Monday, November 7, 2016

I Drove Myself Nuts Thinking About The What Ifs

Over a month ago, our Bodacious Country Crackle Holiday Ornaments went live. For sale. Prior to this, I made a few sample pieces so I could take photos. At the time, I thought it would be a great idea to put a thin coat of gloss on the ornaments. This isn't something I had ever done. Over 30 years ago, when my mom and aunt made salt dough ornaments for holiday craft shows, they used a spray on gloss. This was done in the basement. There was proper ventilation. I'm not sure what brand they used. The finished product always yielded a thick, glossy finish.

In the years to follow, when I've made salt dough ornaments, I skipped the gloss. I didn't have access to an area with good ventilation. Plus, I hate the smell of spray varnish, glosses, and paints. And, I'm not a huge fan of shiny things.

I'm also not a fan of aerosol highs and headaches.

This time around, I decided to try a brush on gloss. After the sample ornaments were painted and personalized, I brushed on a thin coat of gloss. Once dried, there was a tiny bit of crackle. I happen to love crackle. In fact, I had considered purchasing crackle. However, it's a lot of work and making the ornaments already fell into the category of "A Lot of Work."

If you're not familiar with crackle, it's liquid you can purchase at craft stores. The consistency is about the same as craft paint. Crackle is used to make things look old. To achieve this, you put on a first coat of paint, add a coat of crackle, let dry, and add your final coat of paint. You can use contrasting colors or the same color. 

When the brush on gloss dried and there was crackle, I was overjoyed. I was probably too overjoyed. I clapped my hands and did several happy dances on the porch. Lisa was a bit baffled by my excitement.

The following day, I noticed a bit more crackling on the ornaments. They still looked good, but I was a little concerned. Was the temperature in the biscuit room too cold? Too warm? Did I brush on too much gloss?

After 48 hours, more crackle.

After 72 hours, more crackle.

My excitement turned to, "What the Big-F is happening?"

Yes, there such a thing as too much crackle. 

On the 4th day, the crackle turned cloudy. The thin coat of crackly gloss separated from the ornament.

My optimistic brain thought, "Maybe it's the brand of gloss."

We took a quick trip and picked up 2 more brands of brush on gloss.

I made several more sample pieces using the 2 other brands.

Same thing. Except this time, the cloudy crackle happened in only 2 days.

I wanted to know why this was happening. I spent over an hour researching. During my research, I stumbled on a story from a pre-school teacher. She made salt dough ornaments for the kids to paint as gifts for their parents. She coated them with a brush on glaze. The next day, when she entered her classroom, she discovered the ornaments were crackled. Clouded. Ruined.

She was devastated.

As it turns out, the chemicals in brush on glosses are not compatible with the salt in the ornaments. The chemicals pull the salt from the ornament. This is what causes the crackle, cloudiness, and chipping.

There was one spray on gloss that some claimed did not have a reaction. There was conflicting reviews. I wasn't convinced.

I exhaled and ventured down the path of What If.

What if I hadn't done sample pieces?

What if I had coated all the orders with the brush on gloss?

What if I had shipped the ornaments the day after coating with the brush on gloss?

I drove myself nuts thinking about the slew of scenarios.

From time to time, people have cracked jokes about my need to experiment, make sample pieces, try several variations before deciding on which route to take, etc.

This time around, it paid off. It saved me from having to remake dozens of ornaments and replace the ones already shipped.

I'll admit, I was a little nervous about telling people about the brush on gloss and letting them know the ornaments were going to remain in their gorgeous, acrylic matte finish.

You know what? No one cared. No one cancelled their orders.

If you learn anything from this, let it be that patience, taking your time, and researching will benefit you in the long run.

Trust me. I know.

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