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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A fake fish tale

You may remember we had some fish.
We started with three.

After a while we ended up with one- dubbed Super Awesome after a series of toddler encounters (tank tipping, over feeding, etc).

Super Awesome was doing great until I foolishly tried to be a responsible owner and clean the tank. So...no more Super Awesome. And I didn't want to have to worry about fish again for a while.

For a few weeks I had set aside the aquarium intending to give it away on free cycle or our neighborhood list serve or whatever. But then I saw how much Ranger loved the fish at school and decided to try to make an artificial fish tank.

Let's call this lessons learned (subtitle: at least I managed not to sicken or injure my family).

I had some success with the fake water at the craft store (first layer covering just the rocks) but for some reason my brain didn't compute that 8oz does not equal a gallon. So I ordered more. I wanted the fish at different levels and figured I could live with seams of different batches. I would like to point out that I DID read ALL the instructions. Especially the part about ventilation. That's why I worked right next to an open window. (I can HEAR you rolling your eyes)

The first two layers were decent but then there was the next layer. I impulsively stirred the mix after I had poured it, including a scrape along the wall. So...it came to look like badly frosted window effects.

With the overall look ruined, I decided to make the last layer tilted, mostly because it was the only way to cover most of the third fish, and also because I had hoped for artistic effect. Maybe I could make this project into something like an optical illusion display piece.

See that plastic wrap? Even after days of curing, the final layer failed to harden all the way. I did everything the same as the successful layers with the exception of tilting. I put the wrap over it so no curious cat could mistake it for real water.

Also, the final layer produced a fume that filled the apartment despite the "ventilation" in place. I worried about the smell and potential problems with the fumes most of the night.

Did you happen to notice that the aquarium warped? It did. Turns out this resin stuff produces heat as it sets.

A little triple thick glaze I have for my clay crafts worked to harden the final layer. But the look is wrong and I admit defeat. So, now I have to decide if I am going to try again or not. As for this attempt- well most likely it will end up in the trash.

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