When I was first planning my Diagon Alley project I decided that one of my shops would be the Cauldron Shoppe that stands next to the Leaky Cauldron. In preparation for this I purchased a very cheeky cauldron from the Etsy shop of Debie Lyons. Unfortunately the Sid Cooke shop turned out to be a liitle too small for the cauldron so I decided this fun piece could go with Dobby in the shadow box, plus I could experiment with the bubbles.
Now if you want to find out how to do this properly I would suggest you make haste to Nikki's blog immediately and follow her wonderful tutorial. Here Nikki explains everything is great detail including making the cauldron. It's fabulous and I read it all through carefully but.......was too impatient as usual.
These are the products I tried out. One by Sculpey and one by Fimo. Again I read all the instructions which were very short and sweet!
These fabulous beads are the really essential part of the whole process, I think I discovered these on Debbie's blog, Tiny Treasures, which is a great resource site. I bought them from OOAK Artist Emporium in the US. They have a whole range of tiny beads but these are the ones they suggest for bubbles. There may be a UK stockist but I could not find one.
They range in size from a really tiny 2mm up to the largest of 6mm. These are the 4mm beads and you can see how the light reflects through them.
So I have everything I need but a big problem. The cauldron is too deep for the shadow box. Never mind I think, I will cut the back off and then it will sit neatly against the back wall. What could have possessed me?! I did saw the back off but it certainly was not straight, but it did now fit.
I filled the interior with some left over Fimo and baked the whole piece. That was fine, the fimo hardened and I began playing with the bubbles.
This is the back view of the cauldron. The green fimo filled the hole nicely and I have piled the bubbles on top. There was a huge flaw in my plan though that I can't believe I didn't solve at the time.
I filled the hole but did not provide a back edge to the cauldron. This meant every time I piled on the bubbles the fell off the other side!!!
Deep breath.....I started with the Fimo Deco Gel. Poured a small amount into a glass dish and added a very small amount of green acrylic paint, you can see the strength of colour in the bottom layer of bubble gunge. I used far too much paint and too much of the gel for the amount of bubbles I added to the mixture.
This resulted in a very slimy look and the bubbles have been more or less lost. The mixture did however run over the edge quite nicely.
I then baked the whole piece in the oven again at about 120 degrees for about 15 minutes.
My next mixture was using the Sculpey which didn't seem quite so sticky. This time I added only a cocktail stick of the green paint and it turned the mixture a very pale green. I added more 'bubbles' this time including some of the larger 6mm beads.
It was at this point my stupidity reached idiot level. Although this mixture was nowhere near as runny I beads would not stay atop the cauldron and fell off repeatedly. At no time did it occur to me to build up the rim.......but, eventually I did manage to give the cauldron a crown of paler green bubbles after about three separate bakings.
These are much paler and more iridescent, although not as pale as in the photograph the sculpey mixture did lighten when baked and the Fimo darkened with each baking.
All in all I am reasonably pleased with finished piece. It is a bubbling cauldron but next time I will not be quite so gung ho and take a lot more time and care with the layering. Neither product seemed any the worse for wear when left in the bowls so you can take your time between bakings.
It also seems quite hardy for let me share another tip......Always check you have put your oven on the correct setting.
I use my small oven when baking Fimo etc. This oven is also a grill; turn the knob left for the grill and right for the oven. I had baked the piece at least four times before I smelt a slight burning, the cauldron had become slightly taller by now, and realised I had the oven on the grill setting!!!