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Beware Bad Blobs! March 29, 2010

Posted by Deb Kosiba in Materials.

I needed a red glass blob for a stained glass window I’m working on.  Just one little blob for the center of the piece.  You know the glass blobs I’m talking about.  They come in different sizes and colors and you can usually find them by the bagful at your local craft store.  They are often used in clear vases for floral arrangements, and I use them when I want little bumps in my glass pieces.

Needing one of these blobs in red, I headed over to my local Michael’s.  They had plenty of glass blobs, in loads of colors, in little mesh bags for $2.50  So I picked up a bag of red blobs.  When I got them home I dumped them out to find the best one for my needs.

Because they really are just blobs of glass, they tend to come in varying states of not-quite-round.  They also vary slightly in size so I need to go through them to find the roundest of the bunch and from those choose the one that is closest to the size I need.

So I’m going through the blobs and I notice some of them are not evenly red.  They kind of fade off to clear at the edges.  I find this very odd, since it’s red glass and it shouldn’t behave that way.  Maybe it’s just how the light is moving through the blob.  I continue to be puzzled by this until I run across the one with the clear speckles.

Clear speckles in a blob of red glass.

I realize that the color issues I am seeing are due to the fact that these are not red glass blobs.  These are clear glass blobs that have been painted red.

Just to be sure, I scrape at the blobs with my xacto and the paint chips right off.  I scrape a few more just to be sure.  Some are painted on the top, some are painted on the bottom.

I can’t use any of them.  Since I’m working in stained glass, I’m using heat and chemicals and scrubbing on patinas and no paint would stand up to the process.

As a cross reference, I test the blue glass blobs I bought from Michael’s in December.  No paint scrapes off.  These are real blue glass blobs through and through.

The blue blobs from December are real, the red blobs from March are fake. At this point I’m thinking that maybe Michael’s changed vendors, or their vender changed the manufacturing process, in order to reduce costs.

Since I’m scraping blobs anyway, I scrape the yellow ones I bought from Wal-Mart last summer.  No paint scrapes off.  These are real yellow glass blobs through and through.

OK, the yellow blobs from WM are real, lets go buy some red blobs from WM.  We head out there, they have a bag of red glass blobs, which I buy for $3.00.  I get them home, pull one out and have at it with the xacto.

And I scrape off a nice chunk of red paint.

I’ll say this though, the paint job was much better, more evenly covered, and a much richer color than the Michael’s blobs.  And they all seem to be painted on the top, so at lest they are consistent about the paint job.

But they still are painted and I still can’t use them.

This morning I stopped in at my local stained glass supplier and bought 4 red glass blobs at 13 cents each.  I know these are solid red glass and I can finally finish that window.

So what is the point of all this?

1 Double check your materials.

2 Don’t assume that if you bought it from the same place before that it will be the same quality this time.

3 Look for paint, even if paint isn’t expected.

4 Keep your receipts.

And since I didn’t follow my own advice for point 4,  I now have 2 bags of painted red glass blobs that need a home.  I can’t use them, but you might. If you are interested, head on over to my contact page and let me know.  I’m not going to spend money to ship them anywhere, but if you live in the Chicago area I’ll be happy to meet with you for coffee.


Product review – Montana Gold Spray Paint December 31, 2009

Posted by Deb Kosiba in Materials.
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Ok, maybe not so much a review as a gushing. I love Montana Gold and I’m going to tell you why.

At work we had been using whatever brands the designers happened to run across. Everything from your basic RustOleum or Krylon (of the two Krylon is better but harder to find) to short cans of Testors from hobby stores, to $1 cans of random brands picked up at Michaels.

Then one day one of our designers heard about Montana Cans brand spray paint. The first I had heard about it was the day I came in and the walls of the spray booth were covered in grafitti (there was paper on the walls). The designer had a rep from Montana Cans come in to do a demo of their product. The designer was was sold and so he started picking up their paint for his projects. Well, the stuff is so good that once I had a chance to use it I was sold too.

Some reasons why I love this spray paint

  • The paint goes down smooth and even, with no dripping. Almost like a sticky powder instead of a liquid paint.
  • It dries quickly and has no issues with multiple coats.
  • It is definitely a matte finish, the best you might get is a low gloss, so no fakey painted plastic look.
  • It is very hard to get buildup, which could be good or bad, depending on your usage.
  • It seems to stick to anything, I no longer scuff and prime when painting plastic parts.
  • And it doesn’t chip.

Have I mentioned that their color selection is amazing? 182 colors, any subtle shade you might want. With Montana Gold, you are no longer stuck with the 8 most popular colors your hardware store decides to carry. They have a color chart on their web site, which is pretty close to reality, depending on your monitor. If you can pick out the colors in person, the color on the top of the can perfectly matches the color in the can.

One Problem
The only drawback I’ve noticed so far is if you need to do detail work with a small brush, you can’t do that thing where you unload some of the paint into a cup and then use it like a regular paint. It dries too fast and just gums up the paint brushes. I tried thinning it with various solvents but it curds up into unusable lumps. But seriously, that’s my only complaint.

To Cap It Off
When you buy your Montana Gold, you will need to consider spray caps. If you buy online they will often come with a “standard” cap which I believe is also called a “skinny cap beige”. It’s ok, but sometimes a little weak, depending on what you need. For broader coverage and heavier output, try out a “skinny cap 2” and a “fat cap pink” and see what works best for you. If you want to go wild, Montana has 17 different caps from “ultra skinny” to “ultra fat” and a “calligraphy” cap for filling large areas.

What does it cost?
Montana Gold is a little pricy, running around $8-$10 per can, and if you buy it online you will have to pay shipping on top of that. Yes, it’s a lot more than the generic stuff you can pick up at your big box home improvement store for $2.95, but it is totally worth it.

Obligatory Disclaimer
None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They did not send me free samples to use. This post is totally about me telling you about a product I use and love.

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Do you have a product you love to use when creating your own 3-D SF&F Art? I would love to hear about it! Head over to the contact page right now and tell me!