February 19, 2014

The Chemistry Laboratorie

Finally my latest project – the chemistry lab – is done!!

I designed the laboratory as both an art piece and storage for all the tags I made in Tim Holtz’ online classes – Chemistry 101 & 102.  It also has color charts for Distress Inks, Paints, Stains and Markers, as well as Alcohol Inks.

While I was working on the tags for Chemistry 101, the germ of the idea for this project was born.  Fortunately in this case it took a little while to reach fruition, because two things happened in the meantime- a second class, Chemistry 102, and the release of the perfect paper line, Tim Holtz Laboratorie.


The project was created in two parts – the drawer assembly on the bottom and the laboratory on the top.

Drawer- The drawer assembly on the bottom is used for tag storage and is a pretty straightforward box; however the side and back walls and the top of the box are double-walled to provide space for supports for the top section.  I put two magnets on the drawer front has two magnets to keep it closed, but really once the weight of the tags was in the drawer, these magnets were superfluous.  I used various TH products to make the drawer look like it was actually three separate lockers – Observations Word Bands, Plaquettes and Hinge Posts.  The corrugated paper is meant to look like the ventilated panel found on many lockers.

Laboratory- The top section (the lab) has three shelving units and the hinged cover.

The cover hangs to the back when the lab is open.  The idea for the cover is based (albeit loosely) on a fume hood found in actual laboratories.  I decided to frame the two sections in black chipboard to give the sections more stability.  I used TH Hinges and a TH Label Pull.  The cover stays closed with two hidden
I created a false floor to the lab so the ring stand dowels could go through the floor and be stabilized in chipboard channels below the floor.  This section is about 1/2" thick.  I first decided where I wanted the ring stands to be and glued little chipboard pinwheels in those locations.  I then just filled in with scraps of chipboard here and there.  You can see the dowels in this picture.

Pivoting Shelves- The side shelving units pivot on dowels that go all the way down through the drawer assembly (the TH Clock Keys are on the top of these dowels).
The shelves are two sided- they have a piece of plastic in the center to give them the necessary stability. I used plastic so that you could see through and view the lab equipment from the sides even when the unit was closed.   There are hidden magnets on the bottom in the front that pair up with magnets on the top of the drawer assembly to keep the shelving units in place when they are closed.  This picture shows the top of the drawer assembly with the magnets at the front and two holes at the back for the dowels.  You can also see the recess where the lab floor fits in.


Almost all of the laboratory equipment was fashioned from Tim Holtz (TH) Idea-ology products.  I used Ranger’s Glossy Accents when attaching any non-porous materials.

Ring Stands- Three thin dowels were used to make the ring stands.  I covered black chipboard circles with metal foil and embossed them to look like the wire screen that is sometimes used on rings to support containers.  These were attached to the ring stands using TH Hinge Clips.

Glassware- The beakers are caps from spray bottles.  Most of the clear bottles are TH, but I had a little collection of tiny bottles, including the Florence flasks, and I also found a few at a local scientific supply store.  The amber bottles are 7 Gypsies.  I searched high and low for something to use for a tiny Erlenmeyer flask, but alas, no joy there.  I used various techniques to color the bottles, but mostly alcohol inks.

Piping and Test Tubes- I used clear straws for the connective piping and the test tubes.  To make the straws look a little more like test tubes, I added a thin ring of Glossy Accents around the top of each straw.  The test tube rack was made from black chipboard.

Bunsen Burner- The upright is a ¼” dowel.  The flame is from an old LED tea light.  I did try several ideas to make the burner light up, but in the end settled for coloring the plastic flame with alcohol inks.  (A little while after I had the burner completed and attached to the lab I did find an online source for single tiny LED bulbs with a long enough wire that ran on either AAA or button battery – oh well, there will be other projects).  A thin black cord was used to look like a gas line to the burner.

Gas Domes- I stretched out a very thin layer of cotton balls and then used Ranger Ink Sprays (Adirondack and Dylusions) to gently add color to the cotton.  Only a very small amount of both ink and cotton are needed to make a gas-lie appearance.  The cotton was put inside of two sized=s of TH corked domes.

Laboratory Notebook- I cut out the 2x2 picture of the lab notebook from the Laboratorie paper and added it to black chipboard.

Large Bottles- The large bottles on the outside of the shelves are actually accordion books.  There is one for each of the Distress lines, plus one for Alcohol inks.  I used two TH Sizzix dies, Apothecary Jars and Bell Jar to make the books.  I measured the width of each die and then pre-folded an accordion slightly smaller than the width of the die.  I used painters tape to align it inside the die and then cut it out.  Some of them are taller than the actual dies - I just adjusted the top cutting pad to stop the cut above the bottom.  I cut out the back and front from plastic so the book would look more like a glass jar.  I added a TH Vial Label with a piece of waxed linen thread under the label long enough to wind around and hold the book closed.

There are two bunches of tags – one from each course.  I used TH Tag & Bookplates die to cut the covers out of black chipboard.  I sponged on some Picket Fence and Black Soot Distress Paint (and some Golden Titanium white for some brighter white spots) to make it look like a composition book.  I created the labels on my computer.

The tags are my versions of each of the ones Tim Holtz demonstrated in his Chemistry 101 and 102 courses.  The one thing I did add was a QR code label to each tag.  If I scan that code my phone or iPad I can go directly to the web page that has the video for that class (as long as I am signed in).  It is super easy to create QR codes.  Since I had so many to print and needed a small size, I just copied them all to a Word document and then printed them out on sticker paper.

If you are interested in the Chemistry 101and 102 classes, they are available through Online Card Classes. It’s a great way to learn about and experiment with all the Tim Holtz products.

And now for a video tour of the project...


Linda Fahlberg-Stojanovska said...

This is incredible both in all the different parts and in the whole - a 3d sculpture. You did a fantastic job with the video too zooming in and out so we could really see everything (and I know how hard that is). I love the 70's notebooks - that was a great touch. The "gas" in the domes and the idea for putting colors tabs in the accordion books were both excellent. Another great project.

KAT said...

The details in the piece is stunning! What a creative way to store your CC tags! Wow!

JustMyThoughts said...

Just delightful! Really nice camera work as well. ;-) I'd have to say the depth and layers of this creation are astounding. Wow wow wow!

Claire K-P said...

I was Googling the Laboratorie range, as I wanted to make a Chem Lab as a birthday present for my daughter who is studying Chemistry at Oxford University...but then I saw yours, and it is SO FANTASTICALLY AMAZING that I have given up the idea, as I could never hope to even do mine a quarter as well. Yours is fabulous! Well done!

Wendy said...

WOW! This is incredible. Your creativity and skills are so impressive. Way to go.

Julie Bodnar said...

April, You just Wow me. Your work is always just incredible. I was so fortunate to have gotten to learn from you. Your the best!!

toni said...

Amazing project. The construction alone is breathtaking let alone all the marvellous lab equipment. Fantastic ! X

Theresa said...

Love this project. Hope you are considering making patterns and that you sent this to Tim. Would love to see this on one of his monthly things to see posts. Great use of the paper collection. Started following your blog so glad you shared on Laura's facebook page. thanks as always for sharing.