Monday, October 5, 2009

What Do You Tink of That? Part III

(The third and final installment of projects made using vintage labels provided by TinkersShop)
The final label I needed to work with was the red and black Spanish one. Although I do not know Spanish, from those who know more than I do, I understand that this label was printed for use on aftershave originating in Barcelona. My attention was immediately drawn to the man’s face. I knew I wanted that to be the focal point of my project, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with him.

I went through several ideas, from jewelry to making a puzzle of the entire label. But when it came right down to it, I knew I had to do something simple. You see, this past week I was involved in the final rehearsals for a staged concert of one of my favorite Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, Ruddigore (in which I was playing one of my dream roles, Mad Margaret). So with my regular responsibilities at school, I was running out of available time. (And actually, I believe I’m a little late with this final project, anyway.) So I went with a very simple but useful choice: a refrigerator magnet.

Some time ago I bought several rare-earth magnets to use in woodturning projects. I hadn’t gotten around to using them yet, so I went over to my parents’ house where I keep my woodturning equipment and retrieved the magnets. These nickel-plated magnets are very strong. Mine are the 3/8” size—any larger would be fairly difficult to remove from a refrigerator!
The first part of the process was very simple: I cut the picture out of the label, then cut a piece of 1/8” cherry slightly larger. I sanded the wood to clean and soften the edges and smooth the front and back.

Next, I decoupaged the image to the wood using Mod Podge. I used one of my smaller brushes and made decorative swirls in a thick layer of the finish.
Finally—or so I thought—I prepared to affix the magnet to the wood. I mixed a two-part epoxy recommended to me by the woodturning supply store. Because I had previously had trouble with this epoxy, I was very very careful to make sure the amounts of resin and hardener were. I applied the epoxy to the magnet with a toothpick, than carefully placed it on the back of the piece of cherry. The epoxy states that it takes 20 minutes to harden, and another hour to cure. So, since it was bedtime, I left it to cure. I actually left it for closer to 24 hours. But when I checked it again, the epoxy had not cured at all! Testing it by using a steel tool to pull at the magnet, the magnet easily separated from the wood. Now, I knew that if the epoxy had not cured at this point, it would not cure. So I set it aside for a while and went to rehearsal.

A day or two later, I finally decided what to do with it. I cleaned the remnants of uncured epoxy as well as I could, then pulled out my back-up adhesive: a quick-setting cyanoacrylate. Being again very careful with the application, I once again attempted to stick the magnet to the wood. Once again, I left it overnight.
This time when I used a steel tool to try to pull the magnet off the wood, the magnet stayed put. I tried a second test by sticking the magnet to my refrigerator, and was quite pleased to see that the adhesive was successfully holding the wood to the magnet, and that the magnet could be removed from the fridge!

The only minor problem remaining what that I wasn’t quite happy with the appearance of the back. The smudging of the epoxy, and perhaps also the cyanoacrylate, had darkened the wood around the rare-earth magnet. Although this would not be seen in use, I didn’t want it to be quite so obvious.
So, I grabbed my brush and Mod Podge once more and evenly coated the back of the wood. Although this does not hide the spot, it does present a more finished look, which satisfies me quite well!


Katherine Kowalski said...

Hi! I've been reading your blog with interest. Wanted to share a bit on epoxy -- the ratio isn't as critical as the mixing. (You can NEVER mix epoxy too much). I usually mix mine on a piece of see-through plastic. (I cut up party drinking cups for this purpose).

When you mix, you'll see swirls and swirls, and eventually get bubbles to appear. When ALL the swirls are gone, and only bubbles remain, your epoxy is mixed. Otherwise it will never cure correctly if not mixed properly. (Mixing takes about 2 minutes or so for a small quantity.)

Another glue you might try is gorilla glue, (polyurethane glue), which I've started to like for gluing mixed media (wood to metal, etc.) CA can be brittle.

Fantastic project! Thanks so much for sharing :-)

La Beq said...

Oh, thanks, Katherine! I won't quite give up on my epoxy yet. The previous epoxy I used cured just fine with the mixing method I've been using, so I figured this one would be the same. I'll try what you suggested, and hopefully that will work better!