box is clicked. I assume that lets the forum store a version of the photo most compatible.

I'm not 100% certain what limit you have reached perhaps a question for the moderators? Direct line under every post just click the ! in the little triangle bottom left. Might be a slight abuse in this situation but it will get a moderators direct attention.

~Peace~

Rainbowuke
02-23-2016, 10:55 AM
I have an old free photobucket account I use for pictures on forums...

Thank you! Super helpful- but I just started a new unit with my classes (I teach high school art), and with two little ones at home I'm afraid I won't have time to manage a lot of back-and-forth to post pics. I know it's not all that hard, but man... my plate is full right now ;)

I think there's a limit because I'm new to the forum. So, for now I'm just going to plan on holding off altogether until I'm finished, then I'll delete one of the old photos and post the final result. Kind of a bummer since I wanted to document the process, but ah well...

Off to grade projects! :)