Monday, October 17, 2011

Creepy Creeps with Eerie Eyes...

Here's one I've been fiddling with for a while now.  Home made window clings.  Not for my windows, but for my hallway artwork.  The frames in the hall have glass panes in them so, in theory, anything that will cling to a window will cling to them too.  The main idea is to make eyes to put up so that I don't have to tape plastic tree faces to the art lining my walls.  I did that last year and was less than impressed with how corny it looked.  This year, though, this year I shall do better.  My Eerie Eye clings ought to do the trick nicely.  Named for the bestest song from a ride EVER (Grim Grinning Ghosts from Disney's Haunted Mansion, one of my top 3 favorite rides at Disney Land).  If you aren't familiar with the wonder that is the Haunted Mansion you should listen to this.  For those of you who know the ride, it's the good version with the elevator music and the singing busts. (-:  I'm also partial to the version that Barenaked Ladies did. 

Right, so my Eerie Eyes.  I remembered making Elmer's glue window clings when I was little.  Sadly, my memory of it is clearer than my mom's, I suspect because I got to make a mess with glue.  What I remembered doing was coloring glue with food color and then spreading said glue out on wax paper in whatever pattern I wanted.  Simple enough, more so when Elmer's made colored glue specifically for that purpose.  It wasn't popular for long but it was really popular for its 15 minutes of fame.  My plan was to mix some of the glow in the dark paint from my worm pot into some glue and use that for the eyes.  I have no idea what the actual proportions were.  I added just enough paint to make my clear glue opaque and went with that.

I quickly drew out some eye shaped templates, stuck them under wax paper, mixed my glue, and got to work.  First thing I discovered is that I remembered wrong.  Wax paper BAD!  The glue beads up on it and refuses to hold a shape.  If someone tells you to use wax paper for this they're lying.  I had to scrape the glue off the wax paper with my tongue depressor/mixing stick and start over.

enter the beading.  this is why wax paper is bad
looks good here...
After a quick reboot I started making my eyes again, this time on Glad Wrap.  As I suspected, the glue didn't bead up and mess up my design.  I put one template on each of my trays, covered them with the plastic wrap, and went to town.  I stacked the trays on the table as I finished them, perpendicularly traywise...I'm not THAT big a moron.  Then I sat back to watch TCM's marvelous old movies (they're playing horror flicks on Mondays and I adore old movies).  At some point I got up to check my clings and discovered that I am an idiot after all.  You see, there's this little thing called gravity which means that anything you want to be flat can't be on something with a curve so slight you don't even notice.  Fortunately, none of my would-be clings ran all the way off the plastic wrap.   I let them dry overnight, some of them were still ok, and soon discovered my next mistake.

In my enthusiasm to get started, I neglected to tape down my cling wrap.  Glue shrinks as it dries.  Yeah, wrinkly clings.  So wrinkly, in fact, that none of the functional ones would stick to anything.  Wonderful.

The next logical step was to turn to the interwebs and see what else I may have done wrong.  The Elmer's webpage is full of all kinds of projects but their "window sticker" pattern calls for their puffy paint, not white glue.  A quick "how to" search on Google saved the day.  As I read over a number of sites with instructions I remembered something of critical importance.  When Elmer's sold the colored glue for clings, they made the packaging in such a way that you made the clings ON THE PACKAGE.  Nice, stiff plastic.  ARGH.

I regrouped, again, this time with Ziploc bags and my table.   I used gallon sized freezer bags because they were the thickest plastic I had.  Everything seemed to be going ok, then I saw where the glue was starting to run.  Again.  Ye old Ziploc bag must be 100% completely and entirely flat.  The slight bump on my tester (I finally got smart and worked on a smaller scale) made some of the eye shapes distort.  I also discovered that  rounded edges work better, so long as they're large rounds.  The pupils of the small eyes filled in before the glue ran on that set and the eyes with angles have utterly refused to cooperate thus far

One good thing came of the tester, though.  The clings worked.  Finally.  I was able to peel one off to check and it had a good texture and, more importantly, it stuck to glass.  At least, it did for a day.  Turns out that the glue gets drier and then it curls and refuses to stick.

My last ditch effort involved going to the store and getting some glow in the dark puffy paint.  I got a nice, big bottle of glow in the dark and a smaller bottle of red for my other idea.  Once again, to the table and the Ziploc bags.  The first thing I noticed was that puffy paint stays where you put it.  The second thing I noticed was how much easier working with puffy paint is when you're 27 and not 10.  Go, motor skills, go!  Heartened by the first eye I put down, I made the whole sheet of them and set them to dry.

And, at long last, success!

The clings work great!  They even stick to smooth walls***.  A few things to be aware of, though.  First, always ALWAYS pull the puffy paint.  If you push the tip into the paint as you move the bead line along, it will cause the edges not to be rounded and that will cause your clings to not come up off the Ziploc easily.  Second, outline the shape first with a nice, thick line and then fill it in.  It makes it so that if the paper template moves the clings are still properly shaped.  Third, be sure to let the clings dry for 2 or 3 days before you try to peel them up.  You want to make sure the paint is all the way dry.  And, finally, plastic can bond to plastic.  Unless you want some interesting effects under your cling, be mindful of where any markings on your bag of choice may fall.  Else you may end up with this.


Those awesome "REDRUM" clings I made for the bathroom were almost a great idea.  I tested them to make sure they would come off, and they did every day for like a week, but the one thing I didn't test was someone using the bathroom.  I think it was the combination of heat and humidity that did it, but the clings bonded with the paint.  It's a good thing I love painting because I get to repaint almost my entire bathroom.

That whole plastic to plastic thing?  Yeah, my walls were painted with latex paint.

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