Sunday, September 3, 2017

Fusion Melted Plastic Chandelier P1

So for the third Chandelier in my room I have a conundrum. My other fixtures are so dark. The plastic, thought translucent, really mutes the light. And this third light is the main source of light in my room for getting dressed and seeing the room; I've gotten used to the absurd brightness of 3 bare bulbs. So it just cannot be so dark. Let's take a step back before we face that dilemma:

I was walking through Ikea's warehouse very shortly after Christmas of 2015 when I saw ornaments were marked down to almost nothing. I saw some ornaments that looks like crystal chandelier pieces that had been painted. I immediately wanted them. But I'd need so many for my project! Luckily they were marked from $7 for a pack of 8 kinds to 99 cents! So naturally I bought 32 packs of them in gold. I then took them all out of their plastic packaging, organized them by shape and shoved them into grocery bags for storage...18 months of storage.

Shopping list ($74):
32 packs of 8 Vintermys Gold ornaments in 7 shapes (see above)
3 large purple swirl bowls 9 small purple swirl bowls
6 tall purple flared bowls
9 small purple flared bowls
6 large purple flared bowls
Of course: a heat gun. Maybe a glue gun, too.

So going back to our light intensity conundrum. My other lamps are plastic almost all the way around the bulb. I decided maybe this time I could let more light through by making the chandelier only be melted plastic on certain sides, the lovely gold pieces hanging on the other sides, distracting from the bulbs within without blocking so much light. I also considered buying clear plastic and interspersing it with the purple - but I like the more saturated effect for my room's Arabian Nights theme.

So for months and months I've delayed the project because I wasn't sure how to design it. This is a big step up for me - utilizing the melted plastic AND the ornaments together - it's not something that's easy to find and duplicate from the internet. Chihuly seems never to have had a crystal phase. Gah!

I decided my design would be a circle (oval) or large open purple pieces at the top along the ceiling. A point of small bud-like pieces at the bottom would be connected to the top by multiple levels of hanging gold pieces on circles, cascading down from the top to the point.

First I started just melting as some of this plastic I've never melted before - I wanted to see how it'd behave under the heat.
Once I had melted down all the large pieces I made a lump (with old jeans) in my drop cloth to mold the top oval part around.

The overlap was difficult - these new blue purple pieces did NOT want to stick to each other or the other redder purple plastic. Ugh - it look forever and a lot of finger burns to make these pieces stick together.

I left it like that - still not sure how I wanted it to look. My Artist's block was stubborn and when I run at that wall, it has maybe shaken but never crumbled. So I left it for 2 months all over my bedroom floor to basically shame myself into finishing the art.

Then one night It was dim in my room and I missed my depth perception. And I kicked the piece. It cracked - leaving jagged edges. I felt something break inside of me. Dammit. It can't be fixed. and then the next day I hit it with my foot again - more damage. Eventually it all broke down and I felt like - ugh! I just need to put it all together and make an organic piece of my soul. Whatever comes out I'll cover it in the gold stuff and get it done. Somehow I'll make it work. I'll let it stream from my somewhere and allow it to be. Worst thing that happens? I throw it out and stay in my current situation. Or I just use the gold pieces. Whatever. It will work. Here goes nothing...

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Stud Holder

I swear I'll get to the stud holder. But first, some gloating: I have this beautiful set of ombre shelves that I made (I measured, cut and painted the wood and installed the brackets for them). They go wall-to-wall over a recessed window and provide all the shelf storage in my room.

Including a pristine hook display that I implemented (bought a box of hooks from ikea, drilled a ton of tiny holes and screwed the hooks into those holes) to display all my necklaces, bracelets, rings, and hanging earrings.
All those studs can't easily be hung from hooks. The super large ones you can kinda squeeze so they sandwich the hook..but they sometimes fall down.
So I set out on a journey to get my studs up on a display. I googled and pinterested until my fingers wearied and my eyes fell out. Then I utilized a piece of stryofoam that I got from a shipment of nuvarings.

And for the past 2 years that piece of styrofoam has been laying on its back on the bottom shelf. But this week I got poster tack to get all those "must do this" papers off my entry table and onto the wall where I can see them (in hindsight a magnetic board probably would have worked, but now I can use the tack anywhere in the room! glory!...or so I thought).

So I embarked on a heroic saga to mount my studs to the wall. I looked at my nuvaring foam holder and while it had served me well I really couldn't cut the back of it at an angle and if the studs are in a vertical piece of styrofoam they just heed gravity. Not good. So as I was thinking I decided to take out my trash and in the refuse room (in NYC apartments there is a teeny room on each floor with recycling and a trash shoot) I found exactly what I needed! Angled pieces of styrofoam! One person's trash really is another's treasure. So I mocked it up into a shape that would sit flush to the wall but let the studs sit at an angle antagonizing gravity with a lip below just in case.
Glueing this together without epoxy was kinda glue just melts the I had to let the glue drip from above - that way it cooled a little before it hit the styrofoam. then I flipped the joint upside down so the glue would stick to both slabs of foam instead of settling into the first piece. Yeah, not optimal.
Then I got to mounting. Remember that poster tack? Well it hates styrofoam. I originally combated this by gluing strips of paper to the back of my foam. I then put it on the wall for a day with no eventually fell. Turns out poster tack is really just for paper.

So I decided I should just suck it up and screw it to the wall...what's two more holes when there are 15+ in that wall already? I think it looks quite nice with the earrings:
and next to my other jewelry but to be fair it is kinda too large for my existing studs..maybe I'll move more stuff onto it? Maybe I'll paint it? We'll see!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sticky socks: Not everything should be DIYed

So I was doing Pure Barre 6x a week for 3 months. And the only real required gear for barre is a pair of "sticky socks" also known as yoga socks or hospital socks, etc. They are socks with grip stuff on the bottom so your feet are covered but not slippery. And - this should bring you no shock given how expensive barre is, $350 a month - they are about $15 a pair; more if you want a snazzy pair with top of foot cutouts (maryjane style) or other exciting patterns. I had one pair of toe yoga socks from Santa years back...but I couldn't wear the same socks 6x a week for 3 months. ick. And I'm averse to paying crazy prices so I decided: hell, I can make these! I thought about three ways to execute:

1) Caulk. Why not? it's stayed permanently embedded in my jeans from my years of home improvement. Unfortunately I then promptly and stubbornly messed up my caulk gun so it's now stuck with a hardened tube of caulk inside it. Oops. Next plan.

2) Hot glue. Duh - it's sticky/ grippy. So I broke out my early model glue gun
and two pairs of ooooold socks - look they have not one but TWO holes. and the stains. Ugh, girrrrl get rid of your ancient socks. Anyway - they came in handy for this. I stuck some flip flops inside the socks to hold them in position.
and then squirted glue on the bottoms in whatever pattern seemed good. I used the flat edge tip to smear the glue on the first sock. But that was so hard! and it seemed like it wasn't the most sticky?
So I just left the latter three more three dimensional.
They weren't awful in class, but then they went through the wash and the three dimensional stuff just basically fell off. And the stuck down one just became sloughy and gross.

3) Puffy Fabric Paint. So I then went for what the interwebs said! I bought some fabric paint and then set to work on some not-as-old-socks. Fabric paint is not as easy to use as they make it out to be! But I did what I could as a first draft. Look at that color coordination. Damn, I'm good.
The lines and dots I made didn't quite line up where I wanted them. Figuring out the exact position of your foot in a sock that's not on your feet is super hard. The puff paint takes hours and hours to dry so using your own feet as models is a bad idea. But maybe I should have put the socks on my foot, marked them and then put them on the flip flops and used the markers? Oh well. I knew from the first class they were taking damage. The green ones started almost flaking off and I would see small chunks of green puff paint in the carpet at the barre studio. The pink ones were applied thinner and so they just got less sticky. Also the non-uniform thickness of the applied paint kinda hurt my feet, especially my heels) in class. Like having a rock in your shoe.
I did also win a free pair of sticky socks from Pure Barre. So all of my socks have been worn about the same number of classes. And the Pure Barre socks have held up so much better. Even my from-Santa Namaste yoga toe socks didn't hold up super well to the 90 second planks. The ball of my foot on my DIY and my yoga socks are worn to almost nothing.

The moral of this story is that you should just buck up and buy sticky socks. DIY was not effective. Wait for a deal and buy a couple pair of good quality sticky socks!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Molded Plastic Lighting

I was going to hold this post until I was done with the final lighting installment but at this time I'm having artist's block. So - I'm going to write this for now and try again soon. Basically, I was inspired by Chihuly and my past project melting plastic to make some translucent light fixtures out of melted plastic.

So one thing adults do in the privacy of their rooms makes you want to not have too much harsh lighting. And pink light makes the skin look best. So I set out to make a full bed canopy with a light in the center. You know, to set the mood. I spent a few days on a ladder draping fabric and came out with this view from laying inside my bed (disclaimer: I was really into snapchat at the time):

Buying list ($19) for this chandelier was as follows: 

First I made the large bowl into a center base. If you need to know how to use a heat gun please see my previous post. So I heated the edges down to flatten and create textural interest. Then I heated the center so much it became a large hole. That's where the light bulb hangs. I then heated the small red bowls much the same way - flattened and textured - but I accidentally gave them holes in the center, too. So I used the bottoms of the glasses to fill them in. Honestly I think it looks stupid - like a demented wheel. But luckily for me that part (the top) is less visible because of the drapery.
Then I melted down the cups - I would heat them, so they became a little wonky - remember: "textural interest" and then I'd stick them to the bottom of the big bowl in an overall conical shape. I kind of sat the chandelier top upside down and then pushed a bunch of wonky cups together so they formed a nice gradual point - then I heated them so they stuck together. Making sure they stuck together was a terrible time - many scorched fingers as the cup plastic isn't as "sticky" as the bowl plastic. Finally I made sure any large holes (mainly where the 'wheels' hit the base big bowl) were covered with the cup bottoms. And it was done!


Once I had finished, I hung it - this took forever and so much balance on top of a stool on my bed. At one point I fell down and the lamp fell and broke into two pieces so I had to stop and fix it. Crying may have ensued. Why do I make my life difficult? The pictures below are me holding the completed chandelier (that's my hand inside it showing where the bulb sits), and views from laying in the center of the bed staring straight up with the chandelier off and the bedroom light on, then with chandelier on and bedroom light off. 

I think it's pretty boss. And so does really everybody else. Every person who has gotten lucky (pun intended) enough to see it has been like "HOLY FREAKING WHAT. THIS IS CRAZY AWESOME." And the red light from it makes it seem like I'm blushing under compliment - when really I'm drinking that ego stroke in like "oh yeah, tell me I'm great again." Even my Mom, who I had talked to about it repeatedly, and also gives a lot of (deserved) side eye to my crazy projects, asked me why I was doing a real people job instead of putting my art in the MoMA when she saw it waiting to be hung up. Yeah, I was pretty smug about that. 
But as a disclaimer, heat guns are VERY hot. I sustained a large burn during this project that, 11 months later, is still visible. I also burned straight through my multiple layers of canvas drop cloth and burned my carpet. (strangely enough I was able to clean the burn out of the fibers....still not sure exactly how...seems wrong.) So don't try this at home without proper precautions - like a covering clothes and a substantial drop cloth/ floor you don't care about.

So the second lamp is blue (my bedroom is mildly "Arabian nights" themed - decadent drapery, jewel tones {Reds for the canopy, Blues for the desk/shelves, Purple closet/bedding} and Gold accents.) The light sits above where I should keep my desk - that's a long story I might tell in this blog in the future if I even find a good arrangement for my furniture. But the desk is dark blue, the shelves go from medium blue to very light aqua.

On a very snowy day I got everything out and prepared. The $22 buying list is:

So I started with some sketches this time around (snapchat actually helped here):

I, of course, melted down the big aqua bowl as a base with a hole burned into the center. Then gave the cups and bowls some melty texture (flipped the base on it's head) and started making them into a conical shape. 


Finally I finished it by breaking the dark blue bowls into thirds and attaching them to the top of the base. It's not my favorite choice. But it's hung up now and Done is better than favorite. The lamp really blunts the light that it puts out now. (This is the reason for my artist's block as the next lamp is the main light of my room and I need it to put out a generous functional amount of light.)

Here are videos of the lights going on an off so you can see! (They do have mute as you like)