Monday, December 24, 2012
Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! The last of my family left yesterday morning, so of course I immediately got to work finishing up my latest geeky craft project:
Mini wall portals!!
I first got this idea back in November, and originally planned to make them into hanging ornaments for the tree. It's a bit late for a Christmas craft, though, and I suppose it makes more sense to have them attached to a wall, anyway. (That said, you could easily add a loop to the back and turn them into ornaments for *next* Christmas.)
The illusion is fairly convincing from the side, and considering this set is only my first prototype, I'm pretty chuffed with how it turned out!
The mirrors are 4X3 oval craft mirrors I found on ebay. I bought them in bulk, but you might be able to find them sold individually at your local craft store.
The cubes were a lot trickier, since I had to cast and paint them myself. I cast them using ThinkGeek's excellent silicone companion cube ice tray (which is only $5 right now, so I'm kicking myself for spending nearly $20 on it with shipping) and some Amazing Casting Resin :
This casting resin sets up in about five minutes, and is, hands-down, the coolest craft thing I've ever played with in my entire life. When I popped out the first cube, I literally yelled in delight and danced around the kitchen, cackling like an evil mastermind. SO FUN!! You pour in a liquid, and five minutes later pop out a hard plastic object. It's MAGIC, you guys.
You can use any silicone ice tray or candy mold for resin, but keep in mind that once you do, you can never use it for food items again. Of course, with ice trays you could always cut the tray in half - just be sure to mark which half is which.
The finished cube. This resin has a surprising heft to it, so it isn't nearly as light as you might expect. I have two cubes sitting next to my keyboard right now, and I keep picking them up just to admire them. :D
Next John cut my cube in half with a power saw, and I painted the two halves with acrylic craft paint. It took three or four coats to cover, though, so I really should find some better quality paint for next time.
I used a glue strip to attach the cube halves to the mirrors, but super glue or E-6000 would work just as well or better.
The orange and blue outlines on the mirrors were achieved using a layer of colored glass paint topped with acrylics. I would have only used the glass paint, but you could barely see the blue, even after four coats. The orange showed fairly well, but even so adding the acrylic really deepened the colors. I also used some yellow and light blue to add a little dimension to the interior edges:
I purposely made the outlines rough, to try and echo the smokey nature of the portal edges:
Oh, and even with the glass paint underneath this finish can scratch off pretty easily, so be careful if you try it. There's probably a clear top coat you could apply to protect it, but I haven't researched that yet.
For now my mini portals are on the wall beside my monitor. I attached them using Blue Stik, a reusable putty, so I can move them if I find a better spot later on.
Like I said, over all I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out, but I'm still not satisfied with my portal edges. I'm going to experiment a bit more with the glass paints to try and get more translucence, but if any of you have suggestions for other techniques or products I should try, please let me know in the comments! If I can make the portals just a bit better, then I'd like to make several more sets - perhaps even do a give-away here on the blog? Eh? [eyebrow waggle]
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