Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

Close up of the tree trunk. This lamp is quite impressive when viewed in person, she is very excited with his reaction to receiving the lamp! It was hard having to give it to him, we wanted to keep it.

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Comment by BeanDrop on September 10, 2016 at 9:34pm

Awww thanks so much Christain. :) Yeah, we thought an oven long mit-like cozy to put over the top of lavas to warm up faster would be a great product!

Comment by Christian BayLee on September 8, 2016 at 8:03am
Thanks so much for the explanation! It's clear there's a lot of work put into this- more than I figured even. This lamp is so gorgeous I don't think I would mind a long startup time at all
Comment by BeanDrop on September 4, 2016 at 11:41pm

Sorry, I'm a bit late to the tutorial party. :) Wow, thanks so much for the nice comments. <3 Nick summed it up pretty well! I actually made a short video on how to make the wood texture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM-fm8TSkPw

I've only done two lamps and neither has been fully tested as far as durability is concerned, so there is quite a bit of risk involved. Both lamps have also had problems. I will try to give you as much info and advice as I can. Please keep me posted if you do it! Maybe you can help prefect the process together? The world needs more custom lava lamps!

The first lamp I made was a black and white Giger inspired one... Nick probably has a picture floating around somewhere. The lamp heated up fast, no cracking and is still holding up well today. The problem is that the lamp was getting too hot after running it for a few hours. For that lamp I applied Kato Polyclay Translucent.Straight to the base, sculpted, antiqued with black acrylic paint and applied sculpy brand gloss glaze after baking. I baked using directions on the box.

That clay is super stiff and hard to work with; my hand were aching by the end of it.You can mix in some Vaseline and run through a pasta maker or clay machine to soften it up. Rolling it quickly in your hand or heating it with body heat will also help the process along.

For the tree lamp here, I clumped up chunks of foil and applied around the lamp base to create the rooty-like texture. "Rooty" is a word right? ;) Then wrapped foil around the chunks to hold them in place. I then marbled Polyform Sculpey Original Polymer Clay with brown and yellow, and used a a broken felting needle to make the texture (i didn't own any sculpting tools at the time) :) The video will go over that part of it though. I ran into a problem when it came time to bake. I didn't want to stand it up in the oven because the top and bottom would be very close to the heating elements, so I laid it on its side. Part of the clay was smashed in during the bake. I just covered it with some moss. If I was to do over i would probably but it in a tub of baking soda.. my friend Barbara made a great video on that.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBuhC5u2aUg Putting in baking soda also helps leach out the water making the clay less prone to breaking. Putting into a freezer straight after baking is supposed to also help also.

Comment by BeanDrop on September 4, 2016 at 11:41pm

 After baking I antiqued w a brown acrylic paint, glued on:

Super Moss 21669 Reindeer Moss Preserved, Chartreuse, 8-Ounce
Super Moss 21669 Reindeer Moss Preserved, Chartreuse, using 'Elmer's Glue-All'. I added tiny polymer clay mushrooms that I sculpted and then painted with acrylic paint. Then glued on plastic vines that I found from the floral section of Hobby Lobby. Applying the vines was really hard. I think I ended up using a shit ton of super glue and holding precariously for what seemed like hours, lol. Apply those last! they didn't want to stay on for me. The tiny white flowers are plastic flowers from Hobby Lobby that I ripped off of another plant.
The tree lamp was impossible to get going. We left it on for 8+ hours and no lava flow. :( Nick came up with the clever solution to cover the glass with a towel to help hold the heat it. It worked. Once it got going, it was golden. I did have lots of cracks, which weren't that big of a deal with the wood texture, but would be if you were to do another design. I just covered the cracks with some more brown acrylic paint.
I now have a better understanding on polymer clay/construction process and would do a few things different:
#1) Use a harder clay, like poly clay, or even research a tough polymer clay that very durable. Maybe one that doll makers use for faces?
#2) Use less foil and compact it tighter, maybe even wrap it with a bunch of wire so that the clay would go onto a more solid structure. I could feel the clay pressing in slightly when picking it up. Not good.
#3) Bake it a bit longer than what the box recommended.. probably an extra 15 minutes or so.
#4) My brother-in-law says the moss is still doing good (2 years later,) but I really do not know how often he uses the lamp. If I was to do over, I would probably use green needle felting wool, apply glue to it and make a faux moss.
Haha, sorry it's a long run-on post. :) Please let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!! :) <3
Comment by Keith on August 29, 2016 at 1:07pm

Beandrop, tell us how!!

Comment by Christian BayLee on August 29, 2016 at 11:19am
Thanks voxul, I really appreciate it!
Comment by VOXul on August 29, 2016 at 10:37am

Thank you Christian! I am going to have to get her to write up a short tutorial on the process but I believe she used tin foil to build up a rough layout of the trunk and craggy bark, polymer clay over the foil to form the bark and mushrooms, various clay scrapers to texture the clay bark, glass paints to color ( I think), live moss and plastic accents (flowers, vines,) to decorate around the trunk. I know one thing we ran into was extended warmup tim. We think it has to do with the foil base layer robbing the heat off of the lamp though the clay does not get too hot when running. I will chat her up and get her in here for a nice rundown of the project.

Comment by Christian BayLee on August 26, 2016 at 10:21am
Absolutely amazing. I was wondering what kind of clay she used and a little of her process to make it? Trying to get my artsy sister to consider making me one. Thanks!
Comment by VOXul on October 16, 2015 at 6:51pm

It will make you stare at the base before you even look at the wax!

Comment by Aladdin 2 Lava on October 14, 2015 at 3:51pm

Beauty is in the detail.


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