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Spectacles for Viewing Christmas on Mars, ©2011. Paper spectacles Christmas card with slip case. Life sized, 6.5 inches wide. I made these specs for my mom this year when she asked for some handmade Christmas cards. They are based on my book Christmas on Mars, made in 1988 when I was wondering where people we love go when they die. Do they still celebrate holidays? Can we send a message to them? There is a blog post about the spectacles here. And there is another pair that's just stars and a Mars map, shown at the bottom of this page.

Here's what Rae Trujillo says about wearing the spectacles: "(I) can see clearly all the Christmas decorations on Mars. Spectacular, we could learn a lot from the Martians about decorating although gravity does play a part in how they drape their swags."

The patterns are free downloads. You need Adobe Reader to open the files. Download Adobe Reader Here. To make them you would need scissors, and glue (an archival glue stick is best - it won't wrinkle the paper). A bonefolder would be handy, to make a crease where the tab meets the temple, but a table knife will work fine. You also need fairly heavy paper for the slipcase, and printer paper, preferably double sided, for the spectacles. I used double sided Epson premium presentation paper for the specs in the photo above, and red cardstock for the slip case. If you don't have double sided paper, you could use your art supplies to make a blue starry back.

Here's an FAQ: To make my blue paper for the back I use a mixture of acrylic paints in several darker blues and a tiny bit of black. There may also be a little green in there. This mixture is mixed with glazing medium, the proportions depend on how dark I want the final paper to be. I scrub the paint on 90 lb. hot press watercolor paper in a very thin layer, trying to keep the paint almost dry. Then I blot with some old phone book pages to make the surface matte. Do both sides to avoid buckling of the paper. Allow the paint to dry. The white paint for the stars is white acrylic paint with some glazing medium mixed in. It is splattered on with a toothbrush. I use my thumb most of the time. Be sure to test on scrap paper - the splatters vary a lot in size, depending on how wet your mixture is, and the toothbrush stiffness. Stiffer is better, wetter paint is better, up to the point where it gets transparent. I like the old style flat-across-the-top toothbrushes. I'm not sure if this method would work on the back of printer paper.

Pattern and instructions to make Spectacles for Viewing Christmas on Mars. Download.

Blue, starry background. Use this on the back of the spectacles if you have double sided printer paper. Download.

Pattern and instructions for a simple slip case to hold your spectacles. Download.

Pattern for an uncollaged pair, pictured below. Download.
Here are a few tips:
*Cut the full size sheet into several parts before beginning to cut out the individual parts, the spectacles front is particularly complicated and requires a lot of turning, you don't want extra paper flopping around
*Cut the outside shape of the spectacles front out before cutting the inner circles.
*To tear the top of the stamp squeeze the area between your fingers on both hands, the fingers squeeze right at the edge of the place you want to tear. Tear slowly, moving your fingers along with each short bit of tear.
*If you don't have a bonefolder you can make a crease along the edge between the tab and the spectacles temple with a table knife. Here is a video showing how to make a crease with a bonefolder.
*If you don't like the white cut-paper edge around the spectacles, you can use a marker pen to darken the white area. I used a fairly light blue Tombow marker and a light yellow one on the specs in the photos. The marker ink seems to soak into the cut edge and get darker than I expected. The white edge was very apparent in the photos - it is less noticeable in real life.

You could collage on this plain pair, or use them as a pattern to make your own.

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