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Topic: Snow Globes  (Read 2086 times)
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mgodby86
« on: May 26, 2007 05:39:31 PM »

see the project here:
http://guide.dada.net/hobby_femminili/interventi/2001/12/81212.shtml

it looks cute and seems easy, but i do have some concerns

1. would rather not use mothballs
2. how long would this project last? would the clay deteriorate after time?

thanks!
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2007 12:05:18 AM »

Instead of the mothballs, you could use glitter or really any small bits of snow-looking material.

I don't think that the clay would deteriorate, since it is essentially plastic.  At least, I think it would outlive its usefulness.  I'd be leery about using mineral oil, since it can be used to soften clay.  I think your best bet would be to add a bit of glycerin to the water to thicken it up and make the snow fall slower and look more natural. 

I am, though, basing much of this on my pre-K snowglobe making experience.   Cheesy
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2007 08:18:23 AM »

The most common thing clayers use in snowglobes for falling snow is  medium or fine holographic plastic glitter (like Prisma's).  You can use other glitters too as long as they aren't metal (can rust, or their colorant can come off in the water sometimes).  Naphthalene flakes work well too, and though it's not too great to breathe it will be sealed away in the snowglobe pretty soon.  Other particulate matter (or even "shape" glitters or ceramic flakes or small plastic beads or cane slices) can work too especially if they're completely and long-term waterproof.

As for the longevity of polymer-containing snowglobes, there are several concerns --most of which wouldn't affect the globe for maybe 6 months or more and may not matter too much depending on other factors (and for short term ones like kids might make in school, no problem).  The concerns are:
... the clay developing a whitish coating
... the water developing algae, rot, etc.
....the glues holding, if used

Other concerns are:
....how fast the snow or other bits fall
....sealing the cap well... and avoiding an air bubble
....making sure the items are tall enough in the bottle (plus size/shape of bottle)
....etc.

The algae/rot can be avoided by using distilled water and making sure everything is reasonably clean.  Using some rubbing alcohol or a water preservative (like waterbed conditioner) in the water can work too.

The whitish "coating" is most evident on darker clay colors, and is actually the clay finally absorbing a bit of the water surrounding it (so it's actually just the top layer of clay, not a coating).  That's been the biggest problem for longevity, and the conclusions are that using sufficient glycerin in the water will prevent that**  (50-50 seems to be good enough and not as expensive as 100%... also allows snow to fall at a good rate) --and maybe other things-- and also not storing the globe near sunlight or other UV light sources.  It may be possible to seal the clay well enough that it never becomes porous at all, but most acrylic sealers will eventually begin to absorb water with continuous contact like this... 2-part epoxies (resins, glues) may work though.  Some people just don't mind that their darker colors get a bit lighter though.

**mineral oil, corn syrup, and clear cooking oil may work for that purpose also... they're also good for creating a good falling-rate

There's loads more info/lessons on making snowglobes with polymer clay on this page at my site, as well as things like buying glycerin more cheaply, if you want to check it out:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/outdoor_snowglobes_fountains.htm
(....first half of page)


HTH,

Diane B.
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BeachFae
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007 12:09:42 AM »

I've also heard of using crushed eggshells for the snow.
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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2007 10:44:29 AM »

I have never used polymer clay--which is weird, because I am all about sculpting with my hands...anyway--I am going to go buy some and make my mother a Snowglobe for Christmas.  Inside this snowglobe, I plan to sculpt each of her grandchildren (there are 6) sitting in front of the fire (my parents have a fire ring at their house and love taking the kids out there) roasting marshmallows.

Yeah--I know---over achieve much?
So my questions are...
1. With polymer clay, what is the BEST liquid medium?
2. Will acrylic paint stick to the figures inside whatever liquid?
3. What should I use for the marshmallow sticks--what type of wire won't break down?
4. is there a better kind of glitter to use?  I was thinking just plain ol silver walmart glitter (which I have on hand)  I don't want "snow" so much as sparkly stars (they have the most amazing stars out there) Would tiny star shaped glitter work too?  How do I keep it from clumping?
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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2007 11:53:58 AM »

You can get answers to questions 1 and 4 on this page at my polymer website:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/outdoor_snowglobes_fountains.htm
(... look all under the general category called "Basic Info--Making Snowglobes"...)

Quote
Will acrylic paint stick to the figures inside whatever liquid?

Yes, as long as it's correctly applied (and perhaps dried or cured).
But you can also make the figures from colored polymer clay (any color at all can be mixed), or you can just antique the colored clay, or you can do the color in their faces with acrylic paint over flesh-colored clay then use colored clay for the rest of their clothing, etc.
Check out this page for more on using paints with polymer clay:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/paints.htm

Quote
What should I use for the marshmallow sticks--what type of wire won't break down?

Wire shouldn't break down in water and glycerin (or the other additives) unless you mean rusting.  I'm pretty sure that most wire sold for jewelry won't rust, or you could seal the wire with a clear acrylic sealer or paint it, I guess.

Quote
is there a better kind of glitter to use?  I was thinking just plain ol silver walmart glitter (which I have on hand)  I don't want "snow" so much as sparkly stars (they have the most amazing stars out there) Would tiny star shaped glitter work too?  How do I keep it from clumping?

First, glitter (and glitter shapes) generally won't clump (if so, wet thoroughly before putting into the water mix), especially if you've used glyercrin or another slippery substance in the water.
Small plastic shapes are usually fine, but larger ones (or any objects with air in them) can float instead of falling, so you'll have to try out various glitter pieces and sizes, with different water mixes to see what suits you best.
 
Holographic glitter (a heat-resistant polyester glitter usually sold for fabric or rubberstamping, etc.) comes in various particle sizes from really tiny to larger, and it's often more sparkly than white... it looks great in snowglobes; I've used it myself.**

For a more silvery snow, you can try silver glitter but some kinds of real metal glitter could rust or tarnish.  You could to try silver Pearl Ex which is really small and made from mica particles (and can be mail ordered in larger flake/particle size).
But there are lots of polyester or glass glitters (for fabric decorating, rubberstamping, body art, "artists glitters," etc.) that could be good possibilities too. I don't think that embossing glitter/powders would work, but not at all sure, could be great).

There's a lot more info about glitters in particular on this page if you want to check it out:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/inclusions.htm
(...click on Glitters...)

**for an example of very small holographic glitter used in a (small) snowglobe, look at the middle of this page on the right for a little cabin with glitter falling (however, the way the camera captured it really doesn't look the way it does... it's much more twinkly, and there's a lot more of it showing)
http://www.glassattic.com/imagesCANES_COV/cov-BOH/BOH.htm
(you may be able to see small stars and other glitter shapes in the other bottles though those are all settled to the bottom in these shots)


HTH,

Diane B.


P.S.  If you actually want to "sculpt" with polymer clay too, you might want to check out these pages as well:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpting_body_and_tools.htm http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/heads_masks.htm
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/miniatures.htm
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/armatures-perm.htm

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(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2007 02:50:32 PM »

Thanks for all the links Diane!
After reading (and reading and reading) I never saw anything that referenced my concern about the paint bubbling/peeling/losing adhesion in the water&glycerin/oil...I wouldn't be concerned (as much) if the figures I am making were small--but they will each be 2-4 inches+ in height...that's a lot of paint.  And from my experience, little bits of paint are more apt to stick than larger areas.  Since I am making 6 kids, I had not planned to get all of the colors I need to use in clay (plus I think it might be harder to make the hair, clothes, etc out of separate clays and apply them--sculpting and carving I can wrap my mind around..)
From what I can tell (the site you linked is VERY wordy and not always on topic!) colored clays will sometimes fade in the water, but it doesn't really address painted clay--or painted clay that have been sealed with some kind of spray sealant.  At least not in a submersion environment. 
Most of the problems cited seem to have to do with the water--if the globe is filled with mineral oil, will that eliminate the problems?  Will there be a new set of problems?
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« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2007 05:44:58 PM »

Hi again,

I'll try respond to all those things one at a time, as much as I know...

Quote
. . . I never saw anything that referenced my concern about the paint bubbling/peeling/losing adhesion in the water&glycerin/oil...I wouldn't be concerned (as much) if the figures I am making were small--but they will each be 2-4 inches+ in height...that's a lot of paint.  And from my experience, little bits of paint are more apt to stick than larger areas. . . colored clays will sometimes fade in the water, but it doesn't really address painted clay--or painted clay that have been sealed with some kind of spray sealant.  At least not in a submersion environment.  . .


The reason paint is not addressed there is mostly because most clayers don't "paint over" polymer clay, and so haven't had that factor to deal with.  (Also, you may have been only on the page of my website dealing with snowglobes, and what I know about acrylics is discussed mostly on other pages.)

Acrylic paint is like acrylic sealer though, and if properly applied* and cured (actually takes a week to fully cure acrylics, supposedly, as opposed to simply "drying" them), they shouldn't come off in water since they're virtually waterproof.  Over time, some clear acrylic sealers can show minor signs of having absorbed a tiny bit of water and become a little less clear, but the color underneath usually stays pretty much the same, so it may be possible that acrylic paints would do the same. 
(There is some info though about various sealers, resins included, that are exposed to submersion in the Fountains category of that page, I think.... and actually, you might be interested in an epoxy resin as a sealer--see Other Materials > Epoxy Resins if interested in more info.)

*the baked polymer surface must be free of all oils which could act as resists for the paint (...I would assume that painting over the Kato Polyclay brand might be least effective since it cures with a very dense surface creating a smooth sheen --it could be abraided with sandpaper, etc, though)
... so a good rubbing with alcohol is usually required before a baked polymer item can be "painted on"

One thing we do with acrylic sealers, to speed up their curing and to "harden" the surface even more, is to bake the sealer on the polymer item for a short amount of time (5-10 min) at a lower temp than usually used for most brands (200-250 F) --although doing that over the Sculpey brand of sealer can result in bubbling and later peeling since it's soo thick, and the Future acrylic floor polish that some clayers use is not totally waterproof so it can come off more easily when soaked over time.
I'm not sure if anyone has done that heating though when applying a thick layer of acrylic paint or two over baked polymer clay... but when it's done after a baked polymer item has been "antiqued" with acrylic paint (usually dark brown) which leaves the paint only in the crevices, the heating makes the acrylic paint even harder to remove (intentionally).

The bottom line is that I really can't say what would happen with what you want to do  because for one thing it's different in materials and scale than what we've normally done inside snowglobes.  Personally I'd be concerned about trying to do something similar myself without a fair amount of experimentation because there are so many elements that could go wrong (esp. with little working knowledge of polymer clay), plus snowglobe making hasn't been done all that much compared to other things in polymer clay --even those clayers who have made snowglobes have generally been aiming for something more on the whimsical side and without the really-long lifespan than you're wanting.   
Most of what clayers have said specifically about making snowglobes is on that page, though you might want to check out some of the larger polymer clay groups online to ask if anyone else has more info, particularly in the last year or so (...check the Groups-Online page of my site for contact info if you're interested in finding out about those groups).

Quote
Since I am making 6 kids, I had not planned to get all of the colors I need to use in clay (plus I think it might be harder to make the hair, clothes, etc out of separate clays and apply them--sculpting and carving I can wrap my mind around..)

I understand what you mean about sculpting being something you already know about so that makes sense, but be aware that figures of that size generally wouldn't be solid clay (they'd have armatures of various types to save clay, add strength, and avoid cracking during baking in thicker areas) so you might not use as much clay as you were thinking. 
Also, the clothing of sculpts is often created as part(s) of the body rather than "dressing" whole bodies later, though that can be done too.
(Re having to buy lots of colors, that wouldn't be necessary since virtually any color you can think of can be created with only 5 "colors" of clay --red, blue, yellow,** white, black-- plus translucent if any degree of translucence is desired... it's just like mixing oil paints or many other pigments. And in fact, white polymer clay (or any color) can be tinted with artists oil paints, alcohol inks, and other pigments too.
**actually, fuschia, turquoise, and lemon yellow are the best clay colors for making the clearest versions of some of those mixes... there's more info on the Colors page of my site if you're interested in more info on mixing colors or even whole palettes)

Quote
. . .if the globe is filled with mineral oil, will that eliminate the problems?  Will there be a new set of problems?. . .

I don't really know about that re using paint, but I think the sparklies probably wouldn't sink at all if the liquid were all mineral oil or glycerine, etc.

Quote
. . . (the site you linked is VERY wordy and not always on topic!) . . . After reading (and reading and reading) . . .


Sorry about that!  Grin  My website is a compilation of many-many things that polymer clayers have said and tried to help each other with over the last eleven years (which I organized and put online-- though most of that work remains unfinished), plus all the things I've added myself or written to try and give summaries of each section, etc.   Some people love all the accumulated wisdom and tips/variations, but it can be deadly hard for a beginner especially if jumping into something fiddly and with lots of variables right from the get-go.

If you want to check out the whole GlassAttic "polymer clay encyclopedia" (almost 2000 pages) and/or to find out where any polymer topic is mainly addressed, it can be best to browse all the way down the Table of Contents page first:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
...Then when you find the topic you want to read about and see examples of, etc., click on the name of its page from inside the alphabetical navigation bar on the left side.


HTH,

Diane B.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2007 05:57:53 PM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2007 07:22:18 PM »

Cheesy Diane- you rock! Cheesy Your site is an awesome resource, and I LOVE the way the info from various sources is combined...I would just get mired in the reading of something kinda related and then not skip past the not-so related stuff...I wanted to read it all....so it is my fault entirely.
Quote
Personally I'd be concerned about trying to do something similar myself without a fair amount of experimentation because there are so many elements that could go wrong (esp. with little working knowledge of polymer clay),
Lol...that sounds like what people said when I started refinishing my floors and re-plumbing my bathroom!
I think I may go pick up some clay and see what I can do with it...once I get my hands on some (I assume it is nothing like clay or playdough or silly putty or anything else I've played with before) And THEN decide what I'm gonna do.
Thank you for your time and advice...I will definitely be revisiting this thread to draw on your expertise!
Monica
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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2007 09:58:45 AM »

Quote
...I would just get mired in the reading of something kinda related and then not skip past the not-so related stuff...I wanted to read it all....

LOL... the same thing happens to me.  I always want to know everything.  It can be quite a challenge to wrangle such a huge amount of info though.  The good news is that there are so-o many fabulous things that can be done with polymer clay!

Quote
I think I may go pick up some clay and see what I can do with it...once I get my hands on some (I assume it is nothing like clay or playdough or silly putty or anything else I've played with before) And THEN decide what I'm gonna do

You might want to read about the characteristics of the various brands and lines of polymer clay before you buy or make any final decisions about what to use, because they are NOT all alike (some of those differences have to do with handling, curing, strength after curing, color retention, "plaquing," etc.)
And there are even differences in brands (and mixes of those brands) when "sculpting" in particular that can be really important.  So, if you're interested:

for characteristics of the brands and lines for general use, look on this page:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Characteristics.htm
for their characteristics when sculpting in particular, look on this page:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpture.htm
(... click on Polymer Clays for Sculpting especially...)

There have been recent reformulations in many of the brands too, and I haven't been keeping up with things a lot in the last year or so, but that info can give you some ideas about things to consider. 
If you want to do more realistic sculpting of heads, you might want to check out some of the sculpting groups that deal with doll making and figure sculpting too since they're bound to know a lot more (some of those groups should be on my main Sculpting page).

Btw, there's nothing to say you couldn't do a "display globe" with your scene in it rather than making a waterglobe or snowglobe.  Then you wouldn't have to worry about all those extra factors having to do with liquids, and it would still be really cool. 
In addition, the baked figures would be protected from all stress in case you use a weaker clay or haven't quite figured out armatures, etc., so they couldn't break.
You can buy display globes and their bases in several sizes and shapes at various places, and some clayers have used things like round glass light fixtures, glass ivy bowls, etc., too (using wood plaques, etc., as bases, or making their own from clay).  There are a few more ideas about display globes on that snowglobe page, and also in the sections just above that, if you're interested.


Diane B.
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POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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