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  • Writer's pictureDrew

Show Your Working - and your mistakes?

I will say this again.

The first thing to remember when doing reverse painted glass is to reverse your template so that it can be placed on what would be the outside of the glass so that you can paint it on the reverse. Seems simple enough, but when you're painting on a piece of glass it's not as easy to remember than if you were painting on a window.

If for some reason you decide to forget the above which should be embedded into your brain like a mantra, or one of those annoying songs that you can't stop singing over and over; there is hope.

Today I painted a design the right way round, which was wrong. Reverse glass.

After panicking, I decided to stop and take a breath.

I had options.

There are always options.

I had bought the glass this morning in a nice little picture frame, it wasn't expensive, I could get another one and start again tomorrow; but that would mean a wasted day.

I decided to call up Steven Oxley from the School of Decorative Art who had said during the course I'd taken with him that after we took the course we could call him up when out on a job and he'd talk us through an issue. Steve was great, we had a chat and a catch up. I wasn't under any client constraints or deadlines so we were able to talk signs.

It is important that when you are faced with a problem to make sure that you don't act in the panicked state, or you run the risk of doing something stupid (Ok, more stupid in my case).

Steven said I could get some automotive gum cleaner, soak a towel in it and leave it draped over the glass outside in the garden.

"This stuff will get almost anything off".

Sounds good.

"Oh, one more thing, make sure you put the towel on the washing line to dry out and then bin it later".

I'm intrigued and decide to ask why.

Apparently it could spontaneously combust as a result of a chemical reaction.

Good advice at the drop of a hat, and Steven was good to his word, but I was kind of thinking of something less dangerous, and easier to get hold of without the risk of burning my house down.

I know,

I'll ask Greg Fuller our print technician if there's anything he can suggest,

so I go and see Greg.

The print room always has that steady rocking vibe, it's partly the music and partly everyone just getting lost in the process.

"Greg I'm an idiot, what do you suggest?"

"Do you want me to answer that?" - "You just need this stuff" holding a nondescript bottle like a gameshow model.

"What is it?"

"Lincoln Wash. It's not as harsh as White Spirit, it's water based, and a 1 Ltr tub will make you 10 Ltrs."

After giving the Lincoln Wash a try I was able to remove the Y and the U from my design. I left the O because it was in the middle and wouldn't change position. I thanked Greg and returned to painting.

I applied a new, reversed template to the glass, lining it up with the O in the centre and started painting the letters in.

I decided to give Steven a call to share the new knowledge. While on the phone to him telling him how great the Lincoln Wash was, and how it had saved me; I looked at the design and realised that the O was never central, it was just optically central. This meant that the reversed template was actually now set too close to the left side. I had tried to save time and just made things worse for myself. But that's ok because now I know exactly what to do right?

So I managed to save the piece and it turned out great with no further issues.

I wish I could say that, and I wish that was the end, but I spent the evening repainting the glass and then I carefully mounted some cool prismatic, oil gilded, acetate letters I made using a modelling tool, in place behind the glass and proceeded to put everything into the picture frame.

That's when the cracks appeared.

I had been so relieved at finishing the process that I had missed one of the metal clips that is used to secure the back of the picture board against the glass. Instead I had laid the glass over the top of it as I secured the others, and it seems that the pressure caused against the glass made it crack.

I have since been out and bought another frame and painted another piece of glass. In fact everything is finished except for the final assembly, but I keep putting it off.

I'm trying to put it on my "To Do List" rather than my "To Do Badly List".

Not everything works first time.

Mistakes happen.

We Learn by Doing.

Don't Panic (or picnic).

I'm told that this is a newish technique that I found out about through Veronika Skitle's work on Instagram, but that it mimics a very old technique of setting metal gilded type behind glass.

It will look cool when it's done.

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