One thing that goes with this territory of building and maintaining dioramas is that sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as you’d like.  I am now running into this with the leaf making.  Here is a list of the problems as they stand right now:

1. Ken had difficulty creating a matrix on the scanned mold.  I have to see if he can come up with another way to do this. If there is not an easy way, my prints won’t fit well into the molds.

2. I experimented with the opaque white Inkaid substrate and found that the 50-50 and 75-25 mixes with transparent substrate were too thin to get good saturated color.  I airbrushed full strength white substrate and even that didn’t give me the saturation I got in the fabric.  It might be that fabric absorbs more color into the weave and therefore is innately more saturated than acetate. I will spray out a double coat of the white and see what I get.  The single layer of white still gives me adequate translucency.

fabric on top, acetate on bottom.  The photo doesn't show the lesser saturation on the acetate as well as in life.

fabric on top, acetate on bottom. The photo doesn’t show the lesser saturation of the acetate as it actually is.


3. There is not as much strength in the vacuforming as I had wanted and this is because of problems I am having with the 10 mil acetate and the need to do one leaf at a time. If I use a heat gun on the printed acetate, the ink discolors or burns easily.  You have to be very careful for this not to happen.  I found that if I cut the leaf to the contours dictated by the print, lay it down and register it on the mold, cover it with a larger piece of acetate and heat all of it, I can get good suction and a leaf with good contours, but not with the veins and subtle detail.  The lack of full saturation of color is not going to derail this, but if I can’t figure out a way to get better detail, I’m not sure I will find this method as workable as I’d hoped.  I guess I could let the print give a 2D representation of the detail, but I want the form of the leaf to show it too.

Vacuforming method for single leaves.

Vacuforming method for single leaves.

4. The non-print side needs attention because it is white.

So, there are a lot of things to consider before this is really ready to go into production. Stay tuned!


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