Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Floating Shelves Cast A Spell

Monte Carlo in Minneapolis

Have you ever stopped in an old school, ritzy watering hole and felt like you were transported back to a bygone era? You know the place – coppertop bar, ornate chandeliers, vested barkeep – an establishment that could pass as a set for Boardwalk Empire, where you expect to hear guys call each other “sport” and “chum”, instead of “dude” and “player”. These are the kinds of bars that make you drink in your surroundings as well as your double Manhattan. One thing that always strikes me is the sumptuous beauty of the bottle display. You'll often find these vessels perfectly lit and standing upon glimmering glass shelves that run the length of the mirror hanging opposite you.

Glasitalia Verglas by Piero Lissoni
The spell cast by this opulent scene of shimmering surfaces may be broken as you start to wonder how these thick glass shelves are actually attached to the mirror. You look for some sort of supporting hardware and find none. Lined with heavy glass bottles, they seem to defy the laws of physics. The magic is in the adhesive that bonds the edge of the shelf to the surface of the mirror. The attachment is so robust that the seam is actually stronger than the glass it is holding together. Hard to believe? I thought so too, so I put it to the test. Not long ago when we were removing a mirror with glass shelves from our show room, we damaged it, and instead of just throwing it out, we decided to test the strength of the attached shelves. After applying an incredible amount of pressure we were eventually able to force a shelf free. However, when it tore lose it was not the bonded section that gave away. Glass had actually ripped away from the mirror’s surface!

Because of its obvious durability and the fact that it cures 100% transparent, there are many practical applications for the bond beyond glass shelves, for instance, adhering towel hooks to shower glass. This allows you to incorporate a cool, functional hook in your shower enclosure without having to pay for another hole to be drilled in the glass. Glass coffeetables can also be made using this adhesive, without the need for hardware.

Cactus Display

Use your imagination! I used UV bond to make a glass cactus holder that allowed me to expose the layer of soil beneath the cacti and a layer of pebbles beneath that, giving it an interesting stratified effect. You can custom design whatever you want out of glass – terrariums, bookends, jewelry boxes (Pinterest & Etsy are good source for inspiration) – and this adhesive will make a clean, metal-less look possible, that will be sure to impress!