Saturday, I went a little overboard experimenting and playing around with Tulip Vases. For Christmas, someone got me the Wilton Wedding Cake Pan set. I thought that the 4 different sized pans might make for some good experimentation on different sized vases.
I wish the craft stores and WalMart carried a better selection of beads. The color palette to choose from is pretty pitiful. I did find, on the web, a place that you can buy pony beads by the thousand in specific colors. I might have to order some. http://www.candjcraft.com/beads/pony_beads.htm
I learned a few things. The first is that the larger the piece, the less evenly the piece droops. Being a stickler for symmetry, I was really bummed. On the largest piece, one of the sides of the vase came out about 1.5 inches longer than the rest.
Next, I learned that doing 4 pieces at once emits a lot more fumes than one piece at a time. Heheheh. The Hood and the Air Purifier couldn't keep up. *cough* *cough*
Lastly, I determined that the Tulip vases are fairly safe to use with tea candles. I let a tea candle burn for 20 - 30 minutes and tested the sides for heat and melting. So long as the candle is in the middle, things seemed to work pretty well. The majority of the heat is straight up from the flame.
For my project, I sought inspiration around the house. While looking around, I thought to myself, why not build a 2 inch scale model of the house. It was different. It was unlikely that someone else would do it. It could actually be neat. So, why not.
I present to you: Home Sweet Home
This is PinkyK's and my Real House from the Front
This is the Miniature House from the Front
Basically, I created a basswood structure resembling the house, then I used narrow strips of construction paper to create the effect of Siding and Shingles. I used waxed paper for the backing of the windows, in an attempt to make them look different from the rest of the house.
I really wanted to do the bricks and the steps. That would have looked cool. Unfortunately, that would have put me over the 2 Inch limit. Sigh!
Here are more pictures of the house and the construction process:
This is an idea I have had bouncing around in my head, for a while now. After all of my experimenting, I was ready to try to execute the idea.
The first step was to bake all of the pieces. This piece required baking 4 separate pieces. Two bowls, a partial ring, and a disc.
Once all the parts had cooled, the first step was to use the blow torch to fuse the two bowls together. I thought that having a blue side and a green side would create an interesting aqua effect. Anyway, the bowls didn't fuse together perfectly, so there are lots of little gaps between them. So, it's not water tight.
Oh yeah, you can see where the bowls have an etched appearance, and do not appear glossy.
Once the bowls were fused, I used the blowtorch to go over the outsides of the bowls to shine them up. Just moving the torch quickly over the outside until the surface turned glossy, worked very well. I then proceeded to assemble the pieces together.
In another post, I talked about how using a blowtorch essentially turns the beads varying levels of gooey. With this in mind, I took the large plastic bead globs, which you typically get in the floral section of Michaels, and using a pair of pliers, I super heated one side of the bead until it was super gooey. When the bead is super gooey, you can press it firmly against other beads, and it will all melt together. So, I used this to connect the bowls to the ring, and the ring to the base.
Here are pictures from the finished product.
I want to mention one last thing about using the blowtorch. When the beads get really hot from the blowtorch, they tend to catch fire. When this happens, sometimes there are scorch marks, where soot from the burnt beads settles into the melted beads. Unfortunately, this doesn't buff out easily. If you look really closely, you will see some spots where there are burn marks. One of these days, I'll have it figured out.
Its been a while since I have posted anything, but that doesn't mean that I have been idle. I have been experimenting with manipulating melted beads with a blowtorch. Surprisingly, it works better than I first reported. It's kind of neat, using the blowtorch on beads, the beads get soft, then gooey, then liquid, and if you aren't careful, they also catch fire. Gooey is really cool to work with, because you can connect pieces together and bend them, when they are gooey.
This is a sculpture which I made from several different parts. Mostly, I was goofing around seeing what I could do. No cool color schemes or anything. Each of the parts were melted together separately in the oven. The forms were simply folded aluminum foil.
Then using the blowtorch, I attached five of the long bead sticks to the round base.
After that, I placed the base with the sticks over an Arizona Tea Can, and applied the blowtorch gently to the base, and let the sticks droop down. Then I cut up the remaining sticks, and using the blowtorch, attached them to the sculpture. Once everything cooled, I removed the can, and voila.
This was an attempt at making a dish. What I did was create a form out of aluminum foil. The shape is roughly like an Iron Cross. In a way, I wish I had measured things out more accurately, but then again, I was really goofing around.
After cooking the beads, I let them cool, and removed the foil. Then I took everything outside, and applied the trusty old blowtorch. Using the edge of a shelf on my gas grill as a straight edge, I applied the torch (in quick back and forth motions) to the piece to get one side of the cross to droop. I then repeated the process for each of the other sides. When all of the sides had drooped, I then used the blowtorch to heat up the seams, and tried to get them to melt together. Because the measurements were a little off, things didn't come together quite right.
Someone in my wife's office is getting married, and her office is having a shower for her. Somehow, I got volunteered, as I always do , to bake something for the office. Because of this being a special occasion, I got volunteered to do a special cake.
With it being World Cup time, and that the bride and groom are big soccer fans, and play soccer, my wife wanted me to make a Soccer themed cake. Its been a long while since I pulled out the tools, and am just a tad rusty on the cake decorating skills. So, here goes the end result. I hope everyone enjoys.
For the couple on top of the cake, I used some soccer decorations from Michaels. I hand sewed some Thule for the veil on the bride soccer player.
This isn't quite as exciting as the vase, but I wanted to show what you could do with a wire form on a cookie sheet. In one of my other posts, I described using a piece of 8 Gauge Unshielded Copper Wire to create a form, to hold beads into place. The copper wire is relatively easy to bend and form, and the copper wire doesn't seem to stick to the beads, which makes it an ideal tool.
Anyway, here is a picture of the finished product and the wire form, which I used.
If you have been following posts about melted beads, you may have seen the FSU Seminole Head.
These will be hung in our extra bedroom, which we refer to as the Bobby Bowden suite. We call it the Bobby Bowden suite (named after the FSU Football Coach), because this is where people stay, when they come up for Florida State University football games.
Today, I wanted to try out a few things. The first thing was using 8 Gauge Uninsulated Copper Wire as a way to hold beads in place on a Cookie Sheet. Which worked out pretty well.
Another thing I wanted to try out was a new way to shape a flat disk of melted beads. This time I took a round cake pan and bamboo skewers. I was shooting for an organic looking flower like droop.
The last thing I wanted to try out was making a round base and attaching the base to the platter. To do this, I used a round steel form, which I picked up at the local Kitchen Ware store. I put the form in a small cake pan, and arranged beads in it, so that the beads were 1 bead thick in the middle, and 3 beads thick along the edge. This was meant to allow the base to be concave like the platter, and fit the platter tightly.
When all of the pieces were baked, it was time to attach the base to the platter. This was done using a blowtorch. Yes, a Blowtorch. Muahahaha. Just a word to note, blowtorching beads should be done outside, because this produces more fumes than baking the beads, and it is also a potential fire hazard.
I did a little more dabbling, and here is what I came up with.
After my experiment with trying to marble colors, by dragging them across each other while they were still hot, I began thinking about how to create cool shapes. Here is what I came up with...
First, I staged my beads in a round cake pan. I seem to have an affinity for concentric circles of colors. I tried to stage it so that the different colors seemed to run into each other. I baked it, waited for the disk to cool until it was hard, and removed it from the pan.
Then, I stacked a Coke Can (bottom side up) on top of a Tin Can, all of this back inside the cake pan. I then took the beaded disk, and centered it on top of the Coke Can. Once I was happy with the balance, I put the contraption back into the oven.
I let it melt, and form organically around the Coke Can. The Tin can provided extra height so that there wouldn't be any flat edges. I am thinking that you may take vase out of the oven earlier to get a more open Tulip effect, or leave the vase in the oven longer to get a tighter more uneven Tulip effect. I went for the tighter Tulip effect.
I let the vase cool to the point that I could handle it with bare hands. I then realized that with the Tight Tulip, the Coke Can was firmly embedded in the vase. I imagine that for the Open Tulip it will be easier to remove the Can. As it is, since Coke Cans are plentiful around the house, I took a pair of pliers, and start bending the can, and crushing it toward the middle. It took a minute or two to crush the can to the point where it just popped out. I chose a Coke Can for this reason, easy to crush.
Here are pictures of the end product:
I tested it for water tightness, and it leaks a little in a few spots. I am thinking that a coat of sealer on the inside might do the trick.
I was thinking to myself, "Why should I let Pinky have all of the fun?" Hehehe. I wanted a turn playing with toxic materials. No blow torch, yet. Muahahah
Besides, I wanted to test a theory. I tend to be anal about certain things, and I was trying to think about how to do a melted bead mosaic without all of the air bubbles. One thought was that if the beads are turned on their sides, when the beads collapse, they trap air bubbles, and they become a permanent feature of the work of art. So, for this attempt, I turned all the beads so that their holes were facing up. I have to say that the experiment was mostly a success. There is a single small air bubble on the bottom of the mosaic, for each bead that was used. I think if I turned it over, and cooked it again, then it might be mostly bubble free.
Another thing I tried, was using beads of varying sizes to try to get more detail. You will see in the picture with the pan, that there are small and big black beads. I have to admit that they worked out pretty well, together. There were a couple of small places where adjacent large beads ran over the smaller beads, just a little, when they melted.
Enough of about that. I wanted to make something practical, that would be decorative, and consistent with one of our Room Themes. So, I decided to make the Florida State University Seminole Head in a round form, so that it could be hung in our Bobby Bowden Suite.
Here are some pictures of the process and final product: