Have you ever looked at a slice of fruit and been stunned at how absolutely gorgeous your food can be?
Well if the answer is yes then this is the Instructable for you.
With the help of mother nature, l will show you how to take fruits and vegetables and turn them into pieces of art.
I suppose I should give you a little background on how I came to do this. It all started with a piece of kiwi. I was slicing a bag full of kiwi I got off the discount rack at my favorite grocery store to dehydrate. I held up a slice of kiwi and the light that shone through my window illuminated the piece of fruit. I immediately thought of stained glass windows. At that moment, I knew what I had to do.
As months passed, I started collecting mental notes on various fruits I found to have the same effects and logged them in the fruit glass window folder in my mind. Alas, after many years of wanting to create these windows I finally found time. I will share with you my step by step procedure, what I learned during my process and the kinks.
Step 1: Fruits and Veggies
So not having any experience in this and never seeing anything like this done before, it was a learn as I go type of situation
I started simply, slicing and dehydrating. I quickly realized I needed to find a way to keep that " just cut moisture look", so I tried different natural coatings. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I found that Modified Corn Starch was the key.
Step 2: Tips
-No matter how much you want it and try, starchy foods like potatoes just don't work.
-Watermelon is awesome.
-You can use onion to create lines. Red onion cooked in water and a bit of baking soda turns the onions green.
-Cooking onions in black beans turn them dark purple.
-Peppers, dragon fruit, persimmon, tomato, beets, citrus, peeled kiwi, over ripe pineapple, seedless watermelon and red onion skins are a great starting point
-Blueberries take forever to dry but add a really nice element
Step 3: Modified Corn Starch Mix
Always measure by weight. For example, if you take 100 grams of water you will add 12.5 grams of modified corn starch to it, or 300 grams of water to 37.5 corn starch weighed.
Bring your measured water to a simmer and add the corn starch whisking well for 4 minutes. When done pour it into a small mason jar so you can cap it and put it in the fridge while not using.
I find making larger batches is better when dehydrating and smaller batches when creating the window work best.
Step 4: Slicing and Coating
To slice the fruits and vegetables I used a mandolin or sliced with a sharp knife depending on the food. For example watermelon, kiwi and tomatoes are best done with a knife.
Pealing the skins on fruits like kiwi, watermelon and other tougher skinned foods is a necessity.
Using a marinade brush, brush the corn starch mixture onto both sides and place fruit on a non-stick dehydrator sheet.
Step 5: Dehydrate
Depending on the quality of your dehydrator the time will vary.
I generally set my temperature to 115.
The goal is to dehydrate until mostly dry but not crunchy.
Step 6: The Stash
Store your dried food in glass jars or zip lock bags.
Its helpful to have inspirational art to guide your vision.
Step 7: Tools
-dried fruit and veggie stash
-modified corn starch mixture
-exacto knife with a few extra blades
-small paint brush
Step 8: Cutting and Pasting
The best way of making a clean window is by cutting the fruit to fit with just a small amount of overlay between the pieces.
Place the piece of fruit that you want on the bottom over the top piece of fruit.
Trace with your thin sharpy an 8th inch over the line of the fruit under it.
I know that might sound a bit confusing but I hope the photos above do a good job of showing what I mean.
To stick the two parts together, use the modified corn starch mixture and small paint brush to brush onto the edges and bond together like glue. let dry for a minute.
Step 9: Cutting and Pasting part 2
Continue the process until you are happy with your piece.
When you have completed your piece, put it back into the dehydrator until mostly dry but not crunchy.
Step 10: Preserving
I will show you three different options for preserving and displaying.
2. clear coat spray paint
3. vacuum sealing
Step 11: Resin
What you need-
-resin and catalyst
-plastic cups with oz
Fist you need to build or buy a mold.
Next step is choosing your resin. Talk to your local plastics store specialist if you have questions or don't know what to purchase.
I use Clear-Lite Crystal clear UV stabilized casting resin from Tap Plastics with the MEKP liquid catalyst.
Having some acetone in a spray bottle is helpful for bubbles
After you obtain your mold and resin, the best way to measure how much resin you will need is with rice. It gives you a good estimate. Pour rise to the level you want then pour into a measuring cup. Measure in ounces. That will be about how much resin you will need.
There should be a guide on the back of your resin. Follow it strictly.
Step 12: Pouring the Resin
Following the directions on the back of the resin container of your choice.
You will most likely be doing a two part pour.
With good ventilation, preferably outside or in spray booth, pour enough resin to make at least a 1/4 inch layer. If there are any bubbles that won't go away you can use acetone in a spray bottle and lightly spray over surface of resin to pop the bubbles.
Let sit for designated (by label) time to set (about a10- 20 minutes.)
Cover the face of your piece with resin before placing face down to help eliminate bubbles. While placing down, start at one end and slowly lower and push away possible troublesome bubbles.
Pour batch two of resin over fruit, repeating with acetone spray if necessary.
Let set on level counter top for 24-48 hours
Step 13: Resin cont.
After resin is set, Spray with Resin Spray to set the top which was exposed to air. Let it set another 24 hours to ensure it is dry.
Remove from mold
Step 15: Clear Spray Coat
What you will need:
-Clear spray coat
-black spray paint (optional)
-frame with glass and back panel
-exacto knife, box cutter or if you are lucky a laser cutter
Only use with proper ventilation or outside.
For the spray coat option I did it two ways. The first, I tacked them to cardboard and sprayed about 6 layers on each side.
Option number two was to place the piece on cardboard and spray one side then move it to another piece of the board as to not let it stick to the paper. Repeat at least six times on both sides.
Step 16: Frame
I was lucky enough to have access to a laser cutter but it is not necessary.
With laser cutter- I scanned the fruit and brought it into Photoshop and then into Illustrator to get the image I needed to cut out around the fruit image.
If you don't have a fancy laser cutter, you can make a copy of the image, cut it out. Trace it onto the back of the frame and use your exacto knife to cut out the shape a little smaller than drawn.
Spray paint it black to make it look more dramatic.
Place the cut out back board face down in the flame followed by the fruit nicely fitting it over the cut out. Lastly put the glass over that and secure. Voila. a beautiful fruit glass window.
You are probably wondering why I put the glass behind the fruit. Well, I tried it both ways and it looks much better with the raw fruit and no glass to distract.
Step 18: Vacuum Sealed
If you have a vacuum sealer, this is the simplest way to preserve a fruit glass window.
Dehydrate fruit to dry but not brittle.
Place in vacuum sealer bag and vacuum seal away.
You can cut a nice frame for it with card stock or thicker paper.
Hot glue gun it into place and there you go ... With emergency use capabilities too... just tear open bag and you've got a tasty snack (because you did NOT spray coat or resin it)
Step 20: Other Examples
Enjoy and happy window making.
Thanks for checking this out