Friday, March 6, 2015

Highlighting The Imperfections

You know how sometimes you stumble onto something truly brilliant by mistake?  I like to think thats how penicillin came to be.  Then there are those other times when an event happens that highlights just how very much of a failure you truly are?  Like when you start singing a classic Bon Jovi song at your 10 year old only for her to look at you with a blank expression.  Then you realize that you have been a colossal failure as a mother because your kid hasn't a clue what an 80s hair band is, let alone one as awesome as Bon Jovi, but I digress.

Not the best picture, but until we get our internet issue or lack thereof figured out I am stuck with cell phone pictures as they don't use as much data to upload.  Sorry peeps.

This is how I stubbled on how to highlight these insanely cool imperfections on a pair of thrift store plates destined to be part of a plate wall.

Okay so remember when I found a Goodwill Superstore in Tyler Texas?  Well while I was there I found several plates that I thought might make a good addition to an eventual plate wall.  I got varying shapes, and colors.  Several I got had a fun shape and texture, but an ugly color or none at all.

During that trip I bought two matching Mikasa basket weave plates that were kind of blah, but at a $1.25 a pop I thought I could dress them up with some paint or something (I didn't really have a solid idea though).  Fast forward almost a year and one out of state move later, and there they sat, still looking blah in my closet with all my other plates.  

So still at a loss of what to do with some of these plates I turned to pinterest for DIY plate projects, and came across a plethora of people talking about how easy it is to transform your plates using simple sharpie markers, and then baking them to set the color permanently.

Can you feel it?  My over confidence in an ability that I don't have, and a talent that I have never taken the time to develop.  I mean how hard could it be to free hand a cutesy pattern on there, and then bake it into permanence?  Then when people come visit they can Ooh and Aah over my free handing awesomeness, right?

Um, not so much.  Sadly I spent far too long trying to salvage this super sad excuse, but in the end I decided to take some rubbing alcohol to wipe it off.  By the way did you know that you can remove sharpie marker off of a smooth surface with rubbing alcohol?  Yeah me either.  If only that worked when a certain 4 year old I know decided to leave a partial autograph on the back of one of my car seats.... and her little sisters skin.  Again I digress.

Then I had my own personal penicillin moment (only not nearly as life altering though). It wasn't until I tried to remove all the ugly child like drawings that I really noticed the webwork of tiny cracks all over the base that had been highlighted when the marker had seeped in.  I really loved it though. It really reminded me how when I refinish a piece of furniture I like to play up the imperfections as that gives the piece more character, and a sense of history. 

So then I though holy heck I need to do this to the other plate.

This one had this really awesome almost spiral patterned to the cracks that was pretty rad looking. So then I just needed to figure out how to do on purpose what had been a mistake before.

I started by taking my teal sharpie and liberally applying it to the middle of the plate, and then letting it sit for about 10 minutes.

Then I put a small bit of rubbing alcohol on the surface, and started to spread the marker stain.

I waited an additional 10 minutes allowing the thinned out marker stain to really soak in.

Then after another bit of alcohol I rubbed the thinned marker stain around a bit more.  Removing even more of the excess marker.

Then it was time to clean it off as best I could.

Then what I was left with was a super awesome looking natural cracked surface.  

Then I thought why not leave a wash of color in the basket weave.  So then I scribbled on the area with my sharpie.

Then using the alcohol I removed as much marker as I possibly could.  Leaving behind a faint wash of color that really tied in with the newly hightlighted cracks.

So after having to face the brutal truth that I don't have a future in free hand art I was able to really highlight the awesome cracks spiderwebbing the surface of a few thrift store finds that should act as a super cool addition to my future plate wall.

From now on I think that I'll be remembering that sometimes mistakes can lead me to some truly awesome discoveries, and that sometimes a piece doesn't truly find its beauty until we highlight what might at first peek look like an imperfection.