Confessions of an Ignorant Creator

A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

I added a lip of foam to accentuate Jack Skellington‘s lips. It will be sanded down to blend into the rest of the head. Photo courtesy of Debbie Morrow.

I’ve never professed that I’m an expert at my craft of creating frightful or delightful things.Today is another example of my ignorance and hope my less-than-knowledgeable creator friends can learn from my mistakes.

I’ve been working the past week on a Jack Skellington head that will be built into a life size character for my yard.  I completed the paper mache, added eyes/nose features and covered it with a thin coat of plaster.

I was about to start sanding when I took a look at photos from the movie and decided to add a lip edge for his mouth. Instead of going back to plaster or my paper mache mix, I chose to use Touch and Foam Max Fill. It’s quick, easy and you can sand it within a very short period of time. I even had experience using it for other projects without any big issues.

The Problem

As with any spray foam, it expands which I was aware of. I figured I could wipe off any real excess and sand the rest. What I didn’t realize is that when you get this stuff on your hands/skin, it is incredibly hard to remove.

First Mistake

As soon as I was done wiping the excess off, I went to the sink to rinse off any residue (first mistake) from my hands. I noticed immediately that the chemical not only didn’t come off, it became even stickier.

So I ran to the foam can and read under instructions for clean up: DO NOT USE WATER! Well, that was something I should have seen prior. It did say to use Acetone, which I promptly went and poured some over my hands…the foam wouldn’t budge.

I decided to pour the acetone into a cup and soak my hands for several minutes…nothing happened. The chemical was still there.

The Chemical Bombardment

After about 15 minutes of soaking each hand in Acetone, I went on to an arsenal of products. I poured alcohol on my hands and rubbed. I’ve used alcohol in the past for nail polish removal when I’ve run out of acetone, so I figured it couldn’t hurt.

After several minutes of alcohol, my fingers were still sticking together from the foam chemical, so I scrubbed them again with soap and water to get the alcohol off( I didn’t want a chemical reaction) and moved on to Goo Gone.

Believe it or not, Goo Gone did the trick. I just sprayed a light amount of it anywhere the foam residue existed and it began to break it down. I sprayed a bit more to make sure I got it all off and then followed with soap and water.

My hands probably haven’t ever been cleaner, but I’ll let you know if I grow any extra limbs from the chemicals I’ve used. So my fellow crafters, read labels completely before use. I’ve learned my lesson.

I’m hoping it was because of using water first that prevented the acetone from working. But just in case, if you’re working with canned foam, have a backup plan.

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3 thoughts on “Confessions of an Ignorant Creator

  1. Pingback: An Update on Jack Skellington Prop | Frugal Frights and Delights

  2. Oh that sounds so familiar…I was working on a paper mache pumpkin and the glue I thought was wood glue turned out to be industrial strength floor board glue which also foamed up. Had the stuff stuck to my hands for 3 days. Lesson learnt from that : read the lable first AND the writing on the back ! 🙂

    • Sometimes it’s the mistakes that teach us the most. That wood glue situation really does sound like something I’d do! Sometimes reading the label and following directions isn’t enough. A few weeks ago I decided to fill my zero dog with expandable foam to help preserve him better and although I am well aware of what now happens when that foam activates out of the can, I still had a huge mess. Apparently, the brand of foam I used this time expanded about 100 percent more than the last brand I used. Thank god I had the sense to not get it on my hands and I was prepared with lots of cardboard to save the surrounding areas. So – each little error we make, we learn from it. Thanks for sharing your mishap.

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