How to craft ice
June 20, 2014 12:31 PM   Subscribe

I have one of those insane ideas for a birthday present for my other half, but it involves making an 'ice crystal' out of acrylic or glass or something and I have no idea where to start, or where to start looking for help...

I don't want to give too many details just in case my other half sees through my vague descriptions and use of a sock puppet account and works out what I'm planning.

Basically, I want to create something that looks like clear ice, but with a soft blue tone, and a shape that makes me think of a dragon's tooth or (less romantically) an amethyst pendant. If that's too implausible, something closer to these crystal pillars.

I'm up for playing with chemicals, glass, sharp objects and various things that could kill me or make me question my sanity, but the end product has to be safe for a house with cats / kids and not involve super expensive toys like a blast furnace or uranium enrichment facility.

Brainstorming, I've considered the following, but I've no idea how sane any of them are...
* growing a some kind of crystal, like we did at school, but magically clear
* gluing fragments of glass together and filling the hollow with acrylic
* making a mould and pouring acrylic
* making the bugger from ice and insisting we move to Alaska and turn the heating off.

Any/all hints of suggestions appreciated.
posted by Muppet Pastor to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)

Do you have a Dick Blick near you? I was there recently and saw some materials that looked like they might be useful in that endeavor.
posted by foxfirefey at 12:37 PM on June 20, 2014

I'd go with epoxy resins, and some kind of vacuum dome to get bubbles out.

There are a few things on Instructables on how to make cheapo vacuum systems.
posted by aramaic at 12:38 PM on June 20, 2014

Agree with all of the above. If it were me, I would sculpt the ice crystal in polymer clay and bake it. Then make a mold, and cast it in clear resin. Something like this simple pour mold or this putty mold. The putty mold would probably be my bet. Just make sure that your sculpture won't adhere to the mold, and that you will be able to pull it out easily after the mold sets up.

Like foxfirefey mentioned, these supplies are very easy to find at a craft store - Dick Blick, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Jo Ann Fabrics...pretty sure I've seen resin and casting kits at each one. Just take a trip to the store and read the back of some boxes.
posted by dinofuzz at 12:48 PM on June 20, 2014

Does it have to be clear? I'm thinking you could sculpt your object out of Sculpey and then bake it. The Premo Accents line seems to have some translucent shades.
posted by Liesl at 12:48 PM on June 20, 2014

I don't think you'll do better with time, money, or beauty than by sourcing a nice little natural quartz crystal from eBay or your favorite rock store.

Instead of making fake rocks, focus your energy on making a gorgeous piece of real jewelry from a nice little rock you find! Doesn't this look awesome?
posted by oceanjesse at 12:58 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

The idea of using real rock is tempting, but sadly the bits of my plan I can't tell you about for fear of being discovered by my partner mean that rock is unlikely to work. I'll investigate further though.

Clear would be best. Although I'm now contemplating clear with a crystal in the middle...
posted by Muppet Pastor at 1:27 PM on June 20, 2014

/r/diy on Reddit recently had a post on making a (video game inspired) crystal out of resin. It looked really nice. Your description is a little vague but I think the write up would be helpful for you.

Here's the pictures/instructions and related discussion.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:43 PM on June 20, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, nsai, that has convinced me this is doable. Thank you.
posted by Muppet Pastor at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you didn't want a specific shape I was thinking rock candy, because hi, crystals you can eat are awesome.
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:58 PM on June 20, 2014

Here's a cool page on how to grow your own crystals from various chemical solutions. At a quick look (click on the "images" tab for each chemical), it seems tough to get big enough crystals for your purpose.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:08 PM on June 20, 2014

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