Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Little Holiday Votives

I like candles. Of course, it's always best when the flame can be encased in something to keep it safe and away from flammable objects. That's one of the reasons glass votives were developed.
Although watching the flame can be mesmerizing,  it's also fun to watch the glow filtered through designs or colors.  So I decided to make some small glass votives covered with translucent polymer designs.  Once you have decided on your colors ( for the votive shown here, I used translucent and white) , you need to make a small cane.  Square canes work well for matching up edges of cane slices.  However, round or irregular shapes also work, as can be seen in the example shown in this post.  Very thin slices are placed edge to edge and pressed together to create a solid covering of the glass.  I wanted a matte finish on the outside so I used some organza fabric as I smoothed the cane slices. This kept the surface slightly textured and ensured there were no fingerprints showing.  After being baked at the polymer recommended temperature, the votive is ready to use.  If a shiny surface is desired, the polymer will need to be sanded and buffed before using.

These last two photos show the votives with small electric tealights inside.  This is another option for creating light inside a votive holder, and is, of course, fireproof.  The lighter photo was taken with a light on in the room.

The final, darkest photo shows the glow from within the votive in a darkened room.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Polymer-Covered Gift Pens

Around the holidays, it's nice to have a few things at the galleries that incorporate polymer into something that would make a good gift.  This year, I decided to make some polymer covered metal twist pens.  These pens take actual ball point ink cartridges, so they can be refilled once the ink has run out and used again. I used twist pen "kits" from Boston Craftworks and from Penn State Industries.  I was pleased with the quality of the materials from both companies, and they both shipped the ordered items fairly quickly.
To cover the metal sections of the pens, I experimented with a couple of different polymer designs. There is a seam where the sheet of polymer wraps around the metal, and hiding that seam is the trickiest aspect.  I found that three options worked particularly well.  A sheet from a mokume gane stack was perfect, since you can take ultra-thin slices from the stack and place them along the seam. The seam is hidden and it just appears that the random design from the mokume gane goes all the way around. Another option is to make a striped stack. Variagated stripes, such as an Ikat stack or stripes that are random (not a specific color pattern that could show where the seam is) worked really well, and looked elegant.  Finally, a square cane that you have made will work very well - just reduce the cane to be sure it fits around the pen without needing major alteration, and it looks like the design just keeps going - around and around.  The photo shows pens covered in mokume gane (#2, 5, 7) pens covered in Ikat and stripes (#3 & 4). and one pen covered in a square cane (#6).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

New!! Pictures in Polymer

I've been thinking about trying to make pictures out of polymer, and then this idea came to me.   Of course!  I had to make pictures with flowers.  What fun!

I set my flower designs on polymer sheet backings, which I treated with textures and different color schemes.  Then the pictures were placed inside small frames.  The backs of the frames I used have stands.   In that way, these little pictures, which are about 4"x 6", will sit nicely on a counter, table or window sill.

Before I assembled my first pieces, I experimented with different methods of baking. Some of the frames were solid wood, and could handle the temps in the oven, while others had coatings or coverings on plastic bases, and these did not do well in the oven. So, in some cases I was able to bake the whole "picture" as one piece, and in other cases, I had to bake the components separately, then assemble the picture using an epoxy glue.

Scattered about on this page are my first set of "Pictures in Polymer":