Experimentation Part II


The materials for this project

And welcome to week 2 of my playing around with a glue moistener bottle to make a tree sponge.  When I saw these bottles on the rack at Wal*Mart a week or so ago, I immediately began wondering if they could be used in watercolors, specifically if they could be modified to make trees.  What I discovered last week is that the flow of water through them is too fast and floods the color right off of the sponge.  Close inspection of my other waterbrushes showed that they solved that problem by placing a small sponge directly in the flow.  I decided to place some floss in the cap of the glue moistener to see if that would slow the flow enough to make it usefull in a watercolor application.  I gathered my rubber cement, an X-acto knife, and some polyester filiment I had lying around from another project.  Since I will be using chemicals and sharp objects I would like to take a moment to discuss “Shop Safety”.  You need a well ventilated area for the rubber cement.  And you need to follow all of the safe cutting practices that are outlined in the instruction pamphlet that came with your X-acto knife.  Kids need adult supervision.  Dad’s need Mom’s permission.  Moms, dial 911 and ask to wait on hold ’til Dad finishes.

Cutting into the cap

Cutting into the cap

In violation of all of the safety precautions I just lined out for you, I begin by cutting into the cap.  I am cutting at a steep angle so there will be plenty of surface area for the rubber cement.  This little piece of plastic was actually tough to cut this way.  I think if I do it again, I will just use one of the wife’s steak knives.  Lord knows my mother has a drawer full of glued up and bent steak and butter knives from the various projects I’ve done through the years.  Mostly, butter knives because they make good impromptu screwdrivers, and once they’re bent they make good pallet knives.

WCtreesIII3What you can almost make out in the picture is the batting stuffed into the cut away cap.  This is a part I hadn’t considered and it will prove to be the ultimate challenge of this project.  To use enough batting means to over stuff the cap.  This stuff is springy so I have to be careful to get it all inside the cap and keep the cap together while the rubber cement dries.  Don’t do what I did.  I licked my palm to get some traction and rolled it up into a little ball.  It worked, but it’s gross to think about.


Things to do while glue dries

Once the batting was in place, I brushed a little of the rubber cement onto the exposed lip of the cap.  Of course, when I went to put these two pieces together I realized just how small they were and how much trouble the springiness of the batting was going to give me.  At this point, I consider scrapping the batting and cutting up one of the wife’s dish sponges.  I decided I’m too stubborn to do that and eventually did get the them together.  I intended to use a rubber band to hold this in one piece, but the pieces kept sliding apart while trying to get the rubber band in place.  I ended up holding it together by hand while waiting for the glue to set.  As you can see, I have become quite adept at spider solitaire for projects like this.

Still waiting

Still waiting

After several attempts at this, the batting just kept pushing the bits apart.  I finally got part of the glue set.  I flooded the cracked spots with rubber cement so they would remain waterproof, placed the rubber band around it, slipped the shaft of the X-acto knife in for tension, and set it aside.  At 2:45 am, I decided to let the glue sit over night.

Why am I doing this?  The idea I have is to cut the sponges into shapes.  When I want to create a wooded landscape, I will then just grab the bottles with the right kind of tree shaped sponge, already full of the appropriate color of paint, and dab them on quickly.  It’s not any faster than a brush or a regular sponge, but it has been more fun!

Tune in next week during Monday Discovery and we’ll see how it turned out.

0 thoughts on “Experimentation Part II

  1. Hi: I’ve been following your blogs for sometime but have never been able to leave a comment and am happy to be able to do so today. What I enjoy most about your blog is your down to earth comments. I really enjoyed todays. I was laughing so hard at your opening comments on the EDM page. (Moms call 911…)and what to do while the glue dries. I’ve also enjoyed watching your progress in drawing. Keep entertaining us.
    .-= Florence´s last blog ..Cootie Catcher =-.

  2. What kind of batting did you use? quilting? Kinda looks like insulation. When you get this perfected I would like to try it. I have trouble getting the right amount of water on hydro-stick stabilizer for embroidery. I believe the amount you would use for your trees would be the right amount for my stabliizer.

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