top view of room no. 346

The summer is over, school has started again, and I am trying to pick up the work where I left it. As you can see I finished the bedframe to a good extend by now. But have not made much progress from there. The original beframe had a painted bit where I am going to use acrylic paints, and parts with polished steel. So my worry has been looks in the past couple of weeks.

metal leaf 3
trying a metal effect: On the left, just acrylic “silver” paint. On paper it does look convincing… On the right a new trial with currently drying glue and metal leaf

Above you can see on the left that painting it with silver acrylic paint doesn’t look very convincing. – it just looks like plastic that has been painted. So I ordered imitation silver metal leaf. A first small trial looked promising (unfortunately I lost the piece I tried it on, so no photo of that trial). I then tried it on the frame yesterday/ this morning. As you can see, the idea of using metal leaf might not be totally off. But the glue I am using just doesn’t adhere properly to the plastic, and when I try to polish it, I rather rub it off. Actually, after this photo I really rubbed it off completely to start over.

metal leaf
looks like it just needs a bit more polishing


metal leaf 2
unfortunately polishing = rubbing off

So now I am experimenting with sanding the plastic a little before applying the glue. Maybe I’ll have to find a different glue. Or, I have been thinking, I’ll try heating the plastic just a little bit so that it becomes stick (it’s essentially hot glue), and then try to apply the leaf. But even to me that sounds crazy and desperate, and bound to fail. I’ll see.

plastic bottles 2
two coloured small plastic bottles

Meanwhile I have become an even greater fan of this plastic material. According to the instructions I am supposed to heat it in hot water and then mould it. This method makes it hard to make precise changes. For example if I want to “solder” two pieces together at the ends, I could just dip them both a little in hot water, and then when they are mouldable and sticky, they will stick together. But what if the “soldering” point isn’t at the end but somewhere in the middle? Then I have to heat the whole rod which then will loose its stiffness and become a curling snake. However, since I found that I can use hot air to heat a small bit if it. I very much love it, and I started to use it for making other miniatures as well. I also have dye now to make coloured plastic. I make rods of them, then I start forming the basic body of whatever I currently am making. Then I heat the tip of the rods, and can stick just a bit of the plastic to the basic body, – and then continue to shape it. It looks a bit like making things out of coloured glass, I think. Hopefully I’ll be ready to show you some more images soon, all I make today looks hopelessly clumsy.

Then I made the second bedframe. Doing it the second time, it came out with crisper angles and overall better.

assembling a second bedframe
assembling the second bedframe

But now that it is ready, and in the room (see the first photo on top), I think that I might be overdoing it: I intended for the bed to dominate the room, the room is a bit too small, the bed a bit too big. Because I couldn’t leave the bed, it seemed most important, and I wanted to make sure it is the most massive thing in the room. But now I am thinking that maybe I’ll have to do it again. I could make the frame a bit smaller and the matress would still fit. And making this new should not take more than a day now that I know what I am doing.

Well, still a bunch of problems to solve!

3 replies on “Another Update on 346”

  1. Just a thought on the heating process: could you use a soldering iron/wood-burning tool to get a really local heat? I don’t think you could touch the plastic but just bring the tip close enough to warm the plastic. It might be a little more controllable than hot air. (Though I don’t know how you are producing the hot air!)

    1. Hi Cathryn,
      thanks a lot for trying to help solving my problems. Maybe I haven’t made myself quite clear in the main text: Heating with water is a global process. But heating with the hot air is pretty local. I am using a butane soldering iron with a hot air tip. As you remarked, I couldn’t touch the plastic with a soldering tip because it would stick immediately.
      I am getting better and better at using the hot air. It is easy to overheat it, and then the floppy is spreading too quickly and too much. Generally of course the heat is travelling through the object I am making. But as I am getting better at directing the heat, the results get more satisfying.

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