Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gallery Glass Grimm

I've been head-down in a new project, making Grimm-inspired ornaments with Gallery Glass paints.  I wanted to do something for Jamie and Lindsey of  The Grimm Podcast, and once I came up with the idea I had to make a  few more for some friends in our Grimmsters group on Facebook.  And of course I took lots of pictures while I was at it!

The design comes from the stained glass window in Monroe's door (photo from the maker's site).  I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to freehand the wolf, so I was tossing around other ideas and came up with this solution:

I printed out the wolf in the size I needed and traced it with the liquid leading ("contains no lead!"). I used the back side of my cutting glass, which worked really well. (I did have some parallax issues, because of the thickness of the glass, but it didn't take long to get used to.)

It occurred to me that I could let the lines extend beyond the design, and then trim them afterwards. 

After letting them dry overnight, I cleaned up the edges with my microtip scissors.  (Craft knife doesn't work for this part--I tried.  The stuff is just too rubbery.)

Adding the paint. It comes in squeeze bottles, and you just squeeze it where you want it and then push it into the edges with a little pointy stick. 

After it dries overnight, you can peel it up (carefully) and apply it to the ornament.  This works really well--you can also make window clings!  Oooh! 

(Kate held the ornament for me to get a picture.  She was a bit wobbly.)

I planned to put a line around the top and bottom of the ornaments, but it was immediately obvious that I wouldn't be able to freehand them.

So I made some straight lines with the leading and let them dry overnight.  (Yep, that's another "overnight"--this was quite a long process!)

Applying the lines to the ornament is kind of a pain.  After doing a few I got the trick of it--hold the whole thing up at eye-level, hold the leading out to the side, and keep it straight while you turn the ornament. Still a pain. 

My second bottle of leading was pretty runny, and the lines spread.  I was able to peel it up and trim it with the scissors, but I wouldn't recommend this because it was really hard to get everything back in the right place.

Painting!  I had to do it in sections and let it dry before turning it, so this part took three or four days. 

The first completed ornament.  Total elapsed time:  nine days.  Once I got all the steps figured out the others went a little faster!

Working on the kitchen table.  (I went through a lot of paper towels.)

Ornaments in various stages of completion, drying on the top shelf of my computer desk. 

I got pretty good at freehanding the leading (especially the right side), but had trouble getting a consistent line out of the bottle.  It's rather awkward to work with. 

I thought the original design was a little too detailed for me to replicate at this scale, so I had to do some adapting.  After making several like this, I realized that I still wasn't completely happy with the left side... I came up with this design that's closer to the original.  

Painting is fun.  I got some cool effects by swirling colors together.   For the sky I mixed Blue Diamond and Crystal Clear, and swirled in a little Snow White and Sapphire.

It looks very cool when it's dry!

Finishing up the final three.

This is my favorite part. The paint flattens out as it dries, but when it's wet it looks like round, shiny polished stone.  Pretty!  I love the Light Green.  It's opaque, which makes a nice contrast, and you can do some fun things mixing it with the transparent colors.  (I discovered that it's been discontinued, but I was able to get two bottles on Amazon.  Yay!)

About ten years ago I got to go to the HIA trade show, and I remember checking out the Gallery Glass booth.  When I was at Michael's  I recognized it and thought, "Oh yeah, that'll work!"  It was a lot of fun.  I do think the liquid leading could use some improvement (for ease of application or consistency of... well... consistency) but it's pretty cool stuff. 

Things I learned:
  • It's hard to tell what a color (or mixture) will look like when it's dry.  I had to play around with this a bit.

  • Even after drying overnight, the painted areas are very susceptible to nicks and fingerprints.  I had to make sure to only hold the ornaments by the top and bottom when working on them.

  • It's easier to lift out air bubbles than to try to pop them. 

  • These ornaments are dust magnets.  And the leading lines are lint-snaggers.  I eventually hit on wiping them off with my lens-cleaning cloth.  This works well. 

  • It's hard to get a good picture on the tree.  I can't even tell you how many I went through!

So that's my Gallery Glass experiment.  It's been fun!  Maybe next I'll make some Pikmin window clings with Kate. 


dawn said...

I use that stuff on the inside of some glass ornaments once in my classroom. We didn't do the black "leading", just squeezed some color in, roll it around, squirt of another color, etc until you get it just how you like it.

They were cute. Had to dry them spout side down so the excess would run out.

I wonder if you could spray them with a clear sealant? To repel the dust and nicks?


Helen in Australia said...

Just as well you started well before Christmas! :-) said...

These are beautiful! Incredible work you've done; and I loved seeing the step by step process. I have worked with glass painting and have wanted to do some stained glass type items. And I LOVE Grimm - Now I am inspired by your work to try something like this for my Grimm loving family members as a gift next year :D


Anonymous said...

Your ornaments are amazing! Just a note, instructions say to let paint dry for 48-72 hours before considering it "dry". I'm doing some painting on 3D objects as well,
and I sympathize with your drying woes!

Anonymous said...

I really treasure your work, Great post.