Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mermaid Scales

I am participating in a round robin swap, which is finally coming to a close after a whole year and a half! I'm still waiting for my Doll, Mrs. Flattenstein, to head home, but Linda Danielson's doll made it.

I was so delighted when I saw this completed picture. I was one of the first to add to the doll! When the mermaid arrived to me in Israel, she was hardly a mermaid. Basically just a cardboard cut out with a bit of fabric glued down on her bottom! I created her scales right on that fabric, and am glad to tell you how!


gel medium
plastic rubber bands (the kind you buy for hair, which are used at the ends of small braids or baby hair)
"wax cream"- I'll explain what this is in a minute.

1. Spread the gel medium on the work surface. Be generous.
2. Lay out the hair bands. Use tweezers to spread them out.
3. Allow to dry.

Next you will need to use that "wax cream" I mentioned before. What is it?
I'm not sure what this is called in English. I am certain it must exist in North America, Australia, etc, but this stuff is very, very popular in Israeli craft art. It would be safe to say that no art store in the country doesn't carry it. It's like going to a stationary store and looking for a pencil. Funny enough, wax cream happens to be manufactured in Europe, not Israel.

Wax cream is most commonly used for antique style art. After applying a crackle medium over a painted surface, you smear it over the dried surface, then wipe it off with oil. The wax which got into the cracks remain there, and you have a crackle effect.
The wax cream comes in a small jar. It has metallic pigment in it. It can be hard (like the consistency of a crayon that rubs off on your fingers) or sometimes very soft and creamy (almost like vaseline). It depends on the manufacturer and the project you are working on. For this mermaid, I needed the harder wax because I did not intend to wipe it off, and I didn't want it to be like paint.

You can make it yourself by mixing Pearl Ex metallic pigment powder into melted beeswax. Or, try a gold crayon. A high quality artist crayon, of course, oil based.! If it doesn't rub off on your hands, then try heating it in the microwave for a couple of seconds, to make it a tiny bit softer.

Let's continue:
4. After the rubber band-gel medium surface is dry, spread the wax cream all over. Since it's wax (not paint) it will go heavily on the bands, and much lighter on the under-surface. You won't recognize them as rubber bands any more!

I got this idea from a popular technique typically used on picture frames, wooden boxes and other things where you would want to alter the surface. You can put papier mache, clay, or plaster on a simple frame, in order to create a decorative surface (like the rubber bands and gel medium) then paint with a dark color or antique medium. Then rub the wax cream over this. It's very pretty.

Here is a picture of the technique being done on a plain wooden box, using plaster instead of my rubber band concoction. You can see the steps. The bottom left picture shows the actual wax cream being applied.

Click on the image to make it larger.
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1 comment:

  1. very interesting and unique art.


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