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Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Two posts in one day that's a huge feat for me!! Any how this post is to brag and show you how I make my recycled, upcycled and repurposed glass garden flowers. This is an easyish, is that a word? it is on my blog, project but it requires a huge amount of patience. The first is to be selective when choosing your glass. Trust me on this one I have a drawer of glass that I picked up only to later realize that it would be darn near impossible to get a good adhesion with. You have to clean your glass, first with soapy water and dry then right before using with rubbing alcohol. I would also recommend wearing latex gloves to wipe down with alcohol and to continue wearing while handling you glass pieces. It's just a theory but I do think that the oils and lotions on our grubby little fingers can affect adhesion. And finally it take supreme patience to wait for the glue to dry, it can take anywhere from hours to days. I even waited a week before it was finally secure. So just relax and make sure you have a place to keep your work where it won't be in your way. Ok, that's my pre-advice now one to how its done. Sorry I don't really have a step by step since I wasn't blogging at the time I made these flowers.  So now use this advice and pick yourself up so glass. Think about how you want to layer the pieces together making your flower, look for small glasses or cups for centers, and look for colors that compliment each other while catching the sun. I know I'm a bit fussy.
Ok, so you have your glass pieces now go out and get yourself some hockey pucks. You'll use the pucks as the back of glass flowers. I know its odd but go with it. I picked mine up a local sporting goods store that usually has 40% coupons called Dunhams. You'll want to drill a hole on the side that hockey puck we did 5/8ths because that's a common size for rebar, more on rebar later.You may be asking yourself how to I attach my glass to the puck and to itself? I have had success with a product by the name of Lexel. It is a soft co-polymer rubber caulk that dries crystal clear and doesn't yellow. I was able to find Lexel locally at Ace Hardware, but you can use the about link to find a Lexel retailer near Lexel® Sealant (13013) - 12 Pack - Ace Hardware you. You do have to kinda a play with it a little some glass pieces adhere better with a thin coat other like a thick coat. Go with your gut. I know that seems incredibly vague and if I was reading a tutorial that said that I'd be like really! But honestly, it's art not science. So don't sweat it. Really relax.
Well now you have your hockey puck drilled 5/8th, your glass is all cleaned, your wearing your gloves and Lexel is standing by at the ready. First step is to rough up your puck by giving it a quick sanding, this helps you get very good bond. Then using the sand paper again rough up the area of the glass that you are gluing to the hockey puck. Re-clean both areas with the rubbing alcohol to make them dust free. Apply the Lexel to your puck, I used a bead around the perimeter and then zig-zag through the middle. Press you glass down on to your puck. I did it this way so that I could watch the glue spread out and do little twist to try to remove air bubbles. Now don't go all OCD trying to remove all bubbles just do the best you can do when the Lexel is wet. Make sure your puck is centered on the glass. I then used something like a heavyish (again new word) book to apply pressure while glue dries. Remember my advice of be patient don't add any more pieces until you have a successful bond. I know it's hard to wait when all you want to do is create. That's why I start a bunch of first step flowers at once. A bit of assembly line kinda thinking. Remember be patient. Check your bond every day and do NOT proceed it you don't have a good bond.
After you have achieved good adhesion you can now prep your next glass piece. Make sure you rough up edges of the glass you are now going to glue down. Does that make sense? I think so. Apply a bead of caulk on the edge, if you have a flat surface apply the zig-zags. Press to adhere and if possible weigh down, if not don't sweat it. Repeat this down the line for the rest of your hockey puck prepped pieces. And again wait. Patience is the key to success. It might take a couple of days before bonding is complete. Just a little patience...

On a personal note a good rule of thumb is a maximum of 3 items per glass flower. I find it starts to get quite heavy and really pulls down on the bond between the puck and the first piece of glass.But by all means if you have a good bond and you think it'll work Go For It! I have 4 items on the blue plate flower because the last little yellow glass ball was extremely light.
Your flower is now complete and looking beautiful and your wondering what do I use to stake these up. In the true spirit of recycling and repurposing I have used old metal bars I had laying around from a crib that had a drop side. We used a sawzall to cut off the curved end and viola garden stake. I have also used 5/8th rebar. Rebar is a common steel bar, and is commonly used as a tensioning device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures holding the concrete in compression. Getting pretty technical there. You can pick up rebar from any home improvement store and some will even cut it to what ever size you need, don't worry they are sold in smaller lengths. You can paint your rebar green or copper or whatever color tickles your fancy. Pound your rebar or whatever metal stake you choose, make sure it'll properly hold the weight of the flower, into the ground. Again use your good judgement about how deep to go. You are looking for a sturdy foundation. Push your hockey puck flower onto the rebar, it sometimes take some pressure to get it to slide on. And your done. 
I leave my flowers out in the rain but they do come in for the winter. I just don't think it's a good idea to leave your glass out in the snowy weather.
construction adhesive for marble, granite & moreOn the flower pictured on the left I found the Lexel bond wasn't strong enough to hold up that milk glass vase. After some trial and error I used a Liquid Nails Marble & Granite and Solid Surface Materials Adhesive. It doesn't dry clear but for what I wanted to do it didn't matter. I also used this to adhere the vase to the plate. That vase was unusually heavy.
All the flowers featured here are on their second spring and summer in my Mom's garden. Still going strong!

So after making these flowers I was inspired to make little plate towers, but that is a story for a new post:)
If you have any questions or would like to share your projects please leave a comment I try to check back everyday. 

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1 comment:

  1. These are so fun to make. But to let you know the lexol adhesive does not hold up in the sun. It melts right off and the plates come apart!