Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Experiment: Vacuum Forming & Macrame

Vacuum Forming

my lame attempt at constructing a vacuum forming box

more than a while ago (haha) i was introduced to this technique via a japanese website:

at that time, i was still struggling to work with various basics like working with polymer clay, air dry clay, painting, casting resin, molding etc...and so i filed it away in the not-so-massive repository of my mind. naturally, i promptly forgot all about it, more because it involved purchasing a vacuum cleaner and figuring out where in heck i was gonna store YET another 'machine' in my tiny work area. right now, it's under my table where i have managed to stub my toe on it only once so far.

and then, my dear friend Tomohachi blogged about -her- experience, and i went totally berserk. it is because she used very simple and easily available items to make hers! 

i of course, with my sh*tty luck, could not obtain the wooden box, nor the mesh easily :( Daiso ran out of stocks real fast, i tried 3 branches, ion, plaza sing and sengkang, and last i checked they still hadn't re-stocked. so i used mounting board instead to build the box, cos it was driving me (and thus bf) crazy with frustration. what, me? OCD? HA! :X

the only place i managed to get the mesh was in an industrial area in Kelantan Lane, there are a few hardware supply wholesalers there, and they only had a small sample piece available :( i bought it even though it was no wider than 6cm, i guess i will rebuild it and adapt accordingly when i can find a suitable wooden box. i really loathe the idea of building a wooden box from scratch.

you can also google for more info on vacuum forming, or click on the above link for many educational videos on youtube. 

my box is kind of wonky and imploding upon itself now, but what to do? until i re-visit the technique, i think overall it was a fun project and experiment. i managed to get the PVC sheets rather cheaply at art friends, i'm still learning which thicknesses work best. it's pretty disappointing that i can't get the opaque white sheets, but i think i'll do a bit more hunting around for resources when i'm ready to face the noisy vacuum and hot oven again. which reminds me, gotta add 'oven mitts' to my list, i darn near gave my index finger and thumb blisters when i accidentally touched my binder clips while making the few dishes pictured above.

thus concludes my introduction to the noisy and fun and thoroughly satisfying world of vacuum forming!


 i had been toying with the idea of miniature macrame for a while, but didn't get round to it because i could never find the appropriately sized/coloured threads. however, fresh from yesterday's rush (ok it's the day-before-yesterday) from successfully making 1:12 baskets at the mini meet (you can see the pics here on Sans' blog! http://sansdollhousediaries.blogspot.com/2011/02/day-231-frame-baskets-for-gathering.html), i could not let it go (again, OCD, what? me? NO WAY!) so i stopped by my neighbourhood assorted goods store and picked up a ball of ....i donno what this is. but it works :D i was originally looking for a similar paper string that i used to make my basket over at Sans' place but i guess that warrants another trip down to Daiso. maybe tomorrow...?

i found this roll perfect, as i could untwist the fibers, i think there are like more than 12 tiny threads that make up the thickness of this 'twine'! it is also ecru coloured, which is great for the macrame projects i have in mind. i googled up 'free macrame patterns' and randomly picked a beginner pattern to work on. this is my first ever proper attempt at a macrame project. when i was a kid, my mom used to take lessons at the community centre, but all i ever was interested in was unravelling knots (one of my ultimate fave hobbies as a kid was knotting and unknotting threads/strings. :-/) in fact, now that i recall, i was often tasked with the job of unravelling mom's projects whenever she made a mistake XD

other than making dragonfly knots with leftover nylon string, i have no prior experience. but i found it pretty easy, as with tatting, it is just a variety of knots. and since Professor Google was always at hand to help out, with MANY MANY PICTURES (omg i suck so bad at reading instructions), knotting this top portion up was rather easy. the hard part was finding a comfortable posture to work in, and squinting to see if i got the knots right. oh, and keeping the thing neat -_-".

here're my 'tips' when working with mini macrame:

1) wax the threads to prevent fraying, snagging, unwanted knotting and overall frustration.
2) when pulling string/threads from a skein, try to work it from the centre of the ball/skein. i have found this to be far better than rolling the darn ball around, and risking it unravelling during storage. this was a 'trick' i learnt many years back when i was knitting alot.
3) if you're working with untwisted fibres from multi-ply threads/strings/ropes, they will tend to be rather weak, so try to keep tension a little loose.

i've yet to complete this project, i intend to better preserve and (hopefully?) strengthen it with maybe hairspray. ionos yet. we'll see if macrame is all that fun by the time i'm done XD

sorry for the lack of pics. i lately have had even less desire to take photos, and it is rather late now...(almost 2am).


  1. Your techniques enhance all of us, Cindy!!

  2. Wow! You making a macrame lampshade? ? Very good idea! Looks really good now too but I expect nothing less from you :).

    I should have shown you the mosquito netting when you were here! I totally forgot! Next gathering?

  3. Seguro que consigues los materiales necesarios para hacer tu caja al vacio, eres muy perseverante y lo conseguiras.
    Tu macrame va muy bien, seguro que cuando lo acabes todavia se vera mejor.
    Gracias por las instrucciones.
    Con el hilo que has conseguido te saldria una cestita como las de Sans preciosa.
    Te quiero dar las GRACIAS!!!!!!!!
    besitos ascension

  4. Thanks Peiwen ^ ^ they're not -my- techniques though :X haha!

    Susan, it's not a lampshade :O LOL! it's...supposed to be some cradle thingie but i modified it until it looks quite different from the pattern :( i'll take pics tomorrow, if i remember.....wahhh when you coming back T-T

    Gracias Ascensión! me las arreglé para conseguir otro cuadro, voy a publicar las fotos otra vez ^ ^

  5. Cindy! You can so good work, vacuum forming! :o I still can not good work about vacuum forming... (-_-;) I should practice again.

  6. Vacuum forming, is that how you made the little boxes? This is amazing! And very adventerous... me, not so much! lol ;)

    I see all these lovely foods on your blog but, in your etsy shop, I don't see them...


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