Rolling With The Project Punches
February 25, 2020
I start each project with a clear plan and a vision of the ideal outcome. Usually, my plan works out and the end result is as I imagined. Sometimes, however, nothing goes according to plan and I have to start fixing, adapting and evolving the project as I go.
The LED light epoxy resin Christmas ornament was one such project. I started with pretty glass Christmas ornament in the shape of a cut jewel. The original idea was to make a two part silicone mold of the ornament and cast it in clear AeroMarine Products 300/21 Epoxy Resin with LED lights embedded in it. It would have made a lovely single ornament to hang on my tree.
The first problem I had was running out of AM 128 silicone mold making rubber! I had made half of the mold. It was December and most of our manufacturers were closed for the holidays so what we had in the warehouse needed to be kept for paying customers, not employee projects. So there I was with half a mold. Fine, I decided that it won’t be one ornament. Instead, I’ll make a string of lights. Since it will only be half a jewel shape, it will weigh less and be able to lay flat against a wall when hung up. Back on track!
The second probably became apparent when I de-molded the original ornament. Because it was glass, I used a very heavy hand with the mold release. Glass is one of the few things to which silicone will bond (they’re both silica based materials). All that mold release ruined the shiny finish of the ornament and gave the silicone a mild texture that transfers to any casts. So, I made this finish look more intentional. I dusted the mold cavity with mica powder prior to pouring the epoxy resin to give it an all over matte appearance and blend with the textured spots on the mold.
I used the opportunity to bring mica powders into the project to try out all the white based/color shifting powders I had. The result was a lovely string of jewel party lights, all a subtly different color, that isn’t too heavy to hang almost anywhere.
While this wasn’t my original project plan and it did seem like the odds were against this project getting finished, what I ended up with I liked a lot more than what I had envisioned.
Over the last nine years of working with resins, silicone and latex, my favorite thing about these materials is that there is almost always a way to fix/modify/change a project when you think you’ve ruined everything.
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