This is my first attempt at creating a custom Sylvanian family. I was quite nervous to paint on Sylvanians. This project was meant to be a quick, stress-free attempt to get past the fear of painting figures, so there many flaws, but I’m happy with the results and to have ended up with a unique family!
The Blueberry Family is inspired by other similar families, such as the Chocolates and the Lavenders. I only painted the ears, which is enough to be an interesting variation, but less intensive and time consuming than painting the full body.
You’ll need a few things to begin creating your special Sylvanians. The most important part is to obtain Sylvanians that you don’t mind taking a bit of a chance with. It’s easy to make an error with paint, which may end up being permanent.
You will also need paint and paint brushes. I chose to use Apple Barrel acrylic paints which are easy to find and inexpensive. My color choices were a deeper blue for the outside tips of the ears and a light blue for the inner ear. Opt for paint brushes you are comfortable using, but you may want to have two sizes on hand, including a smaller, thinner brush for detail work. My choice was this brush set., and I am quite happy with them! Id also recommend trying out the brushes and paint on a sheet of paper before you begin painting your Sylvanian. This ensures that you are comfortable with the results and are sure about your color choices. Finally, you will need masking tape (my personal preference happens to be this blue painter’s tape) to separate the sections that you wish to paint from those you want to protect(areas not intended to be colored). You might also want to have paper towels on hand, as a damp one may help clean flocking from any mistakes or excess paint.
I decided to use Snow Warren Rabbits for this project. Their white flocking is ideal for showing off soon-to-be-added colors. The Snow Warrens were released in a seven family member Celebration pack, which I found on eBay for a very reasonable price. Though all seven family members were included, the Sylvanians came without any clothing and were quite dirty, making them good candidates for a transformation. I am very happy with this choice, because it means my new family features grandparents, plus a baby.
Apologies for how dirty the rabbits look in some of these photos! I cleaned off the areas that got painted, but didn’t bother with the rest of the body, mostly because I wanted to get started before I thought about it too much, got nervous and changed my mind.
However, keep in mind that it is very important to, at the very least, clean the parts that will be painted. Cleaning the entire figure would be the best way to handle this.
Also, apologies for the photo quality. I took these very quickly while the project was in process.
Here is a Snow Warren, ready to have his ears cleaned.
After the cleaning is complete, use the painter’s tape to mark off sections that are not to be painted. For this part of the process, I’m going to be painting the figure’s ear tips only. The tape, in theory, will keep any stray paint from getting any areas we don’t want it to be in.
The next step is to begin painting! The best method is to wipe most of the paint off the brush and use a dry brush technique. Friend and fellow collector Lady Lollipop has created an excellent tutorial on how to properly paint a Sylvanian. Be prepared to apply multiple coats to achieve the color you want to see. To avoid paint sneaking onto the masked-off flocking under the tape. start your brush on the tape and brush outward, over the flocking. This motion in this direction minimizes the chances of any brush bristles going underneath the tape.
Since the entire tip of the ear needs color, I painted both front and back. The shade of blue I used is the same color as the painter’s tape!
After you’ve finished, carefully remove the tape from the ears. I used a seam ripper for this part.
Next, fill in the inner front of the ear with the lighter color paint. Again, this may take multiple coats. Here are the results! Be sure to allow your new family plenty of time to dry. I let my new Blueberry family to dry overnight. By morning they were ready for fun and adventures!
When the family was ready to play with, I began sorting out clothing for them to wear and creating biographies. Hopefully, someday they will have custom outfits to wear, but for now they are wearing clothing donated by other Sylvanians.
Meet the Blueberry Family!
Grandfather Navy Blueberry loves playing both kinds of music – blues and bluegrass! He can often be found on front porches, gardens, and stages throughout Greenbearshire, playing various stringed instruments (guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukelele) for appreciative audiences(such as Rusty Wildwood). As a younger rabbit, Navy served in the Sylvanian River Patrol with his good friend Rhys Chocolate, and often makes up songs about their adventures together, as well as the legendary beauty, kindness, and cooking skill of his wife, Azura.
Grandmother Azura Blueberry has a wonderful voice and sings with the love of her life, Navy. When not busy with music, she can be found creating amazingly delicious dishes featuring the family’s homegrown blueberries. She can cook and bake everything from blueberry muffins to blueberry barbecue salmon to blueberry ketchup for fried potatoes. Azura is also close friends with Pearl Babblebrook and is the local expert at kindly keeping her friend out of the kitchen. When Pearl’s son, Rocky, became engaged to be married, Azura taught his fiance, Crystal, most of her secrets.
Father Jay Blueberry is the Greenbearshire blueberry farmer! He delights in spending time with all growing things, but blueberries are his absolute favorite. During the blueberry harvest, he invites all the villagers to join in the picking. The harvest is followed by a celebration featuring food and music provided by his parents Navy and Azura and everyone goes home happy, full, and with a big barrel of blueberries for each household. Jay and his beloved wife Indigo are always the first couple to begin dancing and the last couple to leave the dance floor!
Indigo Blueberry has been in love with Jay since he began bringing her the best blueberries from his family farm when they were teenagers. They shared their first kiss at the legendary blueberry harvest party and have been inseparable ever since. Indigo is an excellent potter and creates all types of crockery. Each piece is a slightly different shade of blue. Indigo and Azura love to collaborate to create specialty meals to be served on one-of-kind dishware.
Sister, Lapis, is dedicated to the art of jewelry making. Her specialty is creating unique and beautiful designs featuring blue gemstones and rocks. She hopes to one day display her work at the big department store in town. Lapis and her close friend Freya Chocolate love to bake and have created their own signature dessert – a chocolate sundae with blueberry sauce! Her entire family, especially her grandmother, Azura, is very proud!
Brother, Turquoise, is a geographer and rock hunter. He loves finding special stones to bring for his sister to use in her jewelry designs. Someday, he hopes to use his geography knowledge as part of the Sylvanian River Patrol, so he can have adventures just like his grandfather Navy. Turquoise loves rambling and dreams of exploring every inch of Greenbearshire and greater Sylvania, but also plans to eventually join his parents and grandparents in running the family blueberry business.
Baby sister, Teal, is still very young, but she already loves wearing her big sisters jewelry and trying to explore like her big brother. Luckily for her parents, she is still quite small, so they’ve not had to chase her too far – yet! Teal’s favorite hobby is coloring. She uses every shade of blue she can get her paws on!
Thank you for taking the time to read about the Blueberry family! I’ve already become quite attached to them. When I started thinking about doing customs, I was worried about getting everything to be perfect, but now I’m less worried about that aspect of things. If I’m honest, I love all Sylvanians and a bit of paint being out of place isn’t the end of the world.
I may at some point give the Blueberrys blue noses and blue tails.
Here’s the whole family, gathered for a photo. I hope this helps with not only the technical process of creating unique Sylvanians, but also helps get past the initial fear of making mistakes on a figure. Happy painting!