Thursday, March 4, 2010

Penny Drinks aka Ladies Night

Well, thanks to a lovely recommendation from Mr. Eric Hart, and you lovely people, this blog has just made it's first penny! Now, don't worry, the entry on cake decorating is in the works, but I wanted to take a moment to celebrate what I hope is the first of tens and tens of pennies! What better way to celebrate this occasion than with a drink, especially one that you can't drink?

When Act I ends, our actor has been dressed in drag for our amusement. When Act II begins, we find that he has spent intermission at a bar across the street, taking advantage of ladies night. Now, if there's one thing that musical theater thinks that 'ladies' like to drink, it's fruit cocktail in a glass. Right?

The fruit is actually serving two purposes here, visual and practical. For color, clarity, and cuickness (that's right, I said it) we decided to use Smooth Cast 325 for our drinks. The problem with cast resins is that they aren't particularly light, and top heavy stemware makes for tippy, awkward props. The fruit, which was purchased and pulled from stock, is considerably lighter as it is either hollow or made from lightweight materials.  Since we're going for the girly drink joke anyway, it fits right in.

There are two little tricks with this drink, not that anyone would ever notice by looking at it. Because that darling little umbrella is incredibly fragile, and because my boss is holding out hope of finding a funnier straw, both the umbrella and the straw are designed to be removable.

So, here's how I did it. First, I pulled two glasses from stock (one is for a back up.) Then, I loaded the glasses up with fruit and fake ice. Since I wanted the resin to stick to the glass and the fruit, I didn't use a release agent. The umbrella (as you can see only slightly in the photo) is floating freely in a small red cocktail straw that is embedded in the resin. This was simply done by putting the straw in the glass before filling. Urethane resin is adhesive, so it's very easy to do embeddings like this.  Making the bigger straw removable was only slightly more complicated.  First, I used hot glue to plug the bottom of the straw. This prevented resin from creeping up the inside of the straw and sticking. Then I used Sonite Wax liberally on the straw. Sonite Wax is a petroleum based wax that is made by Smooth-On, and is releasier, beefier, and gooier than the spray on Universal Mold Release that I am generally fond of. Once the straw had a thick coat of release agent, I placed it in the cup as well.


The decision to make the drinks pink was based largely on the fact that I had red So-Strong pigment in stock.  Just a tiny dab of this pigment was enough to color the resin this fruitylicious shade of pink.  As per the directions, I measured out equal parts of Smooth Cast 325 A&B, added the color to part B, and then mixed the two thoroughly, and poured.  (Using proper safety gear, of course.)

About 1/4 of the way into pouring, I remembered something important. Buoyancy.  The sealed straw and the hollow fruit started to float to the surface, basically voiding my careful arrangement.  No matter, with my gloved fingers, I was able to hold the items in place long enough for the resin to set initially (about 90 seconds.) Note to self: light stuff floats.  

Luckily, the schmooeying of the straw was a success, as was the awkward holding of the fruit. The fruit stayed in the drink, the straw came out. The embedded cocktail straw made a perfect little nest for the umbrella, and the cabaret show got just a little bit girlier. Hot glue a fake slice of orange to the rim of the glass, and bottoms up!


  1. I was going to ask how you got all the perfect bubbles in there, but then I saw that they were in the glass itself. nice!

  2. Thanks, Anna, for the tips! For those reading this that have easier access (and more restrictive budgets), I've also accomplished this in one of two other ways depending on the clearness of the "drink." I've utilized gel candle wax for a variety of see-through liquids or craft soap for milky or opaque liquids. Both are easy to tint, and are usually locally available at a craft store like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or AC Moore. The best part about them in long-term storage situations is that if they ever start to detach from the glass or have problems is that they can be put back in a microwave and "refreshed."

    Keep up the great work, I love the blog.

  3. Thanks Ron, those are great suggestions! I'm always looking for less toxic ways of doing things - I'll have to give yours a try.

    How well does the gel candle hold up under heat?

  4. If you mean hold up under stage lighting or the heat of an actor's hand, I haven't had any problems. It takes almost 200 degrees to start to get the gel to flow in the first place, so aside from storing them in a shed in the summer, you shouldn't have any trouble. I have a few drinks which were made 3 years ago this way, and the abuse the glasses have taken is more noticeable than any issues with the gel. (Truthfully, actors are so interested in the fact that the drinks are not real that their oily fingerprints on the top surface from poking the gel are the most visible signs of use.)



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