September Scrawlr Box

I had a most excellent surprise when I opened the September Scrawlr Box.  The featured artist was one of my favourite artists.  Kasey Golden!

And then when I opened the little tissue parcel and saw the supplies, I got even more excited.  Viviva watercolour sheets!  I’d seen these on a lot of YouTube videos earlier in the year and I had considered getting some, but as ever, I just never got around to it.

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The mechanical pencil is awesome.  Very smooth, and it erases perfectly.  I’ve been using it as my go to pencil ever since.

The fineliner is.. well it’s a fineliner.  I have discovered that it does NOT like alcohol markers though, so I’ve put it with my watercolour stuff so I don’t ink a marker piece by mistake.

And the paints!

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They are so bright and so creamy and so vibrant.  Not chalky in the slightest.  The gimmick for the Viviva colour sheets is that the paint is a thin layer, on a page in a little notebook.  And it works really well.

The colours are different from how they look on the sheet.  Some of them are VERY different.  But the book comes with little spaces for swatching each colour.

The little book also comes with an extra sheet for you stick in the back, and use as a mixing palette.

The texture of the palette is a little weird, and I prefer using my ceramic plate, but it’s a cute little addition.

The theme was bugs, and after a cute little glow worm I drew a few days before for something else…

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… I was more than happy to stick to the theme.  I drew out a selection of cute not-very-realistic bugs and inked it.  I inked in the black parts too, because it’s hard to get a saturated black with these paint sheets.

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By this point it was late in the day and I was beginning to get a bit tired.  I didn’t wanna start painting it because I knew I’d stay up til it was finished and it would take forever and I’d make mistakes.

So instead I did some more swatches, and some practice pieces.

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I discovered a few things here.  It’s hard to do a wash.  It’s difficult to keep the paint moist, or to see how moist it is.  And no matter how dry the paint is, it picks up really easily.  Too easily.  Adjoining sections will bleed.

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I did some of the DearAnnArt tutorials that I mentioned in this post last month.

Then when I was nice and refreshed, I took on the bugs.

The paints are awesome.  They’re extremely beautiful.  Every time I put colour to paper I was stunned at how gorgeous it was.  It’s hard to tell how much paint you’re picking up though.  It’s hard to tell if you’re getting saturated or paler colour, although that could just be my skill level.

The pad itself is very clever.  The partition sheets work well.  It ends up a little messy, but my Sakura Koi are just as messy.

I only got a little way through, when I got distracted and went to visit a friend for a few days.  When I came back I discovered that even 4 days of letting the paint dry doesn’t stop it being easy to pick up – as demonstrated by the bleeding red on the ladybird here.

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I tried to be extra careful when finishing the piece, but I managed to make a mess in some places – especially the poor dragonfly.

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I did considering shading the bugs, but given the issues with picking up paint, I was a little bit terrified to try.  Which made me wonder how well layering and glazing would work with these paints?

I am happy with the piece though.  They’re adorable, and so bright.  I was a little annoyed by the mess I made of the dragonfly, so I scanned it and tried to edit it a little, and I’m not sure how I did.  I got a little bogged down in detail again.

For instance, can you discern any difference in these?

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There are differences.  I spent so much time fixing every detail.  Fixing the orange on the dragonfly, tidying up every little bit of paint that went outside the line, cleaning up any bits where the paint bled, and patching up any white gaps.  Each picture is a different step in that process.

But I’m fully aware that you can’t really see those details unless you zoom right in.  I need to stop being so perfectionist when it comes to digital art.

Anyway, here’s the finished piece 🙂

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Huetember

At the end of November last year, Kasey Golden posted her YouTube video for Huevember 2018.

Being the end of the month, I had already worked out what supplies I was using – you can read about my Huevember here.  But I loved the supplies Kasey used.  She used Ohuhu markers, and I was very much obsessed with mine.  Still am a little bit.

I decided that I’d save the palette, and do it for Huevember 2019.  I didn’t have all of the right colours at the time – I only had a small set of Ohuhus, but I had plans to get the bigger set.

Now, it is the start of November 2019, and this must be my Huevember blog post.  Right?

Wrong.

I have a page in my notebook with lists of all the different art challenges I have found online for the different months of the year.  There are many many of them.  I want to try all of them – but even I’m not quite insane enough to do them all at the same time.  So, for a couple of years, I’m going to do a different challenge each time.  Which means no Huevember this year.

But that little palette has been sitting in my notebook taunting me.

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So in September this year, I did Huetember instead.

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Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you might notice a few things here.

First of all, September 11th doesn’t really fit the pattern.  That’s because I’m a bit of an idiot.  September 11, according to Kasey’s palette is Ohuhu #9.  Which is this marker…

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I wrote down #9.  Unfortunately, one of the problems with that set of Ohuhu markers – that every single YouTube review of them has pointed out – is this.

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When I got my set I countered this problem by doing this.

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And yet when I was making out my swatch sheet for Huetember, I still picked the wrong flipping marker.

The second issue you might have spotted is with September 19th.  September 19th is Ohuhu #76.  I did the swatch sheet when I first got my larger set of Ohuhu markers, but by the time I got around to Huetember, the #76 had run out and been thrown away. (I really wish Ohuhu let you buy individual markers – some of my favourite colours have run out).  So I ended up using a marker that was as close as possible to the right colour.

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The final issue is a simple one.  Apparently I forgot to do a colour swatch under the September 30th monster.

I really enjoyed making these little monsters.  I enjoy making monsters in general.  These have been scanned into my computer and at some point I’m going to edit them and clean them up with the hopes of making stickers or something.

 

13 Days of Halloween – The Big Spook

13 days of halloween

You might have noticed little random images at the end of the last 12 blog posts.  They were sneak peaks for this.  This is the grand finale for my 13 Days of Halloween series.

It is the biggest, most complicated and detailed art piece that I have ever done.  It has taken me two months, and I have kept it a secret from everyone except my boyfriend Tom.  I suck at secrets, and it has been torture!

Instead of the usual how-I-did-it build up, I’m just going to post the final piece.  Here it is.

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I am absolutely in love with it.  I can see ten million mistakes and things that I would have done differently, but I am really pleased with it.

There are 41 “pop culture” Easter eggs – most of them witch- or magic-themed.  How many can you spot?  I’ll post the answers in a few days.

Here’s a short gif showing the progress.

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This piece also triggers a new phase in my store – which you’ll hear all about in seven days, so keep an eye out for that.

What do you think?  Any feedback or critiques?  How many of the Easter eggs can you spot?

 

13 Days of Halloween – Bats

13 days of halloween

October 22nd was my birthday.  And of the many gifts I received, one of my favourites was this one from my boyfriend Tom.

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It’s a 3D printing pen, and it came with all kinds of goodies, including a whole bunch of filament (there was actually more than this, I took the picture after I’d been playing with it a bit already), some templates, an instruction manual, an opportunity to get more filament, a stand and two finger guards.  As well as a plug and a power cable.  It also came with a sheet of clear plastic, but that’s impossible to photograph.

It took a while to comprehend the instructions and figure out how the pen works, but now that I know, it’s relatively straight forward.  When you plug it in, you can select what filament you’re using.  This pen works with both PLA and ABS filament – the filament that it came with it is PLA.

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Once you’ve selected that you can select one of three speeds – which you can change at any point…

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..and then when you confirm those settings it starts to heat up.  You can see the temperature as it rises, which is pretty cool.  When the green light comes on…

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…you can insert the filament in the end.

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It will take a few seconds for the filament to reach the nozzle – depending on your speed of course.  Once it reaches the nozzle, and the heat, it starts to extrude from the nib.  You’ll have a few seconds of the wrong colour while it works out the remainder of whatever colour you use before.

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And then you can get drawing.  The first thing I drew was three squarish panels that I attempted to stick together.  Before I took those pictures above, obviously.

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I also used a nail polish bottle as a mold to make a messy little cup thing.

Once I’d got to grips with handling the tool I had a go at actually making something, and ended up with a rather wonky looking birthday cupcake.

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Then I decided that the bat on the template sheet was a little too cute to resist much longer.  I taped the sheet to my cutting mat and taped the plastic sheet on top.

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I approached it the way I’ve seen people do pancake art.  Back to front.  With the eyes and details first, then filling in the main colour.  The plastic sheet I suspect is designed so that the melted filament doesn’t stick to the template, but it doesn’t stick even a little bit.  If you nudge a piece, it moves completely.  Which is why my little bat ended up with no mouth.

The plastic sheet does give the front a nice flat shiny look though.  The “colouring” is very scribbly.  I’m sure there are techniques for doing all this stuff properly, but for this I just wanted to play.

Over the next few days though I did do a bunch of research.  I found a whole bunch of tutorials and templates on the 3Doodler website.  The 3Doodler was the original 3D printing pen, and a great source for ideas and help.  And I found a pdf tutorial for making a 3D bat.

It begins with drawing a template, and taping it down.

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I did the two half circles easily, and was super impressed with how I did the wing.  I did it in segments, with nice straight back and forth lines to fill – just like my research showed me.

It wasn’t until after I’d done the second wing that I realised I should have flipped it.  The flat shiny sides were going to be in different locations on the bat.

I tried holding the two pieces of the body in place to stick them together, but had trouble keeping the bottom piece in place, so I ended up securing it on a kneadable eraser.

Securing the wings was a bit simpler.

I started to give the bat a bit more body, and add texture to the shiny sides of the wings….

..when I ran out of black filament.  I might finish it off when I get more, but it looks pretty awesome for now.

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I had found two more stencils that I wanted to try.  One was actually a stencil, and one was a photo of a necklace that I wanted to mimic.  I shrank the photo to the size I wanted, printed it, and taped it under the plastic sheet.

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And I had four attempts in a gold filament.  My first attempt – top left – was a little messy.  My second attempt – top right – tried to get the filigree detail, but either my skill isn’t good enough or my nib was too thick, maybe both.  My third attempt – bottom left – was done with a consistent circular motion.  My fourth attempt – bottom right – was done with straight lines.  Of the four, I think the last two have the cleanest looking backs.  But then, with a pendant you don’t really need to have a particularly clean back.

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The other stencil was a bigger bat, with the same sort of filigree detail.  The plastic sheet was kinda giving up the ghost at this point.  I’ll have to find an alternative.

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For this piece I wanted to try an experiment.  When the filament shrinks below the end of the pen, the pen stops.  You can eject the remaining filament – and there’s about this much left…

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There’s plenty there to work with, but the pen won’t work unless there’s filament sticking out of the end.  So you can connect more of the same colour if you have it, or any other colour.  The problem with adding other colours is that you get that little blended bit before the colour change.  Which is what I wanted to take advantage of.

I cut a bunch of short, random strips of a sort of rainbow.  There wasn’t a green in the set that came with the pen, just the little dayglo yellow that I did my initial test with.

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I ended up with a really nice effect.  Probably a bit too much red.  Maybe I should do an experiment and test how much line length I can get with a certain amount of filament.

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I should have stopped there.  But I didn’t.  I started to fill in the spaces with grey.  I started nice and neatly on the left, but got tired and more messy by the end.

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For some completely unknown reason I decided to thicken the piece by adding a layer of grey, and then ran out of the grey before the end.

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As I said, I should have stopped at the rainbow.  Maybe if the grey had been tidier and more consistent.  When I get more filament I think I’ll definitely try this rainbow blend method again though.

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I am really happy with this new toy, and I will be doing research and many many more projects.


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13 Days of Halloween – Haunted House

13 days of halloween

At the start of October I saw this post from The Diva’s Weekly Zentangle Challenge on Facebook.

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I haven’t really done any Zentangle in ages, and I had just decided I wasn’t doing Inktober this year, and I had committed to doing this blog challenge.  But despite all that, I was intrigued.  I Googled “Inktober Tangles” and found the source on Everything Is Art.

There was no way I was going to manage a tile a day, so I figured maybe I could kill 31 birds with one stone and do a single art piece, that I could then use for one of these Halloween blogs.  32 stones!

I sketched out a rough idea…

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…and planned to fill each part of the image with a different tangle.  I ended up adding more elements as the month went along to make 31 spaces to fill.

A few of the tangles were ones that I already knew, but the rest were new to me which was really fun.  Some were very easy to fit into the spaces, some were a lot more difficult.  There are more than a few that I now want to take away and do a Zentangle tile with, to really do the pattern justice.  They may show up later.

I won’t link all the individual tangle instructions here, but there are links to them all on that Everything Is Art page. Obviously I didn’t quite do them one day at a time either.  I had about five or six sessions over the month, but I got all 31 done, that’s what’s important.

Here’s my completed piece.

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Day 1: Printemps – the top bat

Day 2: TunnelVizion – the pumpkin

Day 3: Toodles – the centre hill on the right

Day 4: Zonked – the leftmost gravestone

Day 5: Jalousie – the house

Day 6: Flukes – the tree

Day 7: Huggins – the rightmost gravestone

Day 8: Bales – the second gravestone from the left

Day 9: Lola – the lower bat

Day 10: Cubine – the cauldron

Day 11: InaFlux – the skull

Day 12: Floo – the ghost in the tree

Day 13: Yin-Cut – the cat

Day 14: Arukas – the moon

Day 15: Maryhill – the leftmost potion

Day 16: Trentwith – the spider

Day 17: Dreamdex – the right side ghost

Day 18: Sindoo – the path

Day 19: Diva Dance – the tree by the house

Day 20: Antidots – the left side ghost

Day 21: Batumber – the hill with the house on

Day 22: Abundies – the second gravestone from the right

Day 23: Pixioze – the bottom hill on the right

Day 24: Baton – the rightmost potion

Day 25: Tripoli – the hill on the left

Day 26: Ratoon – the left witch

Day 27: Crescent moon – the middle potion

Day 28: Well, Well, Who – the middle gravestone

Day 29: Kuke – the right witch

Day 30: Nik – the flying witch

Day 31: Florz – the big cloud

and because I split the cloud into two by mistake when outlining it, I stippled in the small one.


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13 Days of Halloween – The Grim Reaper

13 days of halloween

This was a bit of a spontaneous one.  I have a whole list of ideas and plans for this series, which I’ll probably come back to next year because I’ve had a whale of a time doing it and many many more than 13 plans.  But the idea for this one just crept up out of nowhere.

I searched Pinterest for “Halloween origami”.  This was the first thing that popped up.  How could I resist?

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The link lead to this page which has both a diagram and a video.  Since I was watching tv with my boyfriend at the time, I decided I’d go with the diagram.

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This was a mistake.  I suck at origami diagrams.  Even if I have a key right next to me telling me what all the different arrows mean, I still get confused.  My first attempt looked… weird.  And not just because I didn’t have any black paper.

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My second attempt wasn’t much better either.  He just didn’t look right.

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So I switched to the video, and just about nailed it.

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My boyfriend loved it so much he asked if he could scan it and put it on a Hellraiser-style background.  So I passed it over and moved onto the next thing.  Hmm, maybe a bat?

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Nope, couldn’t read that diagram either.  I tried reverse image searching it but couldn’t find a source or a video for this pattern.  So I let YouTube pick a different bat pattern for me.

Very cute.  Mine ended up a little bit wonky, as all my creations do, but still cute.

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Next up was a pumpkin from this site.  This was so very simple I could just about follow it from the photos and written directions on the site.

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By this point Tom (the boyfriend) was building a whole scene.  The scene just needed some ghosts.

My search led me to Paper Kawaii – who is absolutely excellent with her tutorials by the way.  I’ve watched a ton of her videos before and made a load of the pieces she demonstrates.  I tried this ghost first…

…but managed to make a bit of a mess of it.

So I moved on to the second video on Paper Kawaii’s ghost tutorial page.

This one came out super cute.

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Looking at it now, with the video thumbnail just there too, I think I missed a fold on his head.  Mine is a little more blockheaded.  But he’s still adorable.  And yes, he’s got a stripe of yellow in his tail because the only paper I had with me was a block of rainbow paper.

I wanted more than one ghost in the little scene that Tom and I were building though, and they had to be different.  So I searched for another one and found the most super easy origami pattern ever.

Very simple.  Very cute ghost.

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Tom scanned all my little origami spooks into his computer, did some editing and jiggerpokery and we got this.

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Isn’t it cool?  And then we got talking about possible changes and we fiddled with it for a few hours until we finally ended up with this awesome masterpiece collaboration.

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13 Days of Halloween – Skulls & Eyeballs

13 days of halloween

If you’ve been reading my blog for more than a week you know that I’ve been trying to work with resin.  So naturally I had to include a resin piece for this Halloween series.  I collected dozens of inspiration ideas, of course, and settled on these two.

Both seemed relatively straightforward.  And of course I had to make both very complicated.  Let’s begin with the googly eyes.

I have a few billion of your standard black and white googly eyes, but this called for something a bit more special.  So I bought more eyes.  You can never have too many eyes.

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I laid them out in my new coaster mold and decided the bigger eyes looked the best. So I poured in some epoxy resin, then pressed in the eyes.

I topped up the mold, and since I had a little resin left, I filled a little pendant mold too.  Then I covered them with my little plastic tub to protect from dust and cat hair, and left them to cure.

Note – the resin might not catch fire when you blowtorch it to remove bubbles, but those little star sequins will.  So watch out for that.

They cured well.  It’s hard to mess up the curing for two part resin, assuming you’ve mixed it correctly.  They did get a little dusty, because I only have one plastic tub and I needed it for another project halfway through.  I need to get another tub.

The biggest problem though, was this.

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The eyes floated in the resin.  It was also at this point where I realised I might actually have done the whole thing upside down.  Should the lip be on the top of the coaster or the bottom?

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Okay, so for take two I placed the eyes the other way up.  I also used a thin layer of UV resin to secure them in place first.

I have absolutely no idea why some of them glow under the UV light and some don’t.  It’s weird and fascinating.  But I topped off the mold with epoxy resin – making a small mess in the process, and set take two aside to cure.

The mess was fun to pick off.

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There was a bit of overspill, but that could probably be clipped and/or filed off.  The coaster came out of the mold easily enough.  The surface was a bit tacky where the UV resin hadn’t had a chance to fully cure.  I placed it in the sun for several hours, and while it cured, it still looked a little odd.

I have since been told that mixing resins like that doesn’t work.  I will probably have a third attempt at this at some point – maybe doing two layers of epoxy resin to make sure the eyes don’t float.

Unfortunately, the second project also has the same issue, because of course I did them all at the same time.

The first problem with the skulls though was that neither of the type that I bought…

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…really fit in any of the molds that I have.

So the skulls piece had to wait a bit while I ordered something new.  I ended up getting an ice cube mold with a silicone bottom.

I made the same mistake with the UV resin because I was convinced that I needed to hold the skulls in place.  I later found out that this was completely and utterly wrong.

I mixed up some epoxy resin and put in a few drops of black colourant.  It looked really… dark.

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I’d UV resin stuck skulls in two molds, but I had much more resin than would fill two molds – the instructions for that resin only has the quantities for mixing 50ml and above.  I could probably work out the math for smaller amounts but I’d need a more detailed syringe.  So I dropped some skulls in and filled as many as I could.

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At this point I was doing the second attempt of the googly eye coaster, and had a few dribbles of leftover clear resin so I did a clear skull piece too, and a tiny one-eyeball thing.

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The ones with the UV resin layer needed a bit of sitting in the sun once the epoxy resin had cured, but they have the same wonky look.  Lesson learned: no more mixing resins.  But the ones without UV resin look freaking awesome.  Turns out the skulls didn’t need fixing in place.

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