Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rockin' Guitar Hero Card

**DISCLAIMER: VERY VERY LONG POST AHEAD! GET COMFORTABLE!** One of our friends is turning 30 this Saturday, and I asked Bob if he wanted me to make him a card. He said that I could, if I wanted to, but that it didn't have to be anything out of the ordinary. What? When you turn 30, it's a BIG DEAL, and it deserves a one-of-a-kind, extraordinarily special card.

This guy's the technical director at our church, so Bob suggested I might do something with a sound speaker. I really couldn't get excited about that. But I began doing a little research for a font I might use toward that end. While I was doing that, the music muse struck, and the result is this: a Guitar Hero card!

Once I found a font that would mimic the Guitar Hero graphic, I went to and found a photo of the various "guitar" controllers that have been created for this phenoma-game.

I decided to go with the original. I began sketching it out on the SU! grid paper, which turned out to be very fortuitous. When I had finished my sketch, it was 9" wide and just over 8" tall. I decided that I wanted the card base to be as symmetrical as possible, so I scored the sketch at 4.5" and cut it out. Then I cut a piece of Basic Black 12" x 12" paper down to the aforementioned dimensions and scored it similarly. I simply laid the template down on half, drew around it, and then cut through both layers.

I did the same thing with the "bib" (I don't know what to call it, but it's the white part in the middle), only I made 2 because I wanted the card to look as realistic from the outside as it does inside. (The guitar is folded in half so that the recipient has to open it to see the message and the details.) Once those were applied, I went to work on the neck.

I started with a strip 4" x 12", but I knew that the point where it would attach to the card was 1.75" in width. I also had to accommodate the top of the neck, which flares out a bit. So, I referred back to my photo from wikipedia and sketched the top freehand. I scored the entire length before cutting it, and was able to get the mirror image on each side that I wanted. Then I had to trim out the actual neck, which meant taking a 5/8" x 9" strip off each side. I noticed that there was a shadow on the top that is probably concave in real life, but I wanted to imitate that too. I used my Versamarker to create this subtle detail. The simulated string holders were made with my 1/2" circle punch.

As you can tell from the above picture, I also added the "frets" detail that the controller is famous for. The width of the neck being 1.75" meant that the frets had to be smaller than that. They also have a rounded end. I cut a 3/4" x 1.75" strip of the 5 colors (Green Galore, Real Red, Summer Sun, Brilliant Blue, and Only Orange) and then used my circle Coluzzle cutting system to make the rounded tip for each. The picture shows how I lined up the second circle in the system with the top of each strip, but CUT the smallest circle arch. I then scored them so that they would fit into the neck and adhered them about 1/8" apart.

Every guitar has knobs (I don't know what they're for in real life, or in the game), so I included these. Of course, this would not be a complete, authentic replica without a tremolo arm (whammy bar in the vernacular). For that I used a 1" x 2" strip of white for the base it comes out from, and a 1/4" x 3" strip of silver metallic paper with a little bit of black for the "rubberized tip" to finish it off.

Lastly, I went back to the font I'd found (Gargoyles from to make the message. I printed the words out on vellum and cut them to fit the white space. I suppose they could've been printed directly on the white "bib", but by the time I'd gotten to this point in the card, it was already glued down!

I am THRILLED with how this project came together! I've made templates of the pieces so that I can recreate this. This took at least 2 hours, but for a special friend with a milestone birthday, it was definitely worth it.


Amy said...

Whoa, Jenn! This is absolutely fabulous! I'm totally speechless!!!

Nicole said...

How flippin' COOL is this?!? Fabulous!
will email you this weekend!

sandra said...

this is phenomenal!!!

Lydia said...


This is AMAZING!!! It looks just like the real thing! I think you should go buy a Wii this weekend!!!

Nancy Riley said...

Clever, clever, clever!!!!!

Kirk Rogers said...

Hello Jenn,

You are just a wonderful person. This shows how great you are. It makes me wish I knew you!! Wow!!! I am going to email you with an idea I have.

Guitar Ideas
Kirk Rogers