Etching the Screen Door Part 2 – Disaster!!

The second day of our project didn’t go so well -a disaster in fact. I intended to use a scrap piece of acrylic we had laying about the studio as a practice piece (always practice first!!) but we forged ahead like a couple of arrogant experimentalists.

Bad Andy! Bad Lisa!

Carefully, I cut the pieces from the first panel and used them as templates for the second. You can see the sketched uncut panel on the left. As the sun was setting the first day, I began the blade work (just cut the pieces with an Xacto) and left them there until the next day when I could peel them as a mass. I found it easier to use a piece of trash paper (that industry term for very thin paper you find on a roll at an art store) to collect my torn pieces because they were filled with static. I learned this trick as I was peeling the first panel. Get… off… my… finger!! 😉

As I began to peel, I noticed quite a bit of bubbling. Cutting and leaving for 24 hours allowed air to seep in and create air pockets. That was unforeseen.

So Andrew tried pushing the film back down to the window, re-establishing the cling effect. Between his finger and the cork we use as a blade cover, they began to smear the sharpie I used on the vinyl used as mask. So we spent another 20 minutes rubbing off the areas smeared with sharpie to prevent it from being permanently affixed to the acrylic –forever.

Applying the Frost
With a deep breath, we felt we were ready to apply the frost to the acrylic. Back out to the dark yard we went, turned on the lights, masked off the upper part of the screen (at least we did that right) and began spraying. Following manufacturers directions, we applied 3 light coats between a window of a few minutes. We did this in 3 phases:

Phase 1: 3 light coats with 3 windows of ~3 minutes. Left to dry for ~20 minutes.
Phase 2: 3 light coats with 3 windows of ~3 minutes. Left to dry for ~30 minutes.
Phase 3: 2 light coats with 3 windows of ~3 minutes. Left to dry for ~15 minutes.

We were watching a recording of James May & Oz Clarke Wine Adventure. However, we weren’t drinking wine when we were playing with art. If you’re not wine buffs, this show is for you. It’s a fascinating story of James’ one month transformation to becoming a wine buff.

The Big (Disastrous) Reveal
Back into the workshop, we peeled the vinyl masking from the acrylic window. From this angle, it doesn’t look to bad. Upon further inspection it’s a different story. The frost, however, looked pretty good.

Bad Area Unforeseen #1: I didn’t have time or the where-with-all to consider redesigning the bottom part (read: I felt rushed). So the flowers hang without a arc frame, dangling into the abyss, appearing as an after thought.

Bad Area Unforeseen #2: The scratches permanently remained. The flowers were already cut when we decided Chardonnay need ‘space’ to watch. Ugh.

Bad Area Unforeseen #3: The smeared sharpie permanently remained. We didn’t catch all the smears that were left behind.

As much as I planned this piece, enough planning obviously didn’t go into it. Well, actually it did -the design just happened to change in the middle of the road. In hindsight, I should have left it.


  1. Plan your design. Plan! Plan! Plan! Ask who/what and how they will be utilizing the piece when you’re finished. I thought ‘being on the back door to prevent Chardonnay from destroying the screen and escaping’ was good enough.
  2. Mock Up Your Designs. Usually, I design (read: mock up) my pieces on the computer with sunlight in mind. Black & white, daylight, and nighttime effects to understand how lighting is going to hit it and respond to the article. I didn’t do that this time and this is the result.
  3. Plan to cut, peel, and frost the same day to prevent bubbles and smearing.
  4. Feeling Rushed? Step back. Step away from the project and give it a day. You’ll gain perspective and better results.

I don’t like to feel as though I’ve wasted my time. Crap. I think I just need a vacation.

If any of you attempt this and are successful with it, let me know! Read: Post It Here. I want to see!


2 thoughts on “Etching the Screen Door Part 2 – Disaster!!

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