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Monday, April 22, 2013

Designing Glass Totems and Garden Ornaments

What a great project for a rainy day. I've finished my chores and the creative juices are flowing.

Collecting the parts

Once you've amassed a good selection of parts. What's a good selection you may ask? Here are a few of my favorites:
Avon bottles
Small figurines: birds, flowers, anything that strikes your fancy
Small diameter dishes, saucers, glass or ceramic coasters, etc
Vases: a variety of sizes as they can be used a variety of ways
Cut glass dishes
Coffee cups or mugs
Medium and large plates ceramic, pottery or glass
Beer, wine or other bottles. Sometimes I use a bottle cutter and either use the neck or the base.
Covered candy dishes, egg cups with lids, salt and pepper shakers
Hammered aluminum trays, dishes or servers.
Anything you think would be cool to stack

It is best to make several (or more) totems at a time. 

Bring out all the parts you've accumulated and place in categories on a large flat surface. Kitchen island or table top is the easiest. You can move after you've glued the totems together, but it is better to let the adhesive cure a bit before moving to a safe place.

Now, just start stacking the various parts. Rule of thumb: if the parts don't stack nice and aren't stable they probably won't glue well either. Scroll down to see a few of today's creations. Remember to add an element of surprise: color, shape, unusual figurine, etc., for a little drama.

Once you get a few totems put together the way you like them you can start gluing together. It is best to use a silicone caulk or adhesive made for exterior use as the totems will get wet, hot, cold, dirty, knocked over by the wind, pulled off the post when you tug the hose.

Using a caulk gun is the easiest because you can control the flow better than a tube. Experiment with different brands and types of silicone caulk or adhesive. I've found that some caulks take months to cure and create a solid bond. The DAP that you see pictured cures very quickly but is hard to control and squeeze out of the tube.  * * UPdate * * * Don't use this adhesive! When I placed the totems outside, it rained and the adhesive disintegrated. I found another adhesive I think works better and once I see if it holds up I will repost.

Be generous with the caulk, you want it to seal out the elements and prevent water from getting inside as well as gluing it together. Run the caulk around the perimeter. Sometimes you will put the caulk on the bottom of the piece and others on the top depending on how things fit together. Press the pieces together as you put them together but don't apply to much pressure.

When you're done, leave in place where you made them for as long as you can so that the adhesive gets a good chance to set. When you do move take care when you take them to a location where they won't be disturbed for a few days or week or more. If you use a clear caulk that comes out of the tube white the bond is set or cured until it turns clear.

Here are a few of the combinations I came up with today.

All descriptions are from the bottom going up:
 Plant pot,
pink flamingo  figurine inside tall glass vase,
blue glass plate,  yellow glass candle holder.
I may glue some flat marbles around the top
perimeter of the pot
Tall vase, ceramic candy dish, travel memorabilia
plate, glass candy dish upside down, candy dish
top. Even though the vase is very stable it may
 need a heavy wider base. 

Beer bottle, large candle votive, ceramic bird

Candy dish upside down, candy dish
upside down, salt shaker, tiny porcelain dish,
salt shaker top (I will caulk the holes)

Large votive holder, composite bird. The
wine bottle will be cut and I will use the neck
as the base to sit on a post.

So Close To Being Done, We Can Almost Taste It

Last we spoke, I wrote about making a list of tasks to be completed. Well, we are making our way through the list, slower than what we had hoped but we are getting there.

There are a couple of reasons we are slow to finish the task list. First, many of the tasks are small and take more time to set up than to actually get the work done. Second, some tasks are dependent on completing other tasks. And finally, our articulating ladder has reached end of life, so we are now looking for a replacement.

Finishing the painting won't happen until we purchase a new one because we need to reach high into and over the stairwell. The locking mechanisms in the ladder we have no longer lock into position, and as I said to Todd on Saturday, "I'm not in the mood to have to visit the emergency room today." Hopefully we will find something this week and get the painting done next weekend.

Here's are a few pictures:
Walk in closet

Bathroom vanity with mirror and shelf

Bathroom with washer/dryer with
plenty of storage

A full working kitchen