bamboo vase wrapped in palm lined street

Art Walk 1 Year 006

Jeff took this picture of a pretty, and very long, stretch of boulevard with his iphone and his favorite app called toy camera.  When I first saw it, a daydream began…

Thomas Edison is responsible for the royal palm trees lining the road. Our town is where Edison’s summer home was located. His house and property are still open to the public.

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The property is brimming with all sorts of trees and plants, including many different varieties of bamboo. You see, Edison was as crazy about the luscious, giant grass as Jeff and I are now, but probably for different reasons. He was looking for the perfect material for the filament of his light bulbs and had some success with bamboo fibers.

I wanted to combine the two---palm trees and bamboo, and created a vase that my 18 year old son actually complimented me on. (wow! I think that’s a first.)

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First, I printed Jeff’s photo twice. One, large enough to wrap around the bamboo. Instead of cutting the print out, I folded the paper and tore it, so the edge would have a softer look.

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And the second one I printed smaller---

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---just large enough to lay over and cover six small bamboo squares that Jeff cut for me.

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They’re about the size of scrabble pieces. I cut the small print into six pieces and glued them to the bamboo squares. Then I applied a couple of layers of Modge Podge – a waterbase sealer and glue to both the vase and the square tiles to protect the prints.

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Then, I started playing around with the tiles to decide how I wanted them to go on the vase. I thought that they needed to stand out a bit more.

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So, I soaked them in some dye, knowing that only the cut sides of the bamboo tiles would soak up the color. Underneath the bamboo’s slick surface are very porous fibers. And, the print is protected by the Modge Podge.

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See! …It worked.

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I also wanted a heavier finish on the vase, so I applied three more coats of Modge Podge.

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I did one more thing, to help the tiles stand out more on the vase. I took some smaller bamboo tiles and glued them to the backs.

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This raised my square tiles off the vase even more.

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To glue the tiles on, I needed something stronger than Modge Podge. Jeff picked up an adhesive by Loctite called Stik’n Seal No Mess Non-Toxic Adhesive. It cleans up with soapy water and works really, really well.

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And this is what a daydream realized looks like.

We are happy people when we’re able to carry out a completely imagined idea and make it real. It’s human nature.

I would like to live about three hundred years. I think I have ideas enough to keep me busy that long. ~Thomas Edison

Me too, Mr. Edison.


  1. This is one dreamy daydream Dale! I am absolutely mesmerised by this vase. Love the washed out 70's aesthetic of it, love the insipration (Mr Edison, no less!) and basically just want to marry it! Thanks for another beautiful project.

  2. This is gorgeous! I've seen this technique used in rubber stamping, too. It works great on a card when you want to highlight a bit of the image. I visited Thomas Edison's home when I was in high school, and I remember all of the amazing greenery - in particular a banyan tree. So cool and very, very different for a girl raised in the Midwest!

  3. Very cool Dale! This just looks like the perfect vase to have, and one I would love to have in my house. Basically it is super duper awesome!!

  4. I love it - its brilliant! Makes me smile and think of warm weather and cocktails! :)

  5. Thank you for all the compliments---they mean a lot to me.
    Deb---that’s so cool that you’ve been here and visited the Edison home. I know what banyan tree you’re speaking of. It’s huge! I should really go take some photos of it…I haven’t been over there in years, but always see the groups of visitors on their tours as I drive by and think: I should be in that group.

  6. That's just beautiful! The tiles repeating the image are the coolest idea ever. And dyeing the edges? A genius touch!

  7. Dale, I meant to comment on this post back when you published it, but I got so carried away, doing research about Thomas Edison's summer home and then about his life, that I completely forgot.

    I love the touch with the scrabble piece size. It somehow makes it very touchable, like you'd like to touch, feel this piece! Beautiful and imaginative!

  8. Hi,

    Just to let you know I've featured one of your images on my blog today, I initially found it on Craft Gawker.

    Hope thats ok, feel free to leave a comment on my blog;