My final result project is a northern lights inspired candle holder/cover. The change from a sun-catcher to a candle cover stemmed from two events; a classmates blog post suggestion and candles I’ve been gifted. Someone suggested I add water to my project, to help capture as well as disperse sunlight. I loved this suggestion, but had trouble incorporating it into my design (see upcycle: progress post). My sun catcher isn’t perfectly level, I wasn’t confident in what material I use to hold the water, and I wanted to be able to replace & change the water. All those issues led me to change from an hanging sun catcher, to one that stands, with an open top. I decided on an empty candle/candle holder to store the water, and remembered I’d been gifted a few small scented candles I never use – Instead of throwing the candle away and storing water, my sun catcher could instead be the candle holder and cover.
I ran into a multitude of problems while making my “northern lights.” First, at the beginning, I didn’t love the progress, but didn’t know how to fix it – and I felt it was too late in the game to change everything. Using ornaments instead of Christmas lights gave it a cold, harsh feel, and no light could go through. It wasn’t until I was more than halfway done when I discovered I could rub off the inside coating and make the glass more see-through. I changed what I could, but whenever I tried to wipe the inside of pieces already glued together, they broke off. I left what I had and only scraped new pieces. Second, my project is fairly flimsy. While ornaments are sturdier than I expected, once they broke, they continued to break apart when I handled them. I ended up adding some tin-foil for support – I was able to cover them with ornament pieces that I left opaque. As a bonus, the tin foil allowed me to make the item larger, since the foil is so flexible. I would have used it sooner to create a smoother finish, and a larger final piece. My final problem is all the hot glue – it drips everywhere, loose strands adhered all over my project, and globs oozed out if I used too much. I tried using various items to scrape the extra glue off, but I haven’t been very successful, and a couple times broke the pieces I was trying to clean.
Despite all these setbacks, I am satisfied with my “personal, portable” northern lights. Since I didn’t use all the light bulbs or ornaments, I’m going to try to create a “lid” using the tin-foil and left over ornaments. I may also see if I can find a way to hang my project, so I can alternate between using natural sunlight and candles, depending on my mood or what time of day it is. As an engineer and not an artist, I started off disliking this assignment, and discovered I enjoyed the arts and crafts part of it much more than expected.