Soap powder flocking?

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  • Soap powder flocking?

    OK I know they don't make soap powders anymore. But there is Oxyclean. LOL I had read something a wile back about folks using soap powder to flock Christmas trees. Does anyone have any idea of the applications process?

    I want to flock or frost the two narrow trees I have for a snowy seen in the house next Christmas. Paint by itself looks tacky. Haven't tried spray paint. Perhaps that would give a better look. Plastic snow is plastic and will yellow over time. Good for a spot at the base of the tree but all over would be unbelievable. LOL

    An idea but haven't tried.....

    Use spray or brush on non yellowing high gloss lacquer to thickly coat 6 to 8 inches of each branch to look like frost. Then use ? (oxyclean, spray paint, white glitter....don't know) to add a light snowy look.

    Down sides to this idea,

    If the lacquer isn't allowed to dry properly between coats it will remain sticky. Turn your tree from Christmas tree to swamp thing after storing it.

    Don't really know if lacquer will permanently stick to plastics. If it does stick I'd need to find a way to keep the branches from becoming matted and haggard looking.

    Lacquer is flammable. not good.

    And the big question, would oxyclean oxidize the lacquer causing it to fail?

    Any ideas or knowledge would help.
    There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.

  • #2
    In the middle of two different experiments.
    I've painted three pieces of Christmas tree branch with non yellowing lacquer. So far all they look like is wet. But this is just the first part. I'll use one as a controll and try different things with the other two.

    I've combined high gloss Modg Pog with Gesso at a Modg Poge + 1/3 of gesso. Painted that on a piece of branch. I then diluted the gesso by doubling the amount of Modg and pained that on one piece and dabbed the ends on another. It'll take a bit to see what this will look like. Modge podge looks white till it's dry.

    The gesso ( liquid rabbit hide ) clogulated and clumped when I mixed it with the modge. Kinda figured that would happen. It left me with small clumps of gesso on the branches. The effect I was looking for.

    This thread is a perfect example of how my mind works. I start out with one idea and keep adding and subtracting by experimentation. Using what I know and experimenting with new materials. I'll keep this up till I end up with something completely different than what I intended to make, loose interest because of running into one failure after another. Or start a new project and shelve this one. If you think it's confusing on your end you should be on this side of the computer. LOL
    There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


    • #3
      Update from the mad lab. LOL

      Modge Podge + Gesso

      3 to 1 ratio branch looks good. The gesso didn't apply solid like paint. The over all effect looks like the needles are less frosted toward the inside of the branch. Good depth of color and texture. I applied this mix using a paper towel to rub it on the needles. This caused the Modge to loose it's shine. Loosing the effect of icy frost. Because of the over all good looks of this I'll try it again. This time dabbing it on instead of wiping.

      6 to 1 ratio branch. The single branch by itself gives little effect. However in mass ( the entire tree done this way) may give a lightly dusted by snow effect. There are small clumps of gesso in the mix giving the effect of a slight buildup of frost.

      6 to 1 ratio just the ends branch. Nope, not enough effect. However because the material wasn't smeared on the modge stayed glossy. The down side of Modge is if it's wiped over an already applied area it can loose it's shine.

      I'll try the same thing using water base paint at the 3 to 1 ratio that looked good with the gesso. If this gives the same good results it'll lower the over all price of doing this project. Gesso isn't cheap. LOL

      There is also the possibility of adding a second coat of Modge over the 3 to 1 ratio mix after it dries. This might give the icy frost look I'm hoping to achieve.

      All three lacquered branches are dry and still look shiny and wet. No clumping or matting of the needles.

      Some thoughts. Welcome to the far side of the mad lab. LOL

      I don't want to end up with a white tree. The 3 to 1 ratio looks good by itself but in mass may loose to much of the green color of the tree. The 6 to 1 isn't frosted enough. Guess the logical conclusion would be to try a 4 to 1 ratio and apply it lighter. Now you know why I have so much scrap stuff laying around. LOL These pieces of Christmas tree branches are leftovers from a Halloween prop experiment. Tried to make a dead evergreen tree for the graveyard. Wanted to make it spooking looking so I used gray spray paint. Guess if I go back over it with a light rusty brown color it'd look better. Oh well. Like I stated earlier. Always experimenting, changing ideas and doing to many things at once. LOL
      There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


      • #4
        Putrid, sounds like you have it down! You're such a scientist, I wish I had the patience you do. When Ivory Snow stopped making "flakes" I know several people who actually tried grating a bar of Ivory Snow soap. From what I hear, it worked quite well. Here is a recipe..

        2/3 cup liquid starch
        2 cups soap flakes
        2-4 tbsp water
        Blue food coloring
        Mix together the liquid starch and soap flakes in a bowl. Add the water and beat with a rotary egg beater until the mixture becomes thick and stiff. Add the food coloring a drop at a time while beating, until the snow becomes an icy-white color.
        Come see us!


        • #5
          Should I use a metal cheese grater? Thanks for the recipe.
          Now for the barrage of questions! LOL
          Do you apply it wet and let it dry in place?
          How long does the application last? One season? Does it need to be done every year?
          If it does fall off has anyone tried using an adhesive?

          Ivory soap smells good. A lot nicer than lacquer. LOL

          Updates. back to the mad lab. LOL

          Modge Podge and acrylic craft paint. 3 to 1 ratio. Not worth the effort. Gives it that 'I hit the tree with the paint brush' look. I wanted to use a white primer. I opened a used can of Zinsser to find it turned to gue. Not a happy guy here. That stuff aint cheap. There may have been no difference in how the primer reacted to the Modge. For this effect it's best to have something that wont mix well together. Like oil and water. That way when applied it wont have a smooth coating.

          The trees I'm wanting to do have thick long needles. The pieces I've been working with have short inch long needles. Needed to see if it looked different on longer needles. I left a few of the pieces used to wrap the metal pole on the inside of the Longer needled tree in the garage. So I used the 3 to 1 ratio of Modge Podge and Gesso on it and got a really good look. The longer needles allow more original color to be seen.

          Farther experiments with the mix of Modge and Gesso.

          Dabbed Modge Podge on needles to see if it would clump up and give an icy effect when dry. Yes it did.

          Painted the 3 to 1 ratio thin needle branch with lacquer.

          The difference between the looks is up to personal taste. The Modge did clump and spot giving a good hit and miss icy effect. The lacquer gave an over all shin. So it would depend on weather you'd want your tree to glisten all over or or just in spots. I'm going with the Modge. For me the lacquer does shine but looks more like a wet tree.

          Thoughts that might give someone an interesting look. So far as I know this hasn't been done. I haven't tried it so I can't say if it would work. There is a thread about using hot glue to make icicles. Wondering if there is a way to use hot glue to give a tree an icy look. I have an experiment I've put on hold that would combine hot glue, Great stuff spray foam and pine cones. I wanted to group 2 or three cones together. Use great stuff to give them a snowy cap. Then apply already made small hot glue icicles with more hot glue to the pine cones coming down from the snowy caps. Applying great stuff to the ends of Christmas tree branches may end up causing problems. The expanding foam is easy to break. It would have to be applied so it would remain thin. If it gets down to the wire it may cause problems when trying to hang ornaments from the tree. FLAMMABLE. LED lights may be the only opp. you have to light the tree with. The only reliable thing you can paint the foam with is an oil based primer. You can tint the primer with craft paint to give that icy white look. Add white, iridescent or clear glitter to the primer when wet to give that fresh snow look. Apply small hot glue icicles to hang down from the branches. Never tried this. Don't know of anyone who has. Don't know if it would work. If it did work storing the tree would become a pain. Would have to find a way to keep from cracking the foam and breaking or bending the icicles.

          Now back to the mad lab with me. LOL
          There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


          • #6
            I think I've settled on the 3 to 1 ratio Modge and Gesso combo with the extra Modge added later. But like all ideas I'll have to come back to it to make sure it's what I want. I end up liking everything I see at first. Do it that way. Only to end up later on thinking what the crap did I do that for. LOL Best to walk a way and give it a fresh look later on. I haven't tried the Ivory soap yet. Don't have the soap or a grater.

            I've tried a few things with the longer needled piece. Added a sprinkling of white glitter and a real light dusting of fine iridescent glitter. The white glitter is lost in the mix. Cant tell it's there at all. Either I'll have to add it more heavily or leave it out all together. Every once in a wile I get a flash from the iridescent. That turned out the way I was hoping it would. Didn't want to always see it. I'll take some shots of a frosted and unfrosted piece and let ya'll see what I've done. Please let me know if you think it's good or bad.

            I've also lacquered a small needle branch and gave it a light dusting of the white glitter. That in my oppinion doesn't look good.
            There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


            • #7
              Here's a shot of both a frosted and normal long needle piece of branch. The frosted isn't quite that white. Even in the shade and without a flash the white reflects more light back to the camera. May also be the coating of the high gloss Modge.

              If you look closely you can see the spotting and imperfections in the white that helps give it a more realistic look of light frosting of snow.
              There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


              • #8
                Lookin good! The mad scientist! LOL


                • #9
                  Putrid, it looks very nice..I like it alot!
                  Come see us!


                  • #10
                    Thanks Elvira and Carrie. Going to sit on it for a bit before I commit to painting the 3 to 1 mixture on a tree. Got a few other projects I'll play with today. Turning the TV off and living a real life!

                    I would like to make a correction to a comment I made above. I just found out that they make fire resistant expanding foam. It costs about twice as much as the regular stuff. A total blessing for not only folks that use it in construction but the Haunting industry as well. Meating those fire codes will be alot easier now. Just may have to experiment with it on some artificial Christmas tree branches. Hopefully I have pics of snow on the pine trees in the back to give me a reference on how it should look.
                    There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


                    • #11
                      hmmmmmmm...have you tried the window frost trick on this? It's been awhile, so I had relook it up.

                      Frosting Windows (Duplicating Jack Frost)
                      This is perfect to create privacy, such as in a bathroom, or for shielding an ugly view. Make sure your windows are clean before you start.

                      Dissolve 4 heaping tablespoons of Epsom salts in one cup of beer. This will foam. Let set for at least 30 minutes. The salt crystals will partially dissolve.

                      Apply to window. This can be done with a 2 inch paint brush, but for a nicer effect, dip a facial tissue or terry cloth in the liquid and wipe over the window as if you were washing it. Then while the window is still wet go back and dab and pat at the glass with the wet tissue.

                      Mixture dries to form beautiful crystals. This looks even better the next day, and lasts a long time. It can be washed off with water and a cloth and is easily reapplied."

                      People really act weird at Christmas time. After all, what other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree in the living room and eat nuts and sweets out of your socks?


                      • #12
                        That sounds totally cool Sickie Ickie. Never heard of it before. I'd have to go and buy some beer. And figure out what I'd do with the rest of it. I think the last beer that was in the frig had been in there for a few years before I finally remembered to pitch it. LOL
                        There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


                        • #13
                          That does sound very cool, I've never seen it though. Wish there was a picture on the link you posted Sickie. Anyone have a pic of this?
                          Come see us!


                          • #14
                            The recipe Sickie Ickie posted inspired me to try one more experiment. I mixed baking soda with lacquer. I know, not epsom salts or bear, LOL but these I have on hand. The results are interesting. When a light frost formed around the pine tree needles I remember the color being an almost dull gray. By first coating the artificial needles with lacquer and then covering with baking soda I got a real close match to reality. I also sprinkled in table salt. That only added to it by mimicking the unevenness. Problem is, I don't want a dull grayish almost real looking tree. LOL Kinda like the brighter white. Still got to play with what Sickie Ickie posted. Would like to frost up some glass ornaments for these trees.

                            Now I might have to try mixing baking soda with Modge. Different chemicals, different reactions, hopefully not different fumes. LOL
                            There is beauty in a winter's full moon. Glittering off the snow between the shadows of barren branches.


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