Testing Critters for Outside Use

As my critter plant stakes gain popularity, the question of how they hold up outside is asked. So in April I put together a dragonfly that has a variety of materials waxed in for testing.

I have some alcohol inks that are designed for metal and others that are not, so I painted parts of the dragonfly with various colors. I also tried colored wax, and left some parts ‘bare’.

Then I hung it outside to brave the elements. I used various types of gift tissue paper, a colored teabag and a scrap of cotton fabric to test.

That evening while I was at a pop-up we had a rainstorm, and I got to peek at the dragonfly when I returned.

The droplets just hung out on the waxed paper.

But the next morning you could see rusty spots.

I don’t mind that patina, but some people might.

Another rainstorm happened in daytime, and I checked out the dragonfly again.

I noticed the rainbow markers were runny, and I observed additional rusty spots.

So I purchased permanent markers for additional research. How cool is it that my business expense is rainbow markers?

I colored a new teabag for testing (original markers, rained out markers, permanent markers below).

I also decided to replace one piece of tissue with a handmade paper scrap to see how that holds up. Then I touched up rusty spots with colored wax to see how that holds up for the purists.

For now, rainstorms don’t bother the dragonfly structurally, and the paper/fabric remained attached.

I am curious what hot summer temperatures will bring, but my guess is that as long as the dragonfly just hangs out and doesn’t get handled in the heat, the paper or fabric will hold up fine.

Soon I will be checking some fabric versions of a ladybug too, since I have a second hook on my porch. Dragonfly 2.0 is awaiting the next rainshower. 

Unfortunately my web shop is undergoing repair right now, so you don’t see the full catalogue of my pieces there. You can check out the Hip Circle Empowerment Center, Sacred Art, ReVive Consignment and the Evanston Art Center Pop-up Shop for select pieces at retail shops.

I can also make custom designs of course, just pop me a message and peruse my Facebook page for samples.