I’m a crafter. I like making things. My main focus for the last year has been metalwork, but I also enjoy sewing, clipping, constructing, and tinkering. I used to complain that I didn’t have enough time for projects. Well, now I’ve got plenty of time and plenty of room for activities, so I’ve decided to turn off the TV, turn on the record player, and make some stuff.
First project: A vanity tray for all of my nail polishes, lotions, etc.* I realized I could go to Target and spent $150 when I meant to spend $15, or I could make use of some plaster tape and tissue paper I’ve had around for ages. I decided to use a cheap wood tray from Ikea as a base for my project. I wasn’t sure if the plaster tape would ruin the underlying tray, but I figured worst-case scenario I’d have to trek to Ikea… and spend $300 when I meant to spend $15.
The tray and the tape. This stuff is messy, so I laid down some plastic. Also, forgive my crappy phone pictures. My cat may have eaten the charger for my Nikon.
Anyway, plaster tape is pretty awesome and easy to deal with. It’s basically gauze covered in dry plaster. All you have to do it wet it down and stick it. Before I started, I coated the wooden tray with some olive oil to make removing the plaster easier. I cut strips just longer than the tray itself, dipped them in water, and spread them onto the tray. Easy peasy.
Once the plaster felt fairly dry to the touch, I cut the rough edges and pulled it from the wooden tray. No damage to the wood! Again, this was a gamble, so I wouldn’t use an heirloom for a base. I let the plaster dry over night before starting on the finish.
My next step was decoupaging tissue paper to the outside of the tray. I learned this technique from my lovely sister. She once made a praying mantis sculpture out of plaster tape and tissue paper, and that thing looked like candy. Anyway, I used a water-based sealer to decoupage the tissue paper onto the plaster in strips and squares.
There are no rules here, and the overlapping paper gives a nice effect. All you do is brush on some sealer, lay down a strip of paper, and then brush over with more sealer, making sure the paper sticks to the plaster. I’ll do a few coats of this on the back, then spray with a shiny laquer. I’m not sure how I want to finish the inside of the tray yet, but I’ll deal with that when everything’s set and dry.
I’ll post pics when I’m all done, but this leads me to the real reason for this post;
It’s hot in here. I just got back from a weekend in Wisconsin, and Chicago is sweltering. Somehow blistering heat is more manageable when you’re floating on an inflatable party island with a cool bev in hand. My AC unit tries valiantly to cool down all 600 square feet of my apartment, but comes up a little short. The last thing I want to do is heat up an oven, strap on a giant respirator mask, and powder coat necklaces. So for right now, I’ve been cutting out states and keeping them in a box. The good news is that once the heat breaks (mid-September, I imagine) I’ll have a boatload of Great Lakes state necklaces for sale. I’ve promised myself to shop them around to stores, as well.
In other news, last week I assisted with a kids camp at Lillstreet. We spent the week teaching 10-14 year-old kids how to metalsmith. I expected terror, mayhem, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria! What I got was a group of pretty great kids and real satisfaction from teaching them to work with metal. I don’t know. Maybe 2012 finds me back in school for a Master’s in metals and a teaching certificate? After the year I’ve had, I guess anything is possible.