Saturday, August 18, 2012
From the same artist who made that intricate carasoul horse from watch parts...STEAM BUNNY!
And here's another of Susan's new pieces, "The Beast of the Machine":
Absolutely astounding. I can't even begin to imagine how she does this! (And am I the only one who first thought, "Aslan!"?) Check out All Natural Arts' FB page for more of Susan's work. And thanks for the link, Sandra M.!
Of course, if you wanted to try something a little simpler, you could buy some random watch parts on ebay and make a turtle pendant, like Jacie A.'s husband:
Speaking of husbands, John has *demanded* I post this:
Well, more accurately, it's "Professor Pignassus & his Cinsational Flying Machine." See?
Julie S. spotted this guy in Cincinnati as part of a city-wide art project - which I guess explains the "Cinsational" spelling. He has a propeller on his nose, giant leather wings, and a rump porthole full of gears and doo-dads:
This week BuzzFeed listed 10 Steampunk Celebrations held around the world, including a cruise, some conventions, the Edwardian Ball, and more:
I don't think I'll ever get tired of steampunk jewelry, but it is getting harder to find truly unique styles. Fortunately Maple directed me over to Aeroglow on Etsy, where this cameo necklace caught my eye:
And for my fellow steampunk decor enthusiasts, check out this fab industrial side table with a working side crank:
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I've wanted to make resin jewelry for years, and this past week I finally got down to trying.
After my first two batches of experiments, I can now proudly say I've had one or two successes, three flat-out failures, and a few not-too-horrible learning experiences.
Let's start with my one true success, so my ego can bear the rest.
I started with broken bits of jewelry:
I super-glued these bits together quite precariously:
Dropped them in the mold with some mixed resin:
Waited 24 hours, flexed the tray, popped out the pendant, and squealed and jumped around like a little girl:
Resin is a dream to drill through - like buttah! - so I didn't really *need* to use my new Dremel drill press, but I've been waiting for just this excuse to give it a test spin:
Once the pin hole was drilled, I attached a silver bail, strung it on a spare chain, and rushed out into the 95 degree heat to take some photos in the sunlight:
Now to balance things out, let's take a look at my three failures, and what went wrong with each:
All three were ruined on two counts, the first of which being that I must have mixed my resin with just slightly off proportions, because all three never hardened completely. They're rubbery, and you can bend them almost in half with your fingers. The annoying thing was this was my second batch of resin, and the first cured perfectly. I did everything exactly the same, so I'm not sure how I got my proportions off - but then, I was mixing such small amounts it'd only take a tiny discrepancy either way to get it wrong.
Even if the resin had cured correctly, though, each has additional fatal flaws. Here's what I learned:
Considering how much I adore crystals and was looking forward to dumping them in every resin piece I make, this was a major bummer for me.
LESSON LEARNED: Loose crystals and resin do not mix. (Dang it.)
Btw, I think the crystals in my first pendant still sparkle because their backs and sides are in a metal setting, with only the fronts of the crystals exposed to the resin. But that's just a theory.
In a similar fashion, the plastic green crystal button also looks melted in the resin - but again, it's not; just obscured. You can still kind of see the large facets. The button also kept bobbing up and poking through the back of the resin, forcing me to push down one side or another every hour for several hours, but even after it started to harden it STILL managed to cure at a wonky angle. Grrr.
LESSON LEARNED: Light stuff floats in resin. A LOT.
My largest pendant was the closest to being a success, in that at least all the elements inside look great together in the resin:
The problem is that all the elements shifted and floated and bobbed around, and since I couldn't see past the bird charm from above, I had no idea my large gear had floated directly in front of its face. Boops.
The bird charm is actually paper card stock, so it, too, wanted to bob to the surface and shift position constantly, forcing me to push it back down into the resin, causing all the other bits - my gears & wire coils - to shift as well. It also caused more bubbles each time I pushed it down, which was a pain.
You might recognize the bird charm from this Jolee's Boutique sticker set:
You can find them at Wal-Mart or your local craft store for just a few dollars, and the photo corners they're attached to pop off easily. The metallic finish is *gorgeous* in resin, so you can bet I'll be trying this one again.
LESSON LEARNED: To get a layered affect with several elements, do two separate pours: one for the front (in this case, my gears), and another for the back, once the front cures. So far as I know, this *should* work - and it's what I'll be trying next. Cross your fingers for me!
I have a few more resin experiments to share, but I want to get another batch under my belt before I show them to you.
In the meantime, I've really been enjoying the blog and tutorial videos over at Little Windows Photo Jewelry. There are tons of great ideas on the blog, and the videos are beautifully done.
As for materials, the resin I used is called EasyCast clear casting epoxy. I don't know yet if I can recommend it, since one out of my two batches never cured - though I realize that was probably my own fault somehow. It does dry crystal clear, though, and I didn't find bubbles to be much of a problem; breathing on the surface and some careful swipes with a toothpick seemed to take care of almost all of them. It's also super cheap on Amazon right now; less than $12 for 16 oz, which I paid $22 for at Hobby Lobby. (And yes, I feel like a dolt now.)(Oh, but shipping is an extra $7, so that makes me feel better.)
I've heard a lot about ICE Resin, but with a single ounce costing nearly $25, I'm just too cheap to try it.
Little Windows also sells her own, home-bottled epoxy, which is unusual in that it has a 2:1 ratio, unlike the others which are 1:1. Her 12 oz kit, which includes mixing cups & stir sticks, is $36. I may end up buying some of her molds, if nothing else, since she has some nice simple shapes in multiples, which allows you to make from 3 to 8 of the same shape at a time:
You can also use candy molds for resin, so check your local bakery goods supply for options. (Just make sure you never use them for anything edible again!)
When I mentioned all these different epoxy options to John, he pointed out (with all due incredulity) that an entire *gallon* of bar-top epoxy (which dries crystal clear) is only about $65. I have to wonder what, if any, difference there is between that and these "jewelry-grade" epoxies. Anyone know? Or is this just some giant re-packaging scam?
I'd love suggestions and advice from you resin crafters, so if you know of other brands or resin resources, please, tell me in the comments! And if you've used any of the ones I've mentioned, I hope you'll share your reviews, too. This is one of those crafts that can get expensive fast, so I'm counting on you guys to steer me in the right direction!
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
With my own costume debut approaching fast, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at some of your cosplay triumphs. So here are a few Epbot readers (and some Epbot readers' kids) showing off their geeky awesomeness:
And here's Amy A's daughter, Audrey, who I'm told plans her costumes two years out. Last year she was Mary Poppins, and next year she'll be an evil Queen. Hooray for a fellow Dizgeek!
Berber W. was inspired by all my convention pictures to do her first cosplay ever last month at the London Film & Comic Con - and doesn't she make a lovely TARDIS?
And speaking of great pairs: CALVIN & HOBBES! AAAIEEE!!
I have to say, I love cute and girly geeky costumes so much more than "sexy" versions. Not that there's anything WRONG with sexy, of course, but when it comes to dressing like a Wookiee, I'll take Emiliy M.'s costume over a fur bikini any day:
Emiliy wore this to Pax East, which was also her first convention, and she reports she is now "totally obsessed" with cons. She had so much fun being in costume she even wore it both days! (And in case you're curious, her turtle's name is Edgar. [I asked.] He has his own website. That is all.)
Time for more kid cosplay with this squee-worthy little girl Robin:
Shawnette F. first sent me this pic of her daughter back when I posted Katie's story about being teased for liking Star Wars. Little "Robin" here was only two at the time, and obviously didn't care that the original Robin was a boy; she just wanted to be a superhero alongside her brother Batman. Shawnette tells me a lot of people were confused or mistook her for a boy, but that didn't phase this little geek girl in the least. Here's to that awesome attitude never changing!
Sheri H.'s 12-year-old daughter Caitlin loves The Princess Bride, but when it came time to choose a costume, she opted not for Buttercup, but rather The Dread Pirate Roberts:
[IDEA: Steampunk DPR, complete with bandolier of Iocane powder vials. Eh? You're welcome, someone awesome who will make this happen.]
And finally, Jessica V. sent me one of the most inspiring cosplay photos of all. She was going through chemo for breast cancer last year, and so decided to ditch the wigs she was wearing every day and take advantage of her smooth noggin for Halloween. So with about $50 worth of craft foam, hot glue, paint, and some battery-operated Christmas lights, Jessica became...
(Jessica is a pro photographer in Pasadena, btw. You can check out her site (and see her un-Borg-afied) here.)
Can I tell you how amazed I am by you readers and your costumes? SO AMAZED. So if you've got one to share, please, e-mail me!
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