Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How to block a crochet lace crown: Part 2

Part 1

Okay, so my crochet crown has been pre-blocked to open up the lace.  Now it's time to block it to shape, using a glue based liquid that is supposed to be permanent.

First thing to do was make sure I had everything I needed handy.  Here are my materials.

The plastic bin that I used as a form.

Plastic food wrap.

White glue. (150 ml bottle)

a jar with lid to mix the glue with water.

a container to saturate the crown in.

laytex gloves.

Plastic drop cloth to cover your
work surface.

My older daughter also offered some glitter from her vast collection.  I ended up using all three colours.

There was one other item that I found I needed rather unexpectedly.  A spray bottle of water.

Make sure you've gone one handy.  You'll need it!!  Having to get one while in the middle of things is not fun.

Trust me on this.

You'll also need tape to fasten the plastic wrap in place.  I also ended up needing to use elastic bands large enough to fit around the bin.

First order of business was to wrap the bin in a layer of plastic wrap.  The plastic wrap, of course, stuck to itself really well, but not to the bin at all.  It takes a bit of doing to get it well covered.

After wrapping the bin, I poured the glue into the jar, then filled the glue bottle with water to get a 1:1 ratio.  Some "recipes" has a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part glue, but it all depends on just how stiff you want the final product to be.  Given the longish chains around the triangles, I decided the 1:1 ratio would be best.

Then I added the trio of glitter.  I used the purple the most, with a fair bit less of the almost black purple, then a bit less of the reddish gliter.

Then it was time to close up the jar and start shaking.

Here is the glue misture after a whole lot of shaking.

As you can see near the bottom, there was still some that didn't really mix.

That done, I set the jar aside and got back to the crown.

On sliding the crown over the bin, I found that, while pre-blocking it made everything nice and straight and open, my hopes that it would tighten up the base of the crown were dashed.  Once straight, the crown fell farther down the bin than before, almost enough to slide right off the open end.

So I put a double layer of elastic bands where I wanted the base of the crown to be.

One the elastics were in place and straight, I added a second layer of plastic wrap.

The elastic bands serve a double purpose.  They were a guideline for where I wanted the crown's base to be, with enough room for the rest of the crown below it, and it gave me something to pin the crown to.

Time to get messy!

And cover everything with my plastic drop cloth.

Glue, gloves, bowl and crown at the ready.

After getting this photo, there was no opportunity for me to take more until after the crown was in place, since I no longer had a clean hand to hold my phone with.

Here, about a quarter of the glue mixture was added to the bowl and mixed in.  I did add a bit more later on.  It's really important to make sure all of the item is coated and saturated with glue.

Once saturated, the excess is gently squeezed out.  Very, very, gently.

Then it was time to put it over the bin, line the base up to the elastic band, then try and get it flattened against the sides.

Things got very hectic for a while.

What I discovered was that the glue on the surface of the crown, and on my gloves, would start to dry faster.  The parts of the crown against the plastic, however, were still very damp.  Which meant that, as I was trying to use my gloved hands to smooth the crown against the bin, the curved sections would instead stick to my hands and lift right off the bin.

I had to spray my gloved hand with water, as well as lightly spray the surface of the crown, to keep that from happening.

I also ended up taking one of the gloves off completely, since I found I couldn't grab the pins with the glove on.

The base of the crown was still wider than the circumference of the bin, so I had to rely on the pins and the elastic band to hold it in place, re-adjusting the pins as needed to have it all even around the bin.

Then I simply smoothed my gloved hand down the sides to get the crown to lie evenly against the bin's surface.

Along with needing to spray my hand with water to keep the drying glue from lifting the crown off the surface of the bin, I also found myself dipping out some more glue from the bowl to add to the surface as well.

Once done fighting with it, this is how it looked.

After a couple of hours, I used a damp cloth to wipe glue off the beads.

Then it was time to let it dry overnight.

And here we are, the next day!

Getting those pins out was rather hard on the finger tips!

You can even see the glitter a bit.

All done, and looking good!

 Isn't it pretty?  I was so happy with it!

 A closer view of the beads, and you can see the glitter a bit better, too.

Of course, I then had to set up a pretty little photo shoot and get more pictures...

 different angles.

Then I broke out Dolph to get some shots of the crown actually being worn on a head.

I tried it on Dolphina, but the female head is not at all human sized.  She would have done for a child sized crown, but not an adult size.  The crown just slid right over the face and down to the table.

I noticed that with almost all the display heads I've looked at.  The female heads are all stylized and tiny, while the male heads are more human sized and shaped.

Which irritates me.

But that's okay.  The crown looks fabulous on Dolph.

Here are some more close up shots.

The points aren't quite as distinctive anymore, since I had nothing to pin them to to keep it, but they're still not as rounded as they were before the first blocking.

All in all, I'm really happy with how this turned out.

Once blocked, the larger size was much less of an issue that I was afraid it would be.  It's actually just normal head size.  So using a thicker cotton and larger hook turns out not to have been a problem at all.

In the future, I would like to find some way to cover the plastic bin with a layer of foam that I can pin to.  The bin itself is great for stability, compared to some of the other ideas I had thought of, like rolling up a towel or something like that.

The crown itself was quite easy and quick to make.  Figuring out how to block it was much more of a challenge, and the interwebz was of little help.  Which is why I made a point of taking so many photos and doing this step-by-step!

Happy crafting!

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