Monday, January 30, 2012

Cookie Sheets and Toilet Bowl Cleaner

“If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything.”

 Win Borden 

Have you ever seen something really cool and think: I can do that, easy.  No Problem.  Ha!

Every once in awhile I get a wild Hair brained urge to go out of my own artistic niche which is Weaving.

A few years ago my Hubby and I were traveling quite often from my house on the West side of the State back to his apartment on the East side of the State.  Aging parents and other Family functions had us keeping both places up and running back and forth frequently.  I decided I need a project to keep at the apartment and a 60 inch floor loom is not a portable thing.

We have this Awesome Copper, raised etched panel that one of his Aunt's made many years ago and I thought to myself -- Perfect, only on a smaller scale.  I had all the tools, picked up a few sheets of copper and was off and galloping.

 I was, at the time, reading a book on the ancient Sumerian culture and decided to do large bookmarks for gifts with their names written on then in the Sumerian Cuneiform, along with some decorative twists and twirls.  I won't bore you with the actual process of doing, other than to say I had fun and they turned  out well.

EXCEPT, the copper didn't have the "old" look with the green patina that would not only make it look aged but also like it actually came from an archaeological dig.  I'm big on authentic, and there's where my adventure began.

On to the Internet, I found how to age copper.  The main way was put it outside for a hundred years. Ignore that one, I wanted quick results.  Okay, lemon juice, vinegar or hydrochloric acid were 3 options also mentioned.

Check: had Lemon juice, out with one of the practice sheets and poured some on.  Zip, zilch, nothing happened.  On to Vinegar with the same result.  Mix them together, still nada.

 On to the last hydrochloric acid, but where the heck was I going to find that!  Oh brilliant Lab Rat that I was I seemed to remember it was an ingredient in Toilet Bowl cleaner.  Races to the bathroom to read the label.  Shazamm!  I had it!

The next problem was how the heck to immerse that 8x10 inch sheet of Copper in the darn stuff, not breathe fumes or splash on anything.  The bathtub seemed like a pretty safe place to not drip on anything -- there was a fan for fumes, but it was not a good idea to get any on the porcelain or my hands, I thought.  Off to the kitchen.  Rattle in cupboards and the cookie sheet and tongs to flip and dip with and back to the Tub.

I set everything up like a good little Alchemist and poured on a tiny puddle to see what would happen.  Ah success!  It was doing something ... slowly.  But why wait?

I poured the rest of the bottle on, watched a few minutes, and went off to impatiently wait. That was my second mistake, the 1st being an aluminum, Teflon lined cookie sheet.  Our first clue something was wrong was a very nasty smell wafting from the hallway leading to the bathroom.  I was more curious than alarmed as I wandered down to take a peek at what was going on.

Let me stop here to say we were on the 7th floor of a very large 10 story apartment complex and it was the middle of the Winter.

What I found was something that looked like it came alive,  right out of a Steven King novel!  A bubbling, boiling, twisted cookie sheet, spitting putrid, smoking fumes.  Instant first thought as I'm cussing like a longshoreman was turn on the water,  Dilute It and Run.  Right smack dab into Doug who was calmly opening windows and hauling out fans.

Needless to say we had to evacuate for awhile and, upon returning, I had a huge mess to clean up.  BUT, I had the most Awesome piece of pitted, aged copper I could have asked for.

The next day as I  hauled out that warped and twisted cookie sheet, my good piece of copper and a new bottle of Toilet Cleaner I got the "Old Hairy Eyeball" look with just one word:  OUTSIDE!!!!


  1. Ha! That is so funny! Oh, I wish the Castle was ready for all your artistic ideas and flares!

    The "hairy eyeball," eh? LOL, well, at least the entire building didn't have to evacuate! Wow, to think ...if you had only thought to grab a camera! It must have been something worth seeing for sure!

    It would be a wonderful thing, I believe to be able to weave... I have always wanted to know how to make pottery, too!

    Umm, what would have happened if you had added water? Did you wash it down the drain? Tell us!

    This was WONDERFUL!! Thank you for giving me another glimpse as to how nifty you are!

  2. Oh Jane!!! You're hilarious! I would have done that. Really. I would have. And everyone would tease me FOREVER and be wary of me and my next experiment. But you HAVE to try. Right? Oh, you really made me laugh!!!!

  3. Oh Betsy..believe me..every time I say I need to run to a craft store or worse the Hardware..Doug starts the'res SO much cool stuff to try. I just should read directions first sometimes!  I get to impatient though.
     I'm glad to hear I'm not the Only one!

  4. Amber..A my, they might have had to evacuate if I'd taken the time to do that!  Yes my first reaction was to blast the whole mess with the shower and dilute....Umm...that just added to the sizzle and smoky steam but did eventually work and part of the mess went down the drain.

    Shoot, I can teach you weaving and pottery!  Fun stuff!  When that Castles done if you;re brave..let me have a few talented friends I could drag along too!  What Fun!!!

    I'm not sure how nifty that was..just saying.....

  5. Ahem . . . what she was making was grey yellow-green chlorine gas -- which was first used by the Germans against the French in 1915.  And this was in an inclosed area.  I had some experience with that in the Army.  So, yeah, I wasn't all that amused.  Hence, the fans and -- getting out of there quickly. 

    Lucky for us, and the neighbors, the process wasn't making the gas very fast.  It did, however, create a heavy mist that included aluminum, which would probably also not be a good thing to breath much of. 

    Even outside, that process created a rather interesting display of smoke and gasses.  It did, however, seem to age the copper plates somewhat properly.

  6. It seem amusing now doesn't it my Dear?  You are a trooper putting up with my....experiments and sometimes even helping!  Wait, maybe you're just making sure you come out alive...Hmmm....