The Flashlight Flop

materials

My idea was to paint flashlights in patriotic stars and stripes. Then we’d attach red or blue cellophane and one some wiggly chenille stems in front of the lenses and it would be sparkly and cool. What better way to wait for fireworks than a fun flashlight to play with right?

stripe painting Rapunzel painting

SuperChic painting mauve is totally patriotic

If crafting success is rated by how many daylight hours were spent happily painting, then this was a smashing success. The kids had a blast painting. If success is rated on magazine-quality photos then it was a disastrous flop. The paint did not stick to the smooth plastic of the flashlights.

It’s not really shown in these photos but when I pulled off the masking tape that I had so carefully taped on there to create stripes, it pulled the paint off with it! The foam stars didn’t work either. Paint seeped in around the star edges and when they were removed the blank space was a sloppy smudged blob instead.

sloppy paint job

star idea

Painting a star on the lens didn’t really work out either.

attaching the chenile stems

But you know what did work? The chenille stems. They were totally funky and cool.

twinkle twinkle

They make neat wiggly shadows in the dark.

I think this craft could be rescued by either painting with some special made-for-plastic spray paint or maybe roughing up the plastic of the flashlights with sandpaper before painting. We probably should have used painters tape instead of masking tape too but… we used what we had on hand and it was fun.

making spooky faces

Sometimes the process is more important than the end result anyway.

my polymer clay experiment

my favorite bowls rice in glass

I have these really cool bowls I bought in Chinatown ages ago. They have rice embedded in the sides. If you hold the bowl up to the light, you can see through it. I love the bowls because of this neat feature. Every time I slurp a bowl of ramen noodles or gobble up some yummy stir-fry, I wonder how they were made.

Is there a show on bowls like this because I am dying to know how they got that rice in there and how it’s preserved so well. I’ve tried googling it but I guess I don’t even know what words to use because everything I find just turns out to be a post on how to cook a bowl of rice—which I already know how to do!

Since I don’t have any glass blowing skills and I don’t knowing anything about ceramic-bowl-making, I thought I’d try this rice embedding trick with polymer clay. It’s the closest thing I could think of that might be like a glass dish. I looked all over to see if anybody has tried this before and I think nobody has. Probably because it doesn’t really work.

polymer clay bricks squish it, squish it real good

I’ve never worked with polymer clay before but I’ve seen it blogged around the internet from time to time. I poked around our craft store and there was a book that said it’s one of those mediums that is easy to break into but difficult to master so I thought why not. I might as well try it.

ready to bake pendant

It is easy to work with. Bug and I had fun kneading clay for the required two minutes and then rolling it out into a thin slab with her little rolling pin that she uses to play with play dough. We made a bunch of pendant like shapes and then pushed pieces of rice into them. I tried different thicknesses hoping the rice would show through like my glass bowls. Then we popped them in the oven.

rice clay pendant medallion

Thirty minutes later I took them out of the oven and I was not impressed. I don’t think my experiment really worked. They are interesting beads but not really very glass-like at all. The thin pieces could be held up to the light and you could see through the rice but the clay was bendy and if you you bent it I’m sure it would break. The thicker pieces were nice and solid for wearing as a necklace but the rice was just texture. Not the translucent effect I wanted at all. So I guess that’s that. It was fun to try but not a success. I may try it again with clear clay but I think this is a mystery I might have to work a little harder at to solve.

Any experienced polymer clay artists or glass bowl makers have any insight for me?