Start Here November '21

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56 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 1 cling wrap and masking tape to make sure all non-stencil parts were adequately covered, including the stoppers as well. The decanters were fairly thick, so I was able to blast some depth into the surface. The shoe on the stopper especially needed to be blasted deeply in order to create a subsurface good enough for the paint to be applied. After the blasting process, the decanters were cleaned off, being careful to not let any water or cleaner get into it. The stoppers had to be cleaned by blowing the surface off to remove all dust from blasting but leaving the stencil in place for the painting process. Painting The actual area to be painted was small and required many colors, so spray paint was not a viable choice. After thinking about this for some time, I came to the conclusion to use an unconventional method of achieving the color: Sharpies. I had to keep in mind that the stopper would be handled and also cleaned every now and then, so I was not going to use the Sharpie straight up. I needed to protect the color from being touched and also seal it in to ensure it would not wear away from cleaning. I decided to spray the deep blasted area with a clear UV protectant first, then paint, let the paint dry well, and then spray the surface with the protectant again. To see if I liked the result, I made a couple of samples on clear glass first. This way I could also decide on the colors. Even though the colors could be quite random, I wanted to have all the stoppers to be more or less the same, which meant using each color on each stopper, one after the other. The bottoms of the stoppers were not flat, however, and so I had to resort to a simple aid to handle the stoppers during painting and also keep them level during the process. I got out a dispenser for shrink wrap and cut six holes into the top of the box, which would serve as my painting stand. Then I proceeded with the treatment: first the clear UV coat, then the indi- vidual colors, and then another clear coat. It is always important to let each layer dry well before proceeding with the next. Also, when mixing products from different manufacturers, it is always prudent to make a sample so that you can see if the products get along with each other or not. You surely do not want to find out about that after you thought you were finished with the project and all stencils are removed. After any painting project, we keep the items in house for at least 48 hours to make sure that there are no issues and that the paints are actually cured, not just dry to the touch. Only after I was sure that all was well did I remove the stencil and wrapping from each stopper. The project was completed, with the decanters back in their special boxes and ready to be delivered. Another meeting like drug dealers in a parking lot, and the decanters were in the hands of the client, who just loved the outcome. It is still nice to see the delight in customers' eyes when they are happy with the products we make. For more pointers on how to apply a stencil to an odd-shaped item, visit A close-up of the painted shoe and platter with the stencil in place. The painted stopper inserted into the decanter.

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