Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Bubble Making.......Why You Should Follow Instructions!!!

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!!!


  1. Well, I have to say that in spite of your trials and tribulations the finished product is really great! The green ooze is gorgeous - altho I'm not sure that is a totally appropriate word to associate with ooze of any kind! And thanks so much for the info about suppliers, products, tutorial etc :)

  2. Well Norma, it was definitely a journey and I will be much better prepared when I do start on the shop cauldrons.

  3. LOL Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble! lol ;o))

    Well, at least you've had fun?!? I think I would have added more liquid Fimo so that the bubbles were part of the mass (you can colour it too) a bit more, but that's me! You can always paint your bubbles if you so wished. I bought my bubbles nearly 2 years ago on Ebay (USA) extremely cheap too.

    I'm a complete bore when it comes to reading instructions, but I hasten to add it still doesn't mean things go to plan!

    I think you should be pleased with your cauldron despite the setbacks and oven temps! lol

    All my Balsa wood has arrived, and I've ordered more (I was so pleased with it!). I think it comes to something when one actually gets excited about Balsa wood!!! lol The men in white coats are looming methinks! lol

    Michelle xxx

  4. Oh Michelle, it really is the little things in life that make us happy!!
    Ha! Ha!

  5. Janice you have done really with with the cauldron and the effects. I tint my liquid fimo with oil paint instead of acrylic. I also use two part resin tinted green with a little oil paint added it smells but the effects are just as good.

    If you need any help with anything you are more than welcome to email me.

    Lorra Luffies

    Debie xxx

  6. Thanks Debie, I think your cauldron looks funky with his new bubble hair cut!
    Thanks too for the oil paint tip, I will try that next time. I haven't played with resin yet although you won't be surprised to learn that I have some in the drawer ready and waiting!
    It is very kind of you to offer some help too when I know how busy you are with work and family commitments.

  7. Janice your cauldron looks Great! I am working on some with no instructions LOL. I am using glue, glitter, beads and Gallery Glass in a green color, I will post my finished results on my blog in the future. You really had me laughing with your antics :)

    Victoria ❤

  8. LOL! I burn things in our toaster oven, too, all the time... I think th eworst was one of my daughter's science projects! We laughed so hard over that one! I love what you've doen with the cauldron! The green ooze is perfect! Thanks for showing us how you did everything! :)

  9. Your cauldron looks great despite the rocky road it took along the way. I'll definately have to keep your experience in mind when I get around to my witches shop and thanks for all the links, I'll have to keep them in mind too.

    For colouring liquid FIMO (etc) I've found coloured chalk works a treat. I just shave a tiny amount of powder off the block and add it a few grains at a time until I have the strength of colour I want. For me it's easier than trying to add just the right amount of paint (I always end up with too much!)

  10. Thanks for sharing your experience with the cauldron and bubble making. It did turn out really well.

  11. Its very oozy and overflowing and I think thats a really cool wizardy effect, lots of gunky potion! I've done it on a couple of cauldrons and used scenic water with oil paint to colour it, and Ive used glass paints too on the glass balls which has a good effect. Looking forward to seeing the whole roombox Janice! Kate xx

  12. The cauldron looks fabulous. I'm still laughing out loud here after reading your bubble-adventure. So funny and so could have happened to me too :o)

  13. I have some of those bubbles but have never used them as the couldrons I have are made from yoghurt pots so I cant put them in the oven!!! maybe I should try it anyway? I love that you are happy to experiment with all the different products on the market, its like grown-up play time :o) I should play more! you made a very effective bubbly pot there :o)

  14. Love the bubbles, you have given me an idea now for my cauldrons, your's are so much more interesting.

  15. Thanks everyone. I really do enjoy reading your comments as no one in my house is at all interested, although they try and pretend!

    Isn't it fabulous that we are all trying out so many different ways to make the same kind of things. I am learning all the time and wish I had been into this hobby when my children were young. It would have been so much fun.

  16. Despite the bumpy road to conclusion you've made a good job of your bubbles and they look great spilling out over the cauldron.

  17. I love the effect that you has done it and the cauldron is great with its new look!!

  18. Like everyone here, I think your cauldron turned out really well! I like how your green fimo is fused with the beads and runneth over the cauldron. It is great that you shared your step by step with us. I can totally relate to what you did and your frustrations too :).

    I think boiling cauldron for a witch is a very tricky project (at least for someone like me who's not really familiar with making fantasy items) because there are so many possibilities that you just want to try them all :).

    What are you cooking in yours? I remember I was cooking snakes in mine!

  19. Hi Sans, I took advice from some of the posts and brushed a little more colour over the paler beads today in a metallic bronze. That has worked well.
    I just have bubbles in this cauldron as it was going in the shadow box and was really an experimental piece. When I make my cauldrons for the shop I hope to try all sorts of combinations.

  20. Hi Janice, thanks for the mention. I use Oil paint with the liquid fimo. You can also use the cheap kids glass paints, to colour the glass beads, if you dont want to use liquid fimo. Been trying to catch up with everyone's blogs. My computer is at the menders, have borrowed Ben's lap. Really looking forward to seeing the finished room. xxx


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