Monday, 15 February 2010

She sleeps with the fishes

I am distraught. I popped into my local Chinese food store today to get some mushrooms. I love this store as it is full of wonderful things, but today I found a jar of pickled gourami. I have gourami in my house, they are lovely placid little creatures, they have long feelers and come to say hello when I tap the side of the fish tank. I know they're just fish, but they're my pet fish. I don't expect to see them pulped in a jam jar. That makes me sad.

Time for revenge. This is crystal resin.

If it was a person, it would be pointing and laughing every time I walk by and putting "kick me" notes on the back of my coat. But today I'm going to stand up to it. I've had it in my craft box for ages and everytime I use it I screw it up. I get bubbles in it and fluff in it and things sink or dissolve and it looks naff. It soaks through every mould I've tried to use with it, wreaked several tablecloths and declared a bloody war of adhesion on the pyrography iron it shares a box with. I had to put it into isolation and that made it more angry. I have these "okay, so you stay in the damn box" conversations with it everytime I see it.

Geeky aside: This stuff's only saving grace is that the safety data information on the side of the box made me laugh. I see a lot of materials safety data sheets at work - all chemicals carry a list of risk phrases (R-phrases) which are defined in the European Union Directive (Annex III) as "Nature of special risks attributed to dangerous substances and preparations". This one is great. I'm assuming it should be either an R50, R51 or R52 - which describes the potential risk to aquatic life but on the side of the box it has been translated directly as: "poison for the watery organisms" .

I had a look on-line and wealth of knowledge on the folksy forum pointed me in the direction of a store where I could buy moulds for resin (actually I was being drawn slowly into the shiny and expensive world of PMC, the moulds were just on the same site and saved me from caning my credit card with more stuff I don't need or have any idea how to use). This I hope will be the first battle won as I know from experience that the stuff eats kawaii moulds, plasticine and most other things I've tried. They turned up a few days ago.

Firstly the inserts. I made a tiny piranha.

It took ages, so I baked it and used it to make a little flexible mould in order to generate more tiny piranha faster rather than make another one freehand.

I made some pebbles, some pond weed...

...and a little person. All this together didn't take as long as the first rather angry looking tiny fish did.

Resin is mixed two parts resin to one part hardener. It burns. It all burns.

They provide gloves in the box that are only suitable should an eight-foot yeti be wanting to make window hangers. Noone has hands that large.

Fight with gloves, glue gloves to resin, throw away gloves, mop up resin, treat burns... Pour into a mould greased with vaseline (although I couldn't find any, so I used cake release instead - I'll admit it).

Poke fish, pebbles, person and pond weed into resin. Add more resin. Mop up excess resin. Resist the urge to poke it.

It's supposed to cure within 12 hours. I'm assuming this measurement was done in on a beach in Hawaii in the height of a tropical summer, not in the UK in Feburary. We've had hail and it's freezing outside. There isn't a cat's chance in hell that thing's going to set in 12 hours.

After 24 hours it was hard enough (just) to pop out of the mould. It actually came out for the first time without me having to prise it out with something or hack the mould away with a craft knife. I can trim the edges cleanly with a craft knife - obviously the Archimedes principle escaped me when I pressed the clay in, but it's easily corrected with a bit of scraping.

Glue a magnet on the back and thats it. A couple of bubbles, but they add to the scene so I don't mind this time.

Swim my pretties...swim... Mwahhhaaaahh...


SpoiltPig said...

Very cute!

I use resin myself for jewellery so I totally understand how annoying and tempermental it is! Those moulds really are the best though :) The shapes are limiting so I use others mostly but the difference on the surfaces is amazing..with my other moulds I have to sand and polish the entire piece but using those ones it's just the exposed side I ever have to do.

Clare'sCreations said...

Great post, love the end result, hehe, Clare x

Turtle said...

Oh that's so cute. Love it! I've always wanted to try resin but I know that I'll just make a big mess!

The syders said...

Fab Blog! I look forward to stopping by again soon!

Cinnamon Jewellery said...

Hi, I've given you a Sunshine blog award!
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Tracy x

M.M.E. said...

Congratulations! I've never used the stuff myself but I've heard it can be tricky.

spanglydotterypotter said...

wow - what a brilliant result. I love the step-by-step talk through.

averilpam said...

popped over from Folksy, and I love your blog. You write so well, it's really entertaining (apart from being instructive)
pam x