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Topic: My mad science experiment - many failures and something pretty in the end!  (Read 1767 times)
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« on: February 21, 2019 05:40:59 PM »

Hello! It's been a while since I felt like I've made anything worth posting in its own thread but here we are  Smiley I've been slowly digging myself out of a crafting lull and when I was paired with a recent partner who is a science teacher and loves science-themed things I was struck with inspiration.

I've seen art inspired by petri dish cultures and thought it'd be neat to make an art piece along those lines. I discovered a neat technique where you pour resin in a mold and then drip colored alcohol inks and white alcohol ink (this part is particularly special from what I gather - it's what makes it work) to create a really cool textural effect. All the youtube videos I watched make the whole process look very straight-forward.....whereas I had some technical difficulties...  Roll Eyes

Like any good scientist, I had a few trials, so I thought it'd be fun to document them here and share some of my thoughts on my successes and failures in case anyone else wants to try this.

First of all, I bought real petri dishes. They ended up being smaller than I expected. Maybe half as small as your average petri dish. But they were the perfect thing to pour the resin into because I didn't have a mold (at the time). These are from Batch #1:

I actually had 9 of these that turned out similarly - these were the best of them. Unfortunately it wasn't what I hoped. I had used Tim Holtz alcohol inks - I had blue, purple, and an assortment of earthy colors, brown, ocher, butterscotch, etc. and rather than layering and giving a mix of colors, they all blended and turned into one over all tone, and then too much of the alcohol ink dropped to the bottom of the dish obscuring any sort of drippy texture and depth. You can sort of see in the picture below what is hidden by all the splotches on top.

So, while it does have kind of a weird brainy look to it that is cool, I was disappointed that it wasn't what I was going for. So onto Batch #2!

This was probably my most successful batch. Its textured, doesn't have too much of the "splotching" effect that covers up everything, and while the colors mixed a bit more than I wanted, there's still a little bit of variation overall rather than just a solid color. What did I do differently? Well, first of all, I bought Pinata alcohol inks which look like the other major seller vs Tim Holtz. I'm not sure if maybe my other inks were old (do they get old?) or maybe a thinner consistency? I'm not sure. But these seem to work better. Second thing I did differently was to be very careful about not mixing bubbles into my resin - not that I was so careless before, but I was even more careful about it now. And I didn't drip in as much alcohol ink. I wonder if it all dropped to the bottom because I put too much? Anyway, this ended up being my most successful batch sadly, because onto Batch 3:

This time I bought a mold! And the picture above illustrates the backsides just after I finished dropping in the inks - so pretty. This has a tragic ending though, because the resin didn't cure completely on parts of them....

That mold is still waiting to get cleaned *le sigh*

And the finished products:

Interestingly enough, the extra depth I was able to pour allowed for more texture to develop and look awesome! but they were very tacky, and in the one case is still a drippy mess! If anyone has any ideas for how to salvage these bits I'd love to hear it. I can't bring myself to throw them out, but they're not really usable for anything either. Ugh look at this mess...

So time for one last batch - Batch #4!

I had a few more petri dishes left so as one last attempt I thought I'd fill them up and gamble one last time (for now). Here's what I got...

Again a bit more pooling at the bottom than I would have liked. I think it may have been another case of too much alcohol ink layering....who knows. I'm taking a break because as a wise woman once said, it's an expensive hobby to keep throwing the bad batches out.

In the end, I made this pretty thing that was really hard to send away.

Would love to hear your thoughts on where I went wrong! Or your experiences if you try it out  Cheesy What am I doing wrong???
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019 08:19:36 PM »

Those. are. incredible. Every one of them, even the gloopy one, are mesmerizing. It is interesting to see how the two brands of alcohol ink differed when added to the resin. Very cool!

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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019 08:48:09 PM »

I think they all look great...even the gloopy ones.
Nice job of keeping notes on what works and what doesn't  Grin

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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019 04:24:47 AM »

I agree with the other comments -- even the "mistakes" are really beautiful! And if you hadn't told us they were mistakes, I don't think we would have known! Super fun and clever project, sheepBlue!

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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2019 04:58:42 AM »

What a nifty idea!  I love it, and I'm not into science at all!

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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2019 05:34:19 AM »

Those are so freaking cool, omg. Amazeballs! Wow.

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2019 08:22:33 AM »

My Friend, these are fantastic.  Each one is it's own unique, interesting little world.  I'm blown away.  Rocks.

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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2019 12:08:45 PM »

I'm in love! Great experimenting. Thanks for sharing your process and photos.

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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2019 08:51:05 PM »

so gorgeous! I love these petris and I've tried some myself with varying success. You're turned out so great! It's fun trying new things like this!

I dunno if you follow her on instagram but I believe Josie Lewis was the one who started this technique. She does petris but also watercolor, fun stuff with paints, mosaic and all kinds of things, always very colorful and vibrant. Shes very interesting and I like her attitude. She has some fun youtube videos too about all kinds of art related topics. Definitely worth checking out if you haven't already!

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« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2019 06:25:15 AM »

These are awesome and I think my favorite ones are the first batch! I just love that side view!


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