Green Bathroom Redo

The thought of doing a major renovation gives me the shakes.  Maybe that’s why I still have wall to wall carpet 20 years after moving into my house.  Until I can gird my loins and steel myself  in preparation for moving furniture, ripping up things and upsetting the cat,  I will have to content myself with room by room redecorating.

I don’t have any before pictures of my bathroom, but let me give you an idea:  the tub, toilet and sink were an  indescribable yellow somewhere between mustard and school bus.  We had an ugly plastic medicine cabinet with make up lights and three mirrored doors that were corroded.  There was no storage space for cleaning supplies or anything else.  The bathroom was cluttered.  In a moment of weakness, I had painted the walls yellow with blue and green accent.  It looked OK 20 years ago, but was starting to grate on me.

I wanted something relaxing, where I could get rid of clutter yet find things when I needed them.  We had to replace the toilet two years ago, and I wanted the sink and tub to match.  The tile was in good shape and  I didn’t  want to spend a lot of money.  We had the tub reglazed, and replaced the sink.  The mirror cost five dollars at a sidewalk sale.  The cherry medicine chest came from ebay. The two decker wire basket was another cheap house sale find.  The rug was free-I found it in a free bin at a local thrift store.  It was filthy, so I soaked it in dish washing powder and warm water for a couple of days. Now it looks like new.

I altered the toilet paper holder and spray painted the waste can and towel rack to match the brushed nickel fixtures we got at Home Depot.  Throw in two  storage cabinets and baskets from Ikea, and the cost for everything including the plumber and electrician (but not the toilet) was just under one thousand dollars.

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And while we’re on the subject of re purposing and reusing,  here’s a picture of bookshelves I made  by inserting an old ladder I found into a small niche in our upstairs hall way.   I nailed boards onto the ladder steps and  the scalloped ornamentation on the front is made from Dollar Store place mats I painted to match.

Collage Jewelry

First I cut the clear glass and a piece of stained glass (from scraps) for the back.  The tiny collages  come from my scrap paper collection- magazines, menus, calligraphy,  newspapers, metal leaf, washi paper. (I like to troll the streets on recycling day).  I also used some Dover images of Japanese woodcuts.  (If you are ever in Tokyo, do not miss the Tokyo National Museum where you can almost get your fill of them.) I also used bits of wire, stones and tumbled stained glass that I drilled holes through,  and pieces of twigs colored with Prisma markers and coated with epoxy resin.   The frames are wrapped with copper foil tape and soldered with lead free solder.



Here’s some more from an earlier post.


How did You use Milk Crates in College?

Ok, so maybe Joe Girandola is not in college anymore.  In fact, he’s  a sculptor and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.  Sometimes I walk up Broad Street on my way to work past the University’s buildings.  Imagine my delight winter day when instead of snow and gray skies, I saw these.

Here’s a short film showing some more of Girandola’s work.  It’s pretty obvious he has a sense of humor.

I’m a Craftster Best of 2009 Winner!

Craftster Best of 2009 Winner

Here’s a picture of the winning project

Craftster  is a wonderful online  crafting community where members post thousands of tutorials and DIY projects every year on every craft you could imagine.   It’s one of the first places I go when I want to learn something about a craft.  It’s an honor and a surprize to have been named a 2009 winner.

See all the  Best of 2009 winners here and the Spoon Bracelet project here.   Here is some more information and comments.

And now I’m off to Clayathon!  Here are pictures from Clayathon 2008 and Clayathon 2009.

Jewels from the Sidewalk

I walk to and from work every day and I constantly scan the sidewalk for treasures I can use to make something. Trash day is the best day of the week!!!

Awhile ago, I wrote about making lampworked beads from glass I found on the sidewalk. Now I have added brown beer bottles to my cobalt blue wine and aqua Bombay Gin bottles. And a co worker contributed too! She had a beautiful yellow glass vessel sink in her powder room and when it cracked and she had to have it replaced, she gave me the broken glass.

The pictures below show each kind of glass, plain, fumed and fumed with stringers on top.

Since I don’t know the COE of the glass, I don’t mix the colors. I cut the glass as best I can and hold it in the flame with a long hemostat. It’s loads of fun and you never know what you’re going to get.

Make Mine Mosaic Too!

As promised, here are pictures of my finished counter that I posted about in July. I attached the pieces to the counter, grouted them with sanded grout and sealed the grout after it dried. This project was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but I like the results. I don’t use this counter for food preparation; it’s just a bright place between the dining room and the kitchen.

Real Steampunk

     The Steampunk  genre (or more correctly, sub-genre) encompasses moviesclothingartfiction,  jewelrysculpture and more.  It draws heavily from old fashioned technology and appeals to those of  us  interested in technology, fantasy, and exploring mixing materials from different times and places. 

     I never really thought about why Steampunk is called Steampunk (as opposed to Technopunk for example) until I visited the Treadgar Iron Works in Richmond Virginia.  Tredgar churned out ammunition for the Confederacy during the Civil War, but also manufactured steam locomotives and other new inventions of the Industrial Revolution.   The  perfection of the steam engine changed everything and took large parts of the Western World from an Agrarian to an Industrial Economy.  Hey-sometimes it takes me a long time to see the obvious, and then I see it everywhere.

     Here are some pictures I took of the old machinery at Tredgar.

 

     The first museum exhibition of Steampunk design will take place at the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University later this year.   This is appropriate in so many ways.  Be sure to check out the blog devoted to the exhibit.

More Metal Etching Experiments

Last week   I said that I would post some pictures of my etching experiments.  Here they are.  DSCF0267

 This is a piece of brass etched with the  Edinburgh etch  solution.  I copied the image onto a transparency and ironed it on to the metal before etching.

 

 

 

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 This is copper etched with ferric chloride.  I drew the design with a Sharpie marker.

 

 

 

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 These are pieces of a brass charger plate I cut up.  I stamped the image on the left with a rubber stamp and Stayz on Ink 

 

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 This is a black and white image I reproduced onto a sheet of label backing with a laser printer  then ironed on to copper.  I used Edinburgh etch  solution.

 

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 Here, I inked a rubber stamp with a black Sharpie pen and etched the copper with ferric chloride.

 

 

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 I made this resist pattern with a silk screen and thick acrylic paint.  It worked well, but I  found it difficult to get a paint that would not bead up on the metal.  

Try making findings, components and texture sheets for polymer clay.                  DSCF0217DSCF0261DSCF0287

        

Come See My Etchings

 

DSCF0200My latest passion (aside from my husband)  is metal etching.  I am so obsessed that I even cut up some brass charger plates (flea market finds) and am etching and making  jewelry from the brass.  I’m using copper too.

I started my etching explorations with ferric chloride, which you can buy as  PCB Etchant at Radio Shack.  Rumors abound that Radio Shack no longer sells this.  It’s not true.  Much to my delight, however, I found you can purchase ferric chloride for half the price at Dick Blick.

Ferric chloride is not acid, but you don’t want to get it on your hands, clothes or in your eyes.  I wear gloves and eye protection when I use it, and I work in a well ventilated room.

After scouring or sanding your metal to make sure it is free of tarnish, dirt and fingerprint oil, you put an image on it that will resist the ferric chloride.  In othe words,  the ferric chloride will eat away whatever you did not cover with etchant resist.  Sharpie permanent markers provide an effective resist as well as Stayz On Ink which enables you to use your favorite rubber stamps.  Sharp black and wDSCF0259hite images work best. Another method is to photocopy or laser print your images onto transparency film sheets and iron the image onto the cleaned metal.  DSCF0251Transparency film is expensive.  I have had success with the backing for a sheet of labels made to be printed with a computer.  If you work in an office, ask  people to save these for you instead of throwing them away.   I print the image on the side of the sheet where the labels were and iron it onto the metal, image side down.

After you prepare your metal and fill a glass or plastic container with a couple of inches of ferric chloride, you cover DSCF0242the back of the metal with packing tape and suspend it, design side down, into the solution.  Why?  The etchant eats the metal and metal fragments flake away.  If the metal was right side up, the fragments would sit on the metal and interfere with the etching process. 

When you remove your piece from the solution, neutralize it with baking soda or ammonia, rinse well with water and clean off the resist.  The time you have to etch depends on how strong your solution is (e.g. how many times you’ve used it).  Ferric chloride, which is a salt and not an acid,  is considered a slow etchant, so your etching time might run from 30 minutes to several hours.  You need to check your metal from time to time until you know what to expect.

You can reuse the etchant until it’s too weak to perform.  Then you must dispose of it.  Don’t pour it down the drain.  It contains metal fragments and you don’t want to add them to the water supply.  Contact your local government authority for instructions on how to dispose of hazardous materials.

I learned of a great alternative to ferric chloride works faster and eliminates those pesky metal fragments.  It’s called the Edinburgh Etch and it’s composed of ferric chloride and citric acid.  Citric acid is a natural substance found in citrus fruit and many soft drinks (It’s not just the sugar that rots your teeth.)  I have seen many complicated formulas and equations for mixing ferric chloride and citric acid.    I mix 4 parts ferric chloride to one part citric acid.  The citric acid is composed of 3 parts water and one part citric acid by volume.  Translated, this means  1  cup ferric chloride (16 oz), added to a mixture of  4 oz  citric acid.  You mix the citric acid by adding  1 oz powder by volume to 3 oz water.  Increase this formula to get more etchant solution.  You can buy citric acid on ebay.  For more information on metal etching, go to Makers Gallery, Ganoksin, etsymetal and DIY Network.

Next week I’ll post some pictures of my etched metal.

 

Make Your Own Jewelry Tools

About a month ago, I put up a post about how I made a small jeweler’s bench from a small desk and scrap wood. Since then, I have been trolling for tool making directions and tutorials.

I recommend two excellent articles from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. The first one is on how to make a swage block from hardwood by Tom and Kay Benham. lj11071 It’s in the November 2007 issue which you can order by pressing here. You can find other tips on making swage blocks here. The authors used a Fostner drill bit set and a drill press to make their swage block. Since I don’t have access to tools like that, I used a spade drill bit set and hole saws to make mine. I got pretty good results. You can buy hole saw and spade drill sets from Harbor Freight or your local home center.

 

T409he other article from the April 2009 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is about how to make a hammered wire cuff bracelet. Author William Fretz throws in a nifty side bar on how to construct a jig so you can get consistent curves in heavy gauge wire. Press here to order the back issue.

 

 

Ganoksin is a treasure trove of jewelry making information. Be sure to check out Charles Lewton-Brain’s article on making chasing tools and Tina Wojtkielo’s article for tool junkies. It’s full of tips for making and using tools that she collected from several jewelry artists.

The last item comes from a great Internet resource, the How-To-Make-Jewelry Blog. It’s a useful bracelet sizing template you can download for free. The video that shows how to use it is below.