Whaaaa I need help!

loribee2November 27, 2012

I was so excited to get my first order for my mushrooms off my Etsy site. A woman ordered two large ones and two small ones. When she got them, the two small ones were fine, but the stems had snapped off the two large ones.

Here is one of the mushrooms that broke:

I make the stem and the cap as separate pieces, then use Maipei Ultraflex II mortar to stick them together. (I had used Gorilla Glue before that, but it didn't hold worth squat.) The Maipei seemed to work great, but this was the first time I had to ship them anywhere.

I had double wrapped them in the fat bubble wrap, and also padded them with peanuts. I did, however, ship all 4 mushrooms in one package. The two large ones were on the bottom, the small ones on the top. Maybe there was weight on the stems that was too much for them to handle?

The woman is sending them back to me and I've offered to repair them or send her something else off my site. But now I'm gun shy about shipping these mushrooms! Do you think Maipei mortar isn't a good enough bonding agent to hold the two pieces together? Or do you think I simply didn't package them well enough?

Suggestions? Ideas? HELP?!! (waaah, so disappointed this happened, but I guess we live and learn)

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loribee2

Update: It wasn't my shipping. Since I've got these mushrooms all over my yard, I went outside and grabbed one, tapped it a few times against my concrete patio and snap! The stem popped off.

Well, at least now I know!

Any ideas on what the most super strongest concrete adhesive there is out there? I'm thinking I could try plain old construction adhesive, the stuff you use to glue retaining wall blocks together. I'd just assumed real mortar would be stronger.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:15PM
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nicethyme

unfortunately they probably need to be tied together with metal reinforcement during construction, like embedded mesh with wires sticking out to be twisted together when you mortar them? I know that doesn't help with fixing your current stock but its a dresign weakness that you should rework for future pieces

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:50PM
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nicethyme

BTW, that is REALLY adorable

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:51PM
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loribee2

Haha, thank you. Yes, I had considered how I could insert a rod between the cup and bowl to connect the two, but doing anything more time consuming than pouring into molds just doesn't make them worth the time in terms of selling. I'm running into that problem with my flowers that I form entirely from armature. So many hours go into just making the flower, much less the mosaic. When all is said and done, I'm making about $5 an hour for the price I can sell them.

I definitely understand why mosaics are always so expensive!

I did do some research and found two adhesives concrete people seem to recommend. One is Loctite Epoxy for metal and concrete. The second is Loctite PL Premium. Since I broke two mushrooms intentionally, I've tried them both. In two days after they've cured, I'll try breaking them again and see if I can. I'm hoping the PL Premium works over the epoxy. Epoxy is a MESS to deal with, and I was unable to wipe it clean. But if it's the only thing that will form a strong bond, I think it would still be easier than trying to form them in one piece.

Of course, I could just quit mushrooms and move on to my NEW idea: Jewelry. I'll tackle that on another post, heh.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 10:56PM
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silvamae

I will be watching with interest to hear the outcome. I would think that reinforcement is the best answer. The cost of mosaic work is an ongoing issue. Really, I am struggling right now, trying to get some smaller items ready for that Open House on Dec. 8. It seems everything I think of to make, the cost of the materials and labor is so high, I don't think I can price it so as to make a modest profit. Here's an example: I have a bazillion square wooden picture frames that we paid about $8 each for (including glass and easel backs). I envisioned gluing a natural stone tile in the center opening and then a small dichroic glass square tile on that. Like a trendy art piece kind of thing. But the dichroic tiles we have, we paid $20 each for. So I would have $30 in the piece before painting or mosaicing the wooden frame. So say, $40 in materials, plus extensive labor. Probably couldn't sell them. The public's perception, in so many cases, is so unrealistic. Perhaps because we've tried to share the joy of mosaics with school children and now many adults think its just a fun and easy play thing like play dough or something. I don't know; I'm still brainstorming . . .

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:26PM
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loribee2

Yes, that's what's been so wonderful about the mushrooms. It's easy to pour the forms, the caps aren't difficult to mosaic, especially when I use the gems as the one above. I can crank one out in about 2-3 hours total time, for about $3 in materials and sell them for $25-45 depending on size. I don't know how I could make them as one piece without adding too many hours to the process. Thus, I'm really hoping the concrete adhesive works.

I love your dicroic tile idea, though. I just looked into that glass, thinking about getting some small pieces for jewelry. Man, it's expensive!! I know you'd make it look amazing. Here in California (I'm in the SF Bay Area), something like you're describing could be pretty pricy. I was surprised at how expensive some of the mosaics were at a show I went to recently, but I was afraid to ask the seller if she actually sold much.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 12:28AM
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texaswild

I'm w/the idea of making them one piece. Y'all's discussion on pricing/selling is exactly why I don't try to market my stuff - just not worth the effort. My present project - Deanna's Birdbath - was a request. However, when she gets the price on it, she may not want it. It's not gonna be cheap. She paid $450 for the first one, but this one - No way - w/be about double. If she doesn't want it, guess who w/enjoy it??? I AM running out of room in my yard, but maybe I'll find juuuuuuuuust the right spot.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:28AM
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ohtobedone

When I pour mine I use a convience store plastic cup and inbed the tapered end in the cement of the cap, When the cap is dried pull out the cup and you have a hole that will fit the cup when it is poured in cement. I find shipping 2 pieces is much easier and the buyer can remove the cap to make it easier to move. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 9:43AM
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silvamae

Brilliant! Make them in two pieces so that one inserts into the other. No need to reinforce. Easier to lift, handle, ship. That is your answer!!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:04AM
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nicethyme

I think that's a solution

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:21AM
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silvamae

Loribee2, I'm hoping to hear what you decided to do -- have you tried making them in two pieces and shipping them that way?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2012 at 10:19PM
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silvamae

Loribee2, I am hoping that you will come back in this topic and let us know what you decided to do.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 3:50PM
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loribee2

Oh, I'm so sorry!! I somehow missed that there were new posts on this thread. I think my eyes are getting old!

I am still making them in two pieces. However, instead of using mortar to connect the two, I am using Loctite PR Premium Construction Adhesive. There's absolutely nothing that will crack that bond once it cures. Trust me, I tried. I've also shipped them since with good results. So the PR Premium is now a staple in my workshop. I think the mortar simply wasn't strong enough to withstand the rough handling of shipping. And I honestly like this adhesive better. No mixing anything or guessing how much I need. I just squeeze it out of the tube.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:50PM
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silvamae

Good to know -- I'm going to buy some of that stuff. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:01AM
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