I have lots of eye candy for you today as I'll be taking the next few days off to go to a semi-annual creative retreat with my "Scrapbookin' Sister-hood". With the new grandbaby - I'll give you three guesses as to what I'll be doing this weekend!
Recently, we've covered the basics of working with Friendly Plastic - how to heat it, how to stamp it, how to make beads with it and so on. Today, though I wanted to take glossy finishes to a new level and combine it with an artist feature.
Mylene Hillam is an Australian artist who specializes in all facets of jewelry making. I know her most for her exceptional work casting in resin and using Friendly Plastic. What I would really like for you to take away from her style is that there are so many ways to combine Friendly Plastic with other media. Mylene is an excellent example of mixing it up and not being afraid to experiment with other products that work well.
Let's talk a little bit about and refresh your memory on using Glossy finishes. I highlighted a quick way in the video here. Additionally you can use a 2-part resin (I use Envirotex Light) with the exact same technique and achieve an even glassier finish. It's all fairly easy as you can see in the video when working with flat surfaces, but what if your surface isn't so flat? What if it's round? What if it's a bead? Oh my, there's a little challenge and basis for sharing one of Mylene's blog posts here for you.
Today I learned that not all creativity ends up being in the form of artwork or in a piece of jewellery. Sometimes creativity comes in the form of solutions.
Take last night. I had mixed a batch of resin but had some left over and as I hate wasting anything I decided to use the last of my resin by painting it onto some Friendly Plastic beads I had sitting around. Resin is great for protecting the foil of Friendly Plastic and it also makes the beads much more durable for use in jewellery.
I usually make my Friendly Plastic beads on bamboo skewers so it makes sense to thread them back on to a skewer whilst coating them with resin. The skewers can be pushed into a block of foam to keep them upright whilst they cure.
But, as she admits, while everything looked okay, when she checked them the next morning she was in for a little surprise!
All was going well, but when I checked on them this morning, I discovered the resin had run down the skewers and the beads were stuck hard!
Now, it's not for lack of experience that I know this will happen if I don't pay attention to them until the resin gets to gel stage.... but last night, I completely forgot. So now I have a little challenge on my hands - how to get the beads off the skewers!
If you've ever worked with resin before, you'll know it is a very strong glue so no amount of twisting and pulling is going to separate the bead from the bamboo. This calls for a little bit of creative thinking. I can't use heat to soften the resin because the bead is plastic and it will melt onto the skewer compounding the problem.
But being quite handy with a Stanley knife. I try my hand at scraping away the resin where it's attached to the skewer.
I think this is going to work. So I scraped all the way around the bead and then grabbed my pliers to hold the skewer whilst twisting the bead firmly to remove it. But before that happened, the skewer went "snap!".
OK, another challenge!
There's not enough of a stump left to grab hold of so there's really only one solution..... drill the hole out. My trusty Dremel did the trick and in no time the hole in my bead is ready for stringing.
So today's lesson is this: if you're applying resin to vertical or curved surfaces, pay attention to the drips and you'll make a whole lot less work for yourself!
I think it's very important to create "flops" really, that way you know what works and what doesn't work. I've personally experienced this same "flop"! So, may I offer an additional tip of dipping your skewer into a very generous lumpy amount of petroleum jelly. This coats the inside of the bead when skewered and also leaves a generous amount on the outside that the resin will not want to stick to, allowing you to twist the skewer more easily to remove. This too takes some practice. But practice makes perfect right?
I can tell you from experience that perfecting this technique will result in gorgeous lamp work like - glass like beads. They are beautiful and the hard resin will prevent them from distorting in the future.
Here are some of my favorite Friendly Plastic posts from Mylene's blog. As always, I encourage you to give her some linky love and let her know you stopped by with a comment on this post and/or a comment on her blog. Life is better when we are all cheerleaders for each other!
Mylene's Blog: http://milllanestudio.blogspot.com - her most recent post is a great beginner technique on working with jump rings - a staple in jewelry making - Enjoy! and I'll see you soon!
Linda Peterson is compensated and endorsed by AMACO. The guests features may or may not have any affiliation with AMACO.