Category: Gaming

Project Wayfinder

Wayfinder made from shrink plastic glass paint and polymer clay

Omg this project took months. MONTHS. And I swear it was cursed, so many things went wrong (parts getting lost in the post, stuck at an address where I couldn’t get them for a month, wrong sizes, trial pieces that didn’t work), I’m amazed I actually finished it!

Wayfinder in the sun

I insisted from the beginning that the main feature was that it had to be see-through. And I didn’t want to use resin because resin’s expensive. Ironically, all the extra materials I trialled that didn’t work probably cost more than the resin would’ve.

The final piece is made out of

  • Shrink plastic
  • Air-dry stained glass paints (Lapis Lazuli)
  • Stained glass relief outliner (silver)
  • Polymer clay (for the Mark of Mastery and the star on the end: white, with silver mica powder on top)
  • Jewellery making cord (1mm and 1.5mm)
  • Gorilla glue gel (to stick the Mark on)

Experiments that didn’t work:

Failed attempt at using mosaic tiles
  • Clear blue mosaic tiles – I wanted to put a polymer clay frame around the edge but it just wouldn’t stay in place. When I finished working on one side the other side looked awful, and you cloud see it though the clear glass. The mosaic tile was also 3mm thick, so everything came out too chunky.
  • Transparent blue polymer clay (Fimo transparent) – it lets some light through but was too opaque. Would’ve been the easiest to sculpt the frame onto though; my trial piece looked good but didn’t fit the transparency requirements.
  • Air-dry clay (Daas) – this stuff is awful. It has a weird slimey texture and you can’t do fine details with it. When it dries it’s like a ball of dried-up paper. It might work for big chunky projects (christmas ornaments with cookie cutters maybe?) but it can’t do this.
  • Winsor and Newton Promarkers on Shrink plastic – alcohol markers are supposed to work but all I got was a thin layer of clear liquid and a very faint hint of colour when shrunk down
  • Sharpies on shrink plastic – these actually worked…. though I thought the glass paint looked better so I went with that instead.

Experiments that did work:

Docrafts Artiste Glass paint colour samples
  • Docrafts Artiste glass paint – I couldn’t find a colour chart for these so had to buy all 3 shades of blue and try them. From left to right: Laquer Blue, Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise blue (aka Petrol Blue).

Things I would do differently:

  • The Docrafts Artiste stained glass relief outliner takes 3 days to dry. 3 days!!! I had to use multiple sittings to do the front, back, sides and the points at the top and this just dragged out the timeframe of this project so much. I would definitely look for a different brand that dries quicker.
  • I used Fimo Professional for the polymer clay parts, but it didn’t seem all that different to Fimo Soft so I could’ve used what I already had.
  • I’d like the colours on the star piece to be a bit more glossy and a bit less, well, shitty acrylic paint-y. Haven’t figured out what I could use for that yet.
  • I’m not sure I used the best shape at the back of the star to tie the thread on.

Hints and tips:
Measure everything over and over. When working with shrink plastic it’s too easy to make a mistake on both the enlarged and the actual size version. One time I didn’t even notice I’d make one side too long until I shrunk it down.

Shrink plastic template demo

The measurements are really finicky; I tried using a sharpie to outline the pieces but being a few millimeters off with the measurements makes a huge difference when it’s shrunk down. Construction lines are at 34 degrees (getting this off on one side by 2 degrees will make a right mess). I had to switch to a Unipin fineliner, which doesn’t dry properly on the plastic so you have to be careful not to smudge it before cutting it out but you can wipe it off afterwards.

Finished shrink plastic pieces

Don’t forget to punch holes before shrinking! I have 1mm thread so the holes are standard hole punch size, which I can loop it through twice when shrunk down. The top hole I made larger, about 1cm so I could use thicker 1.5mm cord on this bit.

Shrinking; shrink on a baking tray lined with tin foil. When it comes out of the oven flatten it with a ceramic tile while the shrink is still on the baking tray (the plastic cools down really quickly and I found it would harden before I could move it onto something else).

Adding a glass paint relief outliner frame to shrink plastic

The silver frame (Glass paint relief outliner) requires a steady hand, don’t be afraid to wipe it off and start again if it’s not working. Or leave it for another day if it’s really not working. Getting this even is the most difficult part of the whole project (and there’s was a point where I decided I’d had enough and just went with the imperfections). I did the front first, then the back, then the sides and finally the top line of the pointy bits. Avoid stopping halfway or backtracking cause it makes the shimmery silver particles look weird. Pick the side that looks least tragic to be the front.

Glass paint demonstration

Glass paint goes on the front (it just looks better that way).

Mark of mastery polymer clay sculpting processcompilation

The Mark took a while to sculpt; I cut the basic outline then pressed a flat tool into the centre and tilted it against the middle pieces to make the pointy triangle shapes. It looked like it wasn’t working but after repeating this for 15 mins or so the shape in the centre started to come together. Be careful not to make this piece too thin.

I found a tutorial for tying the style of knot at the top on Rings and Things The Mark symbol is glued onto the frame of the top petal thing (what are those even called?) and to the thread at the bottom

Project covers from approx May 2019 – Aug 2020

Template for Wayfinder and finished size guides

Behemoth VIII Paper Quilling

Behemoth 8 Final Fantasy Paper Quilling

Finally got around to trying out a quilling set a friend got me a few years back; I had this idea a while ago, but told myself I’d been doing too much fanart recently and should probably come up with something else. But the idea stuck and well, here we are.

Behemoths are awesome. I always pronouce the name wrong cause Final Fantasy VIII didn’t have voice acting so I just kinda guessed how it was supposed to sound (apparently it’s a normal word from the dictionary, who knew?). I love the colours used in FFVIII and it translated pretty well to the bright colourful paper strips I had in my box.

It was great having a new craft to try out in the house with all the pieces in the box to just give it a go. Well, almost all; I had to order grey strips for the teeth cause I didn’t have any in that colour. eBay told me they come in different widths so I decided to try a thinner one at the last minute and I think it worked pretty well.

As a craft quilling is a pretty easy one to get started with. Just takes a bit of patience, and you have to be willing to accept the shapes you get; the material sometimes has a mind of it’s own (a bit like Watercolour really). I made plenty of mistakes and moved quite a few bits around as I was working when it looked like it’d fit better in different places.

Now all I need is a frame, but that’ll have to wait until quarantine ends.

Uncharted: A Fun Bit of Adventuring Ruined by Constant Hordes of Enemy Militia

It’s 1995. I’m playing Tomb Raider, a game about finding things, exploring the wilderness, solving puzzles and occasionally dispatching the local wildlife.

2020 and I’m now Nathan Drake, finding things, exploring the wilderness, solving oh wait no there’s a guy with a gun. And another one. Oh he brought a friend. Now I’m in a room full to 10 men with guns and if I dispatch then here’s 10 more and oh look that one has a rocket launcher one shot and oh no, you’re done, time to do that all again. Repeatedly.

We’re in the middle of nowhere, where do they even get these guys from? Is there a cruise ship parked round the back of the island? Secret tunnel to a city? How did all the bullets get here?

As if to add insult to injury the game’s hint mechanism triggers when you’re even in spitting distance of a puzzle. Haven’t solved it in 5 seconds ping hint time, I’m here if you need me. You don’t even have to press the button, sometimes the fun of a puzzle is thinking there might be something here and scouring a room without ever really knowing but ping nope I’m telling you there’s something here. It’s almost like the puzzles aren’t the whole point of the game anymore, treated like an unessasary inconvenience blocking you from the next gun battle.

Nope, nuh-uh. See the puzzles are the fun bit and the gun battles are the tedious ‘seriously isn’t this over yet’ rolleye moments. Why can’t I get a ping hint for those? Like ping there’s a sniper rifle behind the staircase, rather than dying 20 times in a row entering a single room and quitting the game for 3 months.

And whoever decided video games need a ‘reload’ command needs to go sit in a corner and think about what they did.

I know modern games like their guns but if I liked guns I’d be playing Call of Duty. I’m not. Modern Tomb Raider titles went the same way, I wonder if there is such as thing as the fun exploration game anymore. The rest of the game I’ve really enjoyed, but these constant gun battles really drag the experience down.

The Uncharted collection disc is a trilogy so I’ve got 2 more to go. Perhaps I’ll take a break before starting those… and turn off the hint setting this time.