Wednesday, 18 November 2015

3 ways to make a display mannequin

Maybe I should really call this "three variations on making a bust"... 

Either way, we started with a plastic bust and then duplicated it using a variation of plaster mixes to see which would work best. I say "we" cause I worked on this project with a friend at work in order to find the best way to make busts for displaying jewelry.

First up, we used a bust which had been made with papier mache over a plastic one (then cut into pieces, which I had to put back together again like a jigsaw puzzle, missing a piece or two, hence the odd distortions... its a long story...). 


After piecing it back together with masking tape we mixed up a batch of plaster of paris with some PVA glue mixed in to combat brittleness.

I applied the plaster with my fingers, using swirling patterns and leaving small furrows and peaks. Kinda like frosting.

The result is a textured bust which, while retaining that plaster look, has none of the brittleness of plain plaster.

Next, we used a half bust which we used paper mache pulp in first. The pulp we used had too much water in it so it took forever to dry but was nice and strong once it did. Since we didnt want the rough look of the paper pulp showing, we used some plaster bandage over it to even out the texture. We then mixed up a plaster paste using both PVA and a bit of gap filler.

This time I applied the top coat smoothly, using damp fingers. I don't have photos of the back, but in order to make it strong enough to hang on the wall I filled the shoulders with a plaster mix and embedded wire into it.

Lastly, we decided to see what happened if we used paper pulp and mixed it with PVA glue and silicone... Other than the smell (gack) it worked really well. The bust is light but strong, even a bit bendy.

This bust was painted black by someone while I was off work and wasn't smoothed over, but its still an interesting piece and a great way to display light coloured jewelry.

All in all this is my advice:

If you want to make your own bust with plaster, add glue to give it strength or use plaster bandage. Another way would be traditional papier mache.

Whatever you choose, have fun with it. What's the worse that can happen?

I don't know if any of these would survive being dropped but my bet is on the black one.


PS. In editing mode this post is left justified. In preview its centered... and I hate centred posts. So please forgive me for whatever bug got into blogger today.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

propeller (fan) light fitting

Time just flies, doesn't it?

Every day I think about posting on here but something comes up. I think "I'll do it later, tonight". Then tonight comes and I'm wiped out and it takes all my energy to change TV channels.

So, given its been two weeks or so since I last posted, I thought I'd better share this project. I finished this weeks ago and just never got around to posting about it.

Not only has it taken me a long time to share this project, its also been a few years in the making. I bought this propeller for Wayne for Christmas ages ago, with the aim of making it into a light. Its been gathering dust in the casita up until a couple of months ago.

I've put it in the enclosed part of the porch where I used to have the fry basket light fitting before. I like this one better and it was time for a change anyway.

Please ignore all the electrical cords. We don't have enough power points and I've got extension cords everywhere for the time being.

I'd originally thought I'd put this light over Wayne's desk, making his office area more industrial... but the living room ceiling isn't high enough for a large pendant light. I could just see him knocking himself senseless every time he stood up at his desk.

Not to mention this is one heavy sucker. I doubt I could find a beam in the right spot to hang it from in the living room. On the porch I can see the beams! 

When I first got the propeller I had a friend weld a chain to it for hanging. I already had the bits to make the light part so it was just a matter of joining things together and adding a globe. I chose an LED edison bulb for bigger shine. There's already a light fixture nearby so I put a bayonet end on the cord to plug into the socket.

Funny how the house looks yellow in the photo... I hate pale yellow houses and picked this grey/brown tone to change the look of the house.

I'm loving the new light. It makes me smile every time I walk through the door.


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Sunday, 1 November 2015

birdwire light fitting

I went through a phase a couple of weeks ago where I was updating, making, changing light fittings. If you know me, you know I'll do nothing for ages cause I'm worn out, then do all kinds of things which aren't on my to-do list, then begin working on things which are on my list, then get side tracked with spur of the moment things.

The light fittings were like that. I began by doing the office/guest room swap and thought it'd be a good idea to change light fittings in those rooms while the furniture was out of the way.

Somehow I managed to stuff up the light connection (no idea what its called, but its the bit that's in the ceiling and holds the globe) so the guest room has no light currently.

The office has a light (a working one I might add) but it hasn't got a light fitting. I want a pendant in here as the ceiling is high enough.

So, having given up on the guest room light and having put off the office light, I went ahead and changed the light fitting in the wardrobe room. For those that don't know, that's a tiny room in our house which I converted into a wardrobe for Wayne.

Yes. You heard me right. In our house the man has the walk in wardrobe cause he has more clothes.

Anyway, back to what I was saying... The original light fitting in there was a real quickie I whipped up using wire and an old lamp shade. 

I never liked it much.

The new light fitting is made from some leftover bird wire I found in the shed. It was a bit crushed but that made it perfect. Imperfection is what I'm all about. Sometimes its even on purpose!

I had this shallow shade frame so all I did was attach the bird wire cylinder to it. Originally I had a long Edison bulb in it but they really don't give off much light. Now it has a big white ball glove in it.

I think Wayne's happy with it. Its a light. It comes on when he hits the switch. He's happy.


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