Thursday, June 14, 2012

Radioactive Props

Ok, so this wasn't exactly what I had in mind for my next post, but as it was something that was actually finished it will have to do.

I have come up with a safer way to do fun things with glow sticks.  By safer I mean not cutting them up.  Instead of whacking them into bits, I'm incorporating them into props whole.  I made all those radiation signs, after all. It stands to reason I should have something about that looks like it might be radioactive.  This is what I came up with.

So to make these lovely little tubes of glowingness, you don't actually have to get all that much in the way of materials.  You'll need at least 2 tubes of glow stick bracelets, the kind you can get at craft stores for $1, a bit of paint, and model magic or something else soft and clay-like.  I had all of those things laying around from other projects (yay! $0 prop) and that included something like 4 tubes of glow bracelets.  This is why I hate throwing things out.  Also, this is a great way to use glow sticks that have already been used.  The dyes in them will fluoresce with the black light, you don't actually need the chemical reaction to make it work.  The glow sticks you see above haven't been activated and I checked an old used glow stick to see if it would react and it did.

The caps are made from the tubes that the glow sticks came in.  Just measure off about an inch and slice off a bit!  Keep the end caps of the tube so you don't have to make a substitute.

Then slap a bit of paint on it.  To the surprise of no one (I'm sure) the painting method is another of Dave Lowe's methods.  Instead of black, brown, and orange I used black, copper, and pewter on top of a black primer coat because I wanted it to be more like a tarnished precious metal than something that had really rusted.

Painting on warm days is awesome because the paint dries so fast.  In no time at all I was ready for the next step. Stuffing a bit of Crayola Model Magic in each base.  ::STOP HERE UNTIL YOU DISPLAY YOUR PROP IF YOU WANT TO ACTIVATE THE STICKS SO THEY GLOW ON THEIR OWN:: Model magic dries overnight and if you bend the sticks to activate them after the model magic dries they'll all pop out and you may or may not be able to get them back in again.  Besides, you should activate the sticks one at a time for optimum glowing anyway.

I found out that this is the best way to secure your glow sticks.  I tried just stuffing a bunch of glow sticks in the end caps but it used all my glow sticks and would only have made 2 props (and they wouldn't have matched).  Then I tried putting the glow sticks in around a wine cork.  I found out quickly that the only thing that was good for was activating the glow sticks, which wasn't what I was going for.  

Then all that remains is to gently stick the glow sticks in a ring around the inside edge of the bottom cap, gently press the top cap on, and wait for it to dry (or put it on display if you're activating the glow). 

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