Friday, April 13, 2007

Decanter Go On Like This

This snapshot off the web of ancient Roman glass bottles is what I'd most like to replicate.
I found that the clear paper glue (in blue squeeze bottle) never built up any thickness. Clunk.

I found that the clear window paint (in white squeeze tube) never really dried through in any thickness and would take way too long to build up a bottle. (A blue bead with the black nail for a handle had several dips in it but hardly looks any different than the raw blue bead next to it.) Clackerty.

I found that gooey chewy Liquid Sculpey was really hard to shape (mix it with?) and would mostly slop around uncooperatively, like the ones stuck on toothpicks above. However, I popped one of these into the oven with the polymer clay wrapped tests and think it came out the best of the batch, seen centered in the bottle cluster shown on right. Twinkle tinkle?

The other bottles around it were made by wrapping a thin slice of polymer clay (the white block on right is "transparent" Kato Polyclay by Van Aken) around various small beads and baking in a toaster oven at 300ยบ for 20 minutes instead of the recommended 10 (not a good idea, I have a headache), which is why some of it scorched. I very much like the primitive quality this group has. It matches Halfland very well and I may use these in the Writing Mouse chalet, in the background.

I thought I was being clever when I said, "Hey, hey! why not try HOT GLUE!!!" It's clearish, non-tox, it would build up right away being thick enough not to run off the bead and wire bases. It looked good at the start. I got cheeky and even inserted clear plastic straws in the bead tops as a substrate for the bottlenecks. They looked nice and clear, clouding up only a bit when cooled. Parts of them look meh ok, but mostly just clunky. Clankerty--Smash--tinkle.
So, after these first tests, my winner is... Liquid Sculpey and Polymer Clay with twig stoppers.
Thank you for playing along at home. I hope to leave bottle world alone and get back to some more major plastering this weekend.


  1. Those Bottles are too beautiful for the Background, they really are. Has Hila got a new Rival!?!

  2. Aw, Ben, Thank you for the compliment, but dear God no! Hila is like, I can't even think of a suitable comparison--like a superhuman world maker.

    I'm glad you said that tho because it gives me a chance to say something. I like what I'm doing/making for this project because it's my own personal expression. I can't do it "wrongly" because it can be anything I want.

    I am unable temperment/ability wise to put the amount of detail and hard work that Ubertalent Hila can into what she does. But--I'm not feeling bad about it because I'm working to the level I can do and enjoy.

    Sometimes I feel lacking for posting what I'm doing as I learn and try unknown things because I see that so many others can do things far better by comparison. Results are relative. But mostly I'm so excited to make progress and share it and talk about it with people who enjoy it so much they even like to see the steps along the way.

    I learn from everyone's blog progress. When Shel wrote about what she was learning about frame rate, that helped me understand. When Sven writes about casting it lets me know what that's like as if I were right next to him.

    Every single one helps.

  3. Thanks for the post, great to see the results, good and bad.

    I think you came up with some wonderful results.
    After all your experiments, the idea came to me how about good old candle wax? Kind of clearish if it’s thin. Won't have the gloss level of glass, but should be easy to work with.

    The Liquid Sclupey bottles seem perfect for halfland. The twig stoppers too!

  4. thanks for sharing this process, shelley! i love these bottles. the twig stoppers are tops!

  5. Candle wax, eh? Good idee, Mark, thanks! I may snoop around for a clearer wax and try a test. I could always hit it with a gloss varnish after.

    Thanks, Gretchums!

  6. Hi, Shelley,

    Your blog is really fascinating (I hadn't connected you with the "Paper Forest" Shelley Noble until yesterday - doh! I'm a HUGE automata fan, but I digress). Your writing is really articulate and insightful without being super ego-inflated.

    These bottles are beautiful, and I appreciate your willingness to experiment with new methods and materials. I often do the same, but usually end up coming up with overly complex and often ineffectual replacements for something which would have been much better served through another process!

    Your hot-glue and Sculpey bottle techniques have gotten my mind turning - I appreciate you sharing this with everyone. Your blog is one of the few that I find actually worth visiting on a fairly regular basis - thank you.

  7. Travis, thank you so much for your kind comments! That really made my day!

    I'm like you, always making things more complex than need be. What is that!?!

    I hope you found my later posts about CASTING hot glue!!! So cool! You'll love doing it!

    Pls. write me at nobledesign[at]sbcglobal[dot]net if you can.


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