Wednesday, January 5, 2011
silicone bulb dipping...by Crafty Avenue
*Clear or opaque 100% silicone caulking in a tube (make sure its marked 100% silicone or outdoor silicone, NOT the silicone rubber caulking)
OR use Crafty Avenue's new Silicone Dip in a jar
*Night light bulbs, small 5 watt bulbs, or small Christmas lights (you can usually find night light bulbs at the Dollar Tree store)
*Gloves (uncured silicone can irritate your skin)
*A container such as a margarine tub, or yogurt cup if your silicone is in a tube
*Wire or ornament hooks
*Something to hang your bulbs on to cure
*A well ventilated room or do your project outside
*Artist oil paint or oil based model paint
*Scented oil, candle fragrance, or vanilla
*Coffee grounds or cinnamon
Be sure you are in a well ventilated area. The silicone puts off fumes that you may not always be able to smell. First, test out each bulb to make sure it works. You don’t want the aggravation of a gorgeously dipped bulb that doesn’t light up. Next, wrap a length of wire around the metal end of your bulbs, then bend the end into a hook so you can hang them after dipping to cure. Prepare an area to hang your bulbs after they are dipped that won't be disturbed. You can use empty hangers, an indoor clothesline, or a towel rack. I've also seen crafters create a wall specifically for hanging their bulbs... simply bang nails into a board, or directly in your wall to hang the bulbs from. Make sure you have everything set up before you open your silicone, as it will harden quickly.
When dipping, you want to make sure you have enough silicone in your container to completely submerge your bulb; so use your bulb as a measuring guide and mark a fill line on your container. Empty the tube of silicone into your container up to the fill line (you can cut off the end of the tube). To avoid bubbles, squeeze a little of the silicone into your container, then tap the container on a surface to let the bubbles rise to the top; then squeeze some more in, and tap again.
Heat the silicone in your microwave for 60 seconds. Put your gloves on, then stir the silicone slowly until smooth. Be carefull not to stir too quickly or you may get air bubbles. If you'd like to add color, scent, or coffee grounds for a grubby look, add these now (one at a time). When adding color, you only need a pea sized dab of the oil paint, or two drops of the model paint. Add a little at a time. The silicone will look much darker than the finished bulb will be. Use three drops to a 1/2 dropper full of scented oil. The silicone may appear slimmy when you mix in the oil. Continue to mix it into the silicone, until the silicone gets back to normal after about a minute of mixing. Add the coffee grounds or cinnamon last for a grubby looking bulb.
Grip a lightbulb by its wire-covered base, not the wire hook, and push it slowly into the silicone. For a smooth finish, pull the bulb straight up slowly at first, then quicker when you get near the tip to create a long tip. If you twist while dipping, it will give you neat ripples on the bulb. If you get a bump or other flaw you don't like, you can rub it with an ice cube to smooth (but make sure you don’t touch the bulb with your fingers).
If your bulb doesn't look right at all and you want to start over, wipe off as much of the silicone as you can with a paper towel. (Be sure you're wearing gloves!) Then wipe the bulb with a paper towel moistened with isopropyl alcohol to remove any residue. Let the alcohol dry before trying to dip the bulb again.
Hang the bulb up to dry by the wire you attached. Let it cure for about 24 hours without touching it. Use the new country bulb in your candle lamps, and more!
If you've added scented oil or coffee grounds to your silicone, your bulbs may "smoke" at first when plugged in and they are starting to warm. They are just steaming off their scent and coffee, and is not a fire hazard. The smoking will subside over a short time.
Depending on the wattage of your bulb, these can last for years. The tip is to leave them turned on at all times; switching them on and off is what burns the filament. Of course, this is only practical for a night light or perhaps a bulb of 15W or lower.
You can use model paint or oil based paint but I found model paint worked best.To scent them use scented oils or vanilla,I also do the grubby ones with coffee grinds,and yes you can use mineral spirits to thin it but when you use the scented oils that will help but mix it very well,stir,stir, stir and that help heat it up for better dipping.
If you are needing to thin your silicone, you got the wrong stuff. Mine was in a caulking tube, got it at walmart. its clear and its indoor/outdoor. I squezed all the silicone into a plastic dish with a lid, hold the tip close to the bottom that way as the dish fills up its kind of pushing out any air and its more solid in the dish (not looking like a snake all coiled up) I found that swirling it very slowly as you pull out the bulb works best for me. I let mine dry a little while maybe about an hour , then I carefully dipped it in Cinnamon and blew off the excess. They turned out awesome.
read that to color the bulbs you use oil based model car paint. To scent your silicone add essential oils(your choice) or you can roll them in cinimmon after about an hour then blow off excess.Do not stir the paint in, "fold" it in.
I tried this but i mixed cinnamon on the silicone and stirred it up. You can also do the same with acrylic paint and scent and it will come out as a grubby bulb. I haven't got a good clear tip out of it but like how they turned out. I read that you can use mineral spirits to thin it out and I will be trying that out soon.
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