My Fish and a GSO

In my last post I hinted that I was working on a new project.  I did finish it and I LOVE how it turned out.  I got the idea from an art fair exhibit in my town, but the price tag of $350 was way too high for me.  The more I looked at it, the more I realized that I could probably just make one of my own.  It took a few days of contemplation before I finally had a brainstorm of how to make my own fish just like I envisioned.  First here’s the finished product:




The one I saw at the art fair had a lot of browns and neutral colors which aren’t really my favorite either, so I was able to spruce it up a bit by adding my favorite blue all over the place and then accent with some other brighter colors.  There were two tricky parts that had me stumped at first.   1) the eye was so cool!  They had encapsulated a large glass glob in some clear casting epoxy.  I had never used that before, but after looking online I found some at Michaels.  The other thing I really liked was that the fish wasn’t flat.  The body of the fish was 3D, shaped like a real fish.  I couldn’t figure out what to use the glue all of my glass pieces to, that would hold that shape.  Finally I thought that I could make a mold out of fiberglass.  I had only done fiberglass one time in the past and that was in college for a plastics class.  We made a flat clip board, but the concept was the same for making a shape.  I sketched the fish shape in photoshop and then printed it out.  I taped that to a large piece of cardboard and then cut out the shape.  Then where the main body of the fish was, I crumpled up pages of an old Cabelas catalog and used packing tape to hold them all in place.  I had a fairly smooth surface in the 3D shape that I wanted.  Then, I went to Lowes and bought a sheet of fiberglass cloth and some resin.  I roughly cut out the shape the fish twice.   once that was 2-3 inches larger all the way around and once that was about a half inch smaller around for the back.  I slapped on the fabric and resined it in place.  Then I flipped it over and add the piece for the back.  In three hours I had a hardened shell the exactly size and shape I wanted.  Then I cut all the pieces of glass and used GOOP glue to adhere them the the fish mold.  I let that glue dry overnight and then I used a water resistant black grout to finish off the project. 

I took the afternoon off on a Tuesday and did all of the fiberglass, glass cutting and gluing that day.  When I get excited about a project I just can’t stop until it’s done!  Then the following evening I did the grout and voila!  It was done.


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fiberglass supplies


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Fish before fiberglass


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With some glass pieces on the mold


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The cool eye.  I found the perfect sized votive candle holder at Michaels for 99 cents.  I flipped it over and glued a red glass glob to the flat backside and then fiberglassed the candle holder in place.  So after all the searching for the casting epoxy, I found an easier way and didn’t use that stuff.



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The glues I used.  The Goop was for the mosaic pieces and the super glue was for the two glass pieces that make up the eye.


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My stained glass tools that I hadn’t used in over a year!


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All the mosaic pieces are cut and in place.


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The water resistant grout I used.   (it doesn’t have to be sealed after grouting!)


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Wyatt helping me do the messy grout.


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Cody helping too.  He didn’t like it though because the grout was a little stinky.  He was more interested in playing Wii that evening.


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The finished project hung up in the backyard (thanks James!)


Finally before I go, I wanted to post another layout that was selected for the Gallery Standouts blog yesterday.  So exciting to get that email!  🙂


Phew!  That was a long post!  Thanks for reading!  🙂


2 thoughts on “My Fish and a GSO

  1. Your work always thrills and amazes me! I LOVE this. I also love how you can explain what you do!

    If only to have the brains of an engineer and the creativity of an inventor like you!

  2. WOW! I love mosaics, and have tried my hand at them from time to time myself…this fish turned out just awesome! You are so good at it and brave to take on such a large piece! This was fun to see, thanks for posting!


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