Garden art is best described as turning miscellaneous pieces of glass, ceramic, wine bottles, pressed glass, sea glass and metal into an indoor or outdoor sculpture. The real challenge is in building the sculpture with different pieces that were never designed to go together in the first place.
Some important things to keep in mind while planning and working on your garden art project:
1. Key design considerations for long lasting sculptures:
- Avoid tangent and point contact between pieces – make sure there is flat to flat contact between components – the more the better.
- A roughened surface (abraded or sand blasted) will improve performance of the adhesive bond.
- Avoid cantilevered designs that put the adhesive joint in cleavage or peel.
- If the design is outdoors, the glue joints chosen should shed water rather than hold water.
- As we mentioned in our most recent blog entry, “Surface Concerns: Anything But Superficial” – cleanliness is really important. Be sure to clean all components with isopropyl alcohol and make sure the surface is dry before applying adhesive.
- Be sure you don’t move components prior to hard fixturing as this will compromise performance.
- Wherever possible, apply adhesive in a horizontal position and fixture in the same position.
- Flatten rounded edges that will receive adhesive – use a belt sander or silicon carbide paper – and always clean after sanding. Dremel® type tools can also be used to roughen surfaces.
- Attention to detail is important – don’t skip steps in part preparation and fixturing.
3. Understand how to ensure the fixture is cured:
- Establish fixture time using the materials you plan to use to build the structure.
- To determine how long it takes to cure, use the “Rule of 5”: once there is fixture between the pieces, continue to hold the light source on the area for 5 times the amount of time it took you to achieve that initial fixture. Remember, longer is better and won’t affect performance as long as you aren’t using a high powered lamp.
- For colored glass, make sure the glass doesn’t block the light energy needed to cure the adhesive.
- Take the time to frequently make sure your light source is properly functioning – establish a benchmark fixture test and use it on a regular basis to validate cure times.
4. Important safety considerations to remember:
- Most adhesives are mild skin sensitizers, so be sure to throw away used gloves.
- Adhesives have an odor, so work in a well-ventilated area.
- Never look at a UV light source without wearing protective eyewear.
Please feel free to contact us at any point if you have questions about handling these materials and remember: the only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.