Chief Illiniwek Paper Artwork

Every Christmas season, I get together with my friends from college and we have a grab bag gift exchange where often many of the sought after gifts are University of Illinois related.  About 5 years ago, I saw a paper cut out at my friend’s apartment that her brother had made her, and I added it to my mental “I Can Make That” file.  Two Christmases ago, I set out to attempt to create my own Illini masterpiece for the grab bag.
I purchased paper from one of my favorite crafty stores, PaperSource.  I remember admiring their stationary and invitations in their catalog when I was planning my wedding.  When I stepped foot into a PaperSource store, I was at peace.  (My husband, on the other hand, was probably sweating as he planned how on earth he would drag me out of this place.)  They have a full wall, floor to ceiling, of beautiful, handmade paper.  Each sheet is large (maybe 20″x25″ish) and the range of color, patterns, textures, and details are incredible.  It’s the type of stuff that you see and just need to buy because you know you can, and will (eventually) create something amazing with it.
I picked out Illini colors, though using nontraditional colors would also give this art an interesting twist…maybe next time.  
illinois chief paper art
I chose the blue sheet to trace the chief onto, because the back was white and easy to see pencil marks on.  I took advantage of my teacher perks for this next step; I used my digital projector to trace an image of the chief from the internet.  I’m guessing you could probably use a digital projector at a public library for this step-or find a friend with one!
illini chief paper art
After tracing the image, I figured out which sections I wanted to be blue in the final image.  Once you start cutting, it’s really easy to confuse the pieces, especially with such an intricate image.  Hopefully your alma mater or favorite team has a simpler mascot than mine.
I used an Xacto knife to cut out the pieces, very carefully.
illini chief paper art
The final step is to affix the pieces to the second sheet of paper.  I use an aerosol glue for the large pieces and a scrapbook glue stick for the small pieces.  Everything seemed to stick just fine.
I put it in a simple frame and here’s the finished product: 
illinois illini chief paper art

2 thoughts on “Chief Illiniwek Paper Artwork

  1. Hi Jenny,
    My granddaughter is a freshman at the University of Illinois this year. We have had season tickets to U of I basketball games for 30 years! We love and miss The Chief so much. His halftime dance was always beautiful and very respectful of the Indian traditional dance. I am looking forward to following your blog. Maybe I will see some more U of I things I can try.

    1. Hi Kay! I am so glad to hear you found this post. It was one of my first, and has been buried for awhile, but every time I’m at one of my friends’ houses, I see them up and am reminded of all of them that I made. When I went to school (2002-2006) I was at almost every home basketball game and in Orange Krush for two years. I bet we were at many of the same games! How special that your granddaughter now goes there. Thanks for following along!

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