Testing Products & Trying New Things

Hi folks! As promised, I wanted to give an update on things I have in the works and talk a bit about how I do research.

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Here’s a peek at my desk where I’m testing new products I haven’t used before. This is a scrap piece of acrylic that I’ve milled a few grooves in the top and applied some different coatings to see how they behave.

I found while I was making Heosphoros that the engravings on the blade needed some more opacity to stand out from the rest of the blade. But I couldn’t just paint any old substance into the grooves without knowing if it would stay there or melt the acrylic or crack … You get the idea. As you can see, the different substances have different opacity, different thickness, and different texture.

The varnish didn’t work at all. It just rubbed off when I touched it. The faux snow was ridiculously hard to work with and ended up really chunky. The … Glitzershnee? Don’t ask me to pronounce that. I can’t speak German. Anyway #2 was pretty cool but dried kind of soft. #1 was a kind of lacquer for colouring stained glass but I accidentally picked up the crystal clear stuff instead of the white. (#5 is the white stuff which turned out to be too opaque)

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So what ended up working the best? The liquid acrylic (which smells like the Devil’s personal port-a-potty) and a semi-sheer nail polish with mica particles in it for a very fine glitter. Gosh, it would have been great to know that before I spent 30 euros and several hours poking a piece of plastic with weird goo. Ha! But that’s just the way it goes. I still have to test stuff before it goes on the final product. Even the nail polish. Different companies use different chemicals to produce their stuff so you can never be sure if something will play nicely with the acrylic. There are SO MANY kinds of plastic guys. o_o So. Many. And by the end of my life I’m sure I will have smelled them all.

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So I’m working on a witchlight… It’s more complicated than I thought it would be. It’s really hard to get the right stiffness so that it lights up when squeezed so I’ve been thinking of a completely different way of engaging the light switch. The one you see here is 100% silicone and there’s a big ol’ air pocket around the light inside so it’s a no-squeezy. I have to actually fish the light out of the thing to turn it on and off. Too inconvenient. Plus I hate that the light rattles around inside. It really takes away from the “magic” effect.

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Plus … WHY THE H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS DID THE SILICONE CURE TO THE ALUMINIUM FOIL?! Ugh. Maybe because some derpface forgot to give the foil a coating of petroleum jelly before plopping the silicone on it. Silicone is confusing guys. I’m just sayin’. Chemistry class did not prepare me for this.

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Anywho I do like how the opening is pretty well hidden until the silicone is squeezed and then it opens up like one of those rubber froggy coin purse things. It’s progress toward a witchlight I’d actually be pleased to sell. It’s not there yet, but the experimentation taught me a lot about the way silicone behaves and what it’s capable of.

I went out and purchased some actual powdered mica to mix into the silicone/plastic/whatever I end up making these things out of because I found that when the light is off, it doesn’t look so much like a rock as I would like it to. In fact, my first attempt at the silicone witchlight ended up looking like a big white booger or maybe somebody’s pet slime. … actually I might put googly eyes on it and just keep it as my shop mascot. Ha!

As I’ve said before and I’m sure to say it a hundred times more: art is about 90% problem solving. You get an idea, and then you have to figure out how to make it real. The other 10% is kind of a mix between stubbornness and insanity.

That’s all from me for now folks. I’ve go to get my butt to the workshop and polish up a Jahoel. See ya later!

Introducing: Sariel & A New Witchlight!

Brand new pretties for you to see! At long last, the elegant beauty of Sariel joins the roster of Seraph Blade models.

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Hello there gorgeous! This design is based on the longsword that Isabelle Lightwood uses in The Mortal Instruments movie.

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As I’ve babbled on before, you all know that you can’t hide a light inside a fully transparent blade. So we did the next best thing and gave the handle a minimalist leather grip in an unobtrusive shade of white.

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The result is rather striking particularly the band of light between the grips.

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Hurrah!

Now, what’s this about a new witchlight? It is true! I have improved upon the humble paper mache model I first created.

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Looks good, easy to make … but a little on the flimsy side and the opening is really obvious.

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Well, we can fix that. And we did! Feast your eyes on this solid plastic “stone”. It’s made of layers (and layers, and layers and oh my god my hand hurts now …) of hot glue a bit of glitter, and some UV-resistant top coat to keep the whole thing from yellowing over time in the sun. Pretty neat all on its own, but in the dark, you can give it a gentle squeeze and …

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Tada! The plastic is flexible enough that turning on the press light is pretty easy. (So don’t let it get squished in your suitcase or it will run down the battery.) LEDs last a pretty long time but to change the battery, you only need to slice along the seam with a sharp knife, pop the light out, switch the battery, stuff it back in and re-seal it with a plain old hot glue gun.

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The design’s still not perfect and I want to get a working model that you don’t have to cut to open, but it’s surely a step up from the paper and balloon one. 🙂

If you’re interested in a tutorial on how to make this type of witchlight, please feel free to let me know in the comments! If there’s enough interest, I’ll put together something for ya.

That’s all from the Studio for now. Stay safe out there Shadowhunters!

How to make a Shadowhunter Witchlight

Anybody else a fan of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series? I love it, and cosplaying as a Shadowhunter is a lot of fun. There are a few tricky bits to the costume though, and one of these bits is the witchlight.

How the crap do you do this?

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Well fear not! I have found an easy, cost-effective way to do just that. Continue reading “How to make a Shadowhunter Witchlight”