Monday, 30 September 2013

Crafting disaster - a squirrel in the fog!

We've had a crafting disaster here today! It has been quite educational at times, but the end result has, so far, been complete failure. What I really need is someone out there to come up with a genius solution to our particular problem!

It began with, what I thought was, a brilliant idea for an interesting, child friendly Autumn make - a snow globe, but with falling leaves instead of falling snow. It does sound quite good, don't you think? There are loads of tutorials out there for DIY snow globes - the general idea seems to be jam jar, some kind of small plastic model, water, a few drops of glycerin and some glitter. The glitter being the snow, which we didn't want.

So I gathered together our supplies - with some leaves instead of the glitter (the leaves were ones that I'd coated with melted beeswax, I thought these would stand up to being in water better and for longer, but as you'll see leaves really didn't work, so this is completely immaterial!).

Our plastic model was a lovely and very Autumnal little squirrel with a nut - perfect! What could go wrong?!
The girls cut up the leaves into little pieces, still so far so good.

Now we experimented with different ways of sticking our squirrel to the lid of our jam jar. In one tutorial I'd read, they had used plasticine, this really didn't work for us. The squirrel fell off the plasticine and the plasticine fell off the lid and they both sank to the bottom of the jar. Then we tried some 'fimo' clay, a suggestion from a different tutorial. Fell off again. Another tutorial had simply hot glue gunned their plastic model to the lid so I tried this. And it seemed to work, even when wet.

This was our failed plasticine attempt.

Here's the squirrel successfully glue gunned on to the lid. I gave the lid just a quick rub with some sand paper first to help it stick

We got quite excited at this point and put it all together with a few drops of glycerine in the water as instructed. For a few moments it looked good, we shook it up and the leaves billowed around nicely in the water ...... and then they all floated up to the top rather than dropping gently and gracefully down to the lid at the base.

It was more like a leaf cloud!
We (I, really!) had completely failed to grasp the idea that whatever we put in there needed to sink, and unfortunately leaves seem to consistently float. You see, we're getting to the educational bit - floating and sinking experiments.

Venetia came up with the brilliant idea of cutting small, leaf shaped pieces of plasticine - we knew from our earlier failure sticking the squirrel on the lid that plasticine definitely sank. So she sliced up some little leaf shapes...

This looked promising - quite Autumn leaf like we thought and they definitely sank.

We got excited all over again, and tried it with the squirrel. And the plasticine really didn't live up to our expectations - no graceful billowing around, it just plumeted straight to the bottom like stones hailing down on the poor little, unsuspecting squirrel.

Undaunted, we tried to think of what else we might use - something that sinks, but not too hard and fast. Something that looks Autumnal and something that won't disintegrate too much in water. We tried acorns - the caps and the nut part - they both floated. We tried bits of pine cone - floated again. Bits of beech nut - both the shell and the nuts, from the garden, - both floated. Walnuts and pecans, from the cupboard - both floated. Pop corn kernels, again from the cupbard, - sank a bit too enthusiastically. Pieces of egg shell, left over from tea, sank quite gracefully but were so white on the inside they really didn't look Autumnal. And then lastly we tried some flaked almonds, again from the cupboard. They also sank quite gracefully and looked slightly better than the egg shells so, since we were at this point a little less enthusiastic and optimistic about the whole thing, we went with the almonds.

The first time we shook the jar, it sort of worked, it wasn't exactly the look we'd hoped for but the almonds did float around and then gently fell around the squirrels feet. But in the time it took me to turn on the camera to take a photo, the water had gone all cloudy, the almonds were apparently disintegrating rapidly in the water, and we now have a 'Squirrel in the fog' Globe.

We gave up for the day! Not necessarily forever, but to regroup and rethink ..... and appeal for any genius solutions from anyone reading this?????

By the way, we tried extra glycerin to try and improve the buoyancy on the plasticine attempt, and we did wonder about dyeing or painting the egg shells - but thought the colour would come off in the water. Perhaps paint and then varnish - but it seems a bit over the top for this make? And it feels to me like there should be a lovely, neat, solution out there, simple but clever, perhaps something glaringly obvious that we're overlooking???

So, help, please!

Back tomorrow, hopefully with something more successful! Sally.

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