Thursday, 5 July 2012

Flowers Cubed

I thought it would be a really cool project to try and cast flowers in clear resin. Preferably with the flowers looking like they were picked seconds ago. Problem is there can not be any water in the flower left at all so having it look fresh and plump is very difficult. There are some recipes on the Internet that prepare flowers for casting in resin. They tend to use tri butanol as a drying agent and citric acid as a way to keep the acidity correct for keeping the colours. They also use thiourea, I think to fix the colours. 

The resin itself was easy enough to find in the hobby store but finding the chemicals to dry out the flowers proved difficult. So for my first try I used acetone and a bit of citric acid on a dicentra flower. As you can see the experiment was not an unmitigated success.

The flower actually retained much more colour than you can see here coming out of the acetone mix, problem is probably that the heat produced while the resin sets caused a draining of colour. As a mold I used a ice cube tray. Even though this experiment did not work out very well I think I have enough points I can improve for the next try.

1. I should either procure the tri butanol and thiourea or try the acetone mix with a white flower.

2. The acetone (and I think the tri butanol as well) does a great job of drying out the flower but because of that it loses that fresh quality. I should try to add some glycerin to keep the petals looking plumb.

3. It might be best to try a less complicated flower, the dicentra proved difficult because of it's shape making it very hard to remove air bubbles.

4. Air bubbles are horrible. Poking them with a needling and forcing them to the edge gets rid of them but in that process you are likely to  damage the flower.

5. The ice cube mold is not ideal. First of all it is not a perfect square, but it also does not produce perfect edges. I could sand the edges off course but this seems like a lot of trouble.

6. It might not be a bad idea to try and let the resin set in a cooler environment to try and keep the thermal reaction to a minimum.

In conclusion, once I get my hands on some more equipment and ingredients I am sure I can produce a better specimen than this one.

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