Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Chibitronics: The Glass Bowl

I'm not quite sure what to call this home decor creation. I REALLY like it. WARNING: This is a lengthy post with directions as to how I made this...or you can just look at the photos by scrolling down.  The basics: Alter/color clear glass bowl; add circuit and battery inside; glue to clear candlestick holder; add glass pebbles inside; tie ribbons around the top lip; done. Here's what I made:

This wasn't too difficult to make so long as you have little hands! :)  The lights and the copper tape are toward the bottom of the bowl on the inside and there's just no good tool to get it in there except your hands. The LED stickers and copper tape are from Chibitronics. Love these stickers. There's no cord to plug in which means this decorative bowl can sit ANYWHERE. And no candle or open flame to worry about.

This piece is actually two separate pieces glued together and decorated. I got both of them at a thrift store and garage sale for about a buck each. The bowl was just clear glass and the "pedestal" is actually a candle holder.
So here's how I started:
1. The Glass Bowl:  I learned a technique for frosting glass and adding crackle texture. I used it on the bowl. I covered the bowl first with Glue-N-Seal from Ranger. (This is like a decoupage medium. I have heard you can do this with other things like ModPodge but I haven't tried it.) I put on a thick coat but not so thick that it would run or clump while it dried. It's pretty thick stuff and clings very well. Once that coat was dry, (I let it dry overnight.) I added Distress Crackle Paste (Rock Candy) which is a clear crackle medium. To get good "cracks", apply a coat like you did with the Glue-N-Seal. This stuff is a bit thinner and will tend to pool so check on the bowl periodically to turn it over. I let it sit on it's bottom then shifted it to sit on the top and kept flipping it as it dried. When it dries clear, you'll see the crackled pattern and notice that the glass doesn't look as "frosted" as it did after you applied the glue. 
NOTE: You may notice at the lip of the bowl the glue seemed to start to peel away. That's due to the crackling medium. It is still attached but if you scape at it, I'm sure it will come off. So this is a "handle with care" piece! (I wasn't too concerned as I planned to cover it up anyway.)

2. Add Color:  After the bowl was completely dry, I added alcohol inks to color it. (I used Adirondack alcohol inks from Ranger.) I went with a few blues to give it an ombre look. You need to add the ink to the outside because it won't stick to the glass on the inside. It only sticks to the mediums that you've applied.
3. Add circuit:  To make the bowl light up, you need to add a battery, copper tape, and LED stickers to make a circuit. (All can be found as part of the Starter Kit from Chibitronics.)

The photo above shows the completed circuit inside the bowl. I created a battery "pack" from a folded piece of cardstock. I glued a strong magnet to the underside so it will hold the battery in just the right spot. I just added the tape from that to the sides of the bowl. I added my white light stickers and then the battery to test it out. When the flap is down, the lights come on!

4. Attach bowl to candle stick holder.  As I stated, the pedestal is just a clear glass candle stick holder. After I was sure the circuit worked, I attached the bowl to the top of the candle holder with E6000 glue. I applied it generously and let it cure overnight. I had to keep the bowl stable on it's open top and add some weight on the whole thing to be sure of a good bond. (I just used an acrylic stamping block to balance a bag of glass pebbles on it. So the bowl was upside down with the glue holding the candle holder, then I put a large acrylic block on the bottom of the candle stick. Then, I balanced a baggie of glass pebbles on the block for weight.)
5. Add some weight.  In order to hide the battery pack and to keep it lit, the bowl should be filled with some glass pebbles. You can find the clear ones in just about any dollar store or in a craft store with the fake flowers. I got mine in a thrift store for under a buck.

You may want to add the pebbles all together in a bag so it's easier to get them out to add/change the battery. So long as the pebbles are in there holding down the top of the battery pack, the lights will be on. It also helps to protect the LED stickers from getting dislodged or broken. The pebbles can be any color but the clear ones reflect the lights very well!

6. Add some ribbon.  As a finishing touch, I glued down several different ribbons around the top edge of the bowl. I made one long enough to tie into a bow.

When lit, you can see the light reflect off the pebbles and the color of the ink. You can see some of the copper tape and the back of the lights as small yellow dots. I love how it looks all lit up in the evening.

So check out your local thrift store for some clear glass to alter and color. You can match your own home decor and then make it light up!

Have a great week!

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