Monday, September 28, 2015

Cut Glass Rainbow Plate

I love wandering around the Dollar Tree but until recently the glass and dinnerware section wasn't very interesting- after all, I already have several sets of dishes and drinking glasses that we don't use and have no decorative purpose. With the exception of some colored wine glasses I kept coming back to, nothing was appealing to me until I saw a stack of cut glass plates that reminded me of an old Anchor Hocking pattern, the Star of David (click here for examples). I resisted the urge to buy several but did grab a single one and started thinking about what I could do with it.

Available at the DollarTree, link here.

To me, the grooves in the plate were begging for some color so I first tried my trusty Sharpies but I ran into the same problem I've had before- on slick surfaces like glass (or the cover of a Five Star notebook), one stroke of a Sharpie might remove the previous one if they overlap and that wouldn't work here since I wanted the color concentrated and even. I then considered and rejected the idea of metallic acrylic paint in favor of something with more sparkle- nail polish.

Because one of my other hobbies is/was making nail polish, I had a massive collection of "paint" to choose from, in an array of colors and finishes. If it's your project, of course you can use any type you want and it will still look fabulous but I chose a set of polishes I'd created for my nail polish jewelry because I knew they looked good under glass. Brightly colored, they have plenty of sparkle but are also a touch metallic so it was fairly easy to build up the color. Plus if for some reason I used it up, I had the ingredients here to mix up more.

I like certain colors but I'm hard pressed to choose only a few so for this, I went rainbow. In between coats and still drying, the plate is shown with the polishes used.

The rest of the project I'm going to go through step by step in the order I did them, usually alternating between the outer edge and the center star, but feel free to paint them in whatever order is easiest for you.

The first (and easiest) part was filling in the middle of the grooves along the outer edge of the plate (saving the center star for last which requires more attention to detail). With the plate laying flat, and starting at the "top of the hill", I used the brush to drop polish (an average of 5 per color), into the individual groove and tilted the plate so the polish would gravitate "down hill". Because it will dry thicker in those places, you won't have to go back over it as many times. I didn't let it go all the way to end of the channel because I would fill in the sides and points later.

By the time I worked my way around the plate it was dry enough to start filling in the center using the same method of drop-and-tilt. The channels are much smaller here so I only needed about 3 drops each, careful to keep away from the sides, point and center as much as possible. 


After that, lighting and angle became a lot more important. The plate is clear glass and that made it difficult to see exactly where I was going to be putting the brush. My Ottlite had to be angled so the light fell just right and the plate angled as well. The photo below shows how the plate sat as I worked on it (the blue is Dollar Tree shelf liner; the rubbery texture kept it from sliding around on me).
I returned to the outer edge to start filling in the sides of each groove. With the brush. I got as close as I dared to the point (the indentation here is so shallow, the edge starts to disappear) and painted it in, working from point to center (right to left), one full rotation. Working from left to right to fill in the opposite side(s) required another light adjustment to be able to see the free edge and I repeated the process. Then I went through the entire thing again to add a second coat. Repeat as necessary for full coverage.

When I was done it looked something like this:

In the above photo, I used a red dry erase marker to help define the edges of the points before I filled them in and "erased" it when the plate was dry.

The rest of this plate I completed using a dotting tool, example below in case you don't know what that is (but if you do any nail art, you probably already have one).

If you're good with a fine tip paint brush, you might be able to paint in the points but I felt I'd have more control if I used a dotting tool- paint brush bristles move around but the tool is only going where I put it, theoretically. A steady hand is also helpful.

I have no pictures to illustrate my point here but to fill in the rest of the grooves, I would drop a couple drops of polish near the part I was I filling in and use the dotting tool to push/pull it where I wanted it to go, drawing it as close to the edges as I could. And then repeated the process, when necessary, to achieve full coverage.

I did not address the circle I filled in, in the middle of the plate but that part was simple- I dropped the polish in and let it flow into the color before it. The black band is Sharpie marker, added for a bit of contrast. The dots were added free hand.

After all that, it was a matter of letting it completely dry- I left it alone for close to a week before flipping it over and taking the first set of photographs. I won't flood you with photos but I'll show some of the best ones.

Indoors, under Ottlite

Partial sunlight

Indirect sunlight against white background

Propped up in full sunlight.

Propped up in full sunlight.

If you like mine and decide to make one for yourself, get creative and have fun with it! You don't have to use nail polish, try acrylic paint, glass paint or perhaps even alcohol inks. If you can color things with it, it will probably work.

Since completing this plate I've bought a second one to paint, I'm thinking peacock colors this time... 

Until next time, my dear readers. Now go forth and make something pretty. -MK

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