WARNING: Lotsa text ahead. It's about the journey here. My girlfriend broke up with me a couple weeks ago and I've been feeling pretty crummy lately. I decided to teach myself to swirl paint about it. This thread will be a log where I can post my tests, progress and results along with notes, thoughts and general musings/rants/cries for help as I descend into a pastime of huffing mineral spirits and oil enamels. Follow along as I ruin my garbage cans and completely nullify the damage deposit on my basement suite. Feel free to comment, cheer, jeer, insult my ancestors, ask questions or offer advice if you feel so inclined, 'cuz swirling is lonely hobby and I need folks to hold me accountable for my progress--or lack thereof, such as the case may be. Materials. So this is probably the most important part of the whole shebang. I spent hours upon hours pouring myself into the YouTubes, looking for answers on Paints, primers, thinners, Boraxes and water heaters. My favourite how-to video had an Asian guy who swirled an electric cigarette. Those things are massive; like sucking on the input jack of an Fulltone OCD. Whatever makes your cherries squirt, I guess. Anyways the paint needs to float on water, so you gotta use oil paints. Of course. And Enamel paints make a nice, hard surface when they've dried which lends itself well to guitar finishes. Ok, sure. A bunch of faceless goons on the Ultimate-Guitar forum recommended Humbrol enamels. Like any reasonable 20-something-year-old, I listen to what the strangers on the internet tell me. The same goons also posted extensively about not using glossy paints—flat colours only. Huh. And don't even think about metallics unless you want a lifetime of pain and suffering. Well ok then. Hop on Amazon. Humbrol paints run for about $27.89/ml in Canada. .... that. I see a starter pack of Testors with 9 colours and thinner running for $15 so I snap that up, plus an extra pack of badass (or fruity, depending on your Views) fluoro colours as well. A few people mentioned Testors being decent to work with, so why the hell not. A little more internet searching brings me to https://www.sunwardhobbies.ca and they'll get me Humbrols for $3.29/14ml. Much better. They've got a lot of colours, but the flat/matte selections are pretty bleh. Everything's all “military-this” and “Aircraft-that” and I'm aiming for more “Tasteless and Obnoxious”. Screw it—I order a bunch of gloss. An hour of wandering around Canadian Tire (Lowe's with an entry-level car shop) bags me the rest of the gear I need: Rubber gloves, Borax, pipettes, little paper cups, poly clear coat, rattle-cans of primer/paint, toothpicks, mineral spirits (thinner) and a parts organizer, plus a big 'ol box 'o rags. No dice on a tiny-ass water heater though. I'll just freewheel it. I drive behind a Home Depot and nab myself about a billion scrap chunks of MDF and pine wood. Some people can chuck a bunch of paint in a can, dunk a guitar and come out with solid gold on their first try, dust of their hands and call it a day. I'm not one of those people. There's gonna be some serious R 'n D on my end. Plus, as I warned you, this is about the journey. Testors and Humbrols arrive at my office a few days later. Oh, baby. Prep. So this is probably the most important part of the whole shebang. After more hours spent combing Jemsite and squinting at videos by Deanswirled I feel about ready to worship at the altar of razzle-dazzle 'lectric djent-sticks. But first I gotta prime my wood. Rattle-cans make me nervous. Partially because I'm an inept buffoon who's likely to unintentionally give himself a dose of black-face. Also, I'm worried that the nice Croatian lady upstairs is going to hear/see/smell my racket in the backyard and start asking questions. She's a sweetie, but I'm pretty sure the sight of a Vai-swirled Jem would fly her straight into Cardiac Arrest Land with no return ticket. I do a few pieces in black and a few pieces in white. The white primers doesn't run so much as sprint off the MDF pieces. Each piece gets two coats of primer. Some look less like crap than others. Too embarrassed to take photos of this step. Memo to self: scuff pieces up with medium-coarse sandpaper before blasting them. Forty lashes for my lack of foresight. I grab the grab bin from my bedroom and line it with a plastic shopping bag (probably the smartest thought I've had in a decade), fill it with about 1.5 gallons of water. I nuke a heaping tablespoon of Borax in the microwave for 30 seconds, dump it in and stir up the mixture with said spoon. Memo to self: use a different spoon to eat the instant noodles looming in my grim not-so-distant future. Going for Yellow and Blue Humbrols on white. Glance at the clock. I've got tickets for Uli Jon Roth, and the gig starts in under an hour. Pray for me. Paint. So this is probably the most important part of the whole shebang. I scrolled through Ben Eller's old blog page, reading the text in his signature Tennessee drawl until the jelly from my eyeballs dribbled onto my shirt. I go without thinner. Gotta start somewhere, so let's start at "Zero". A few drops of blue, about half an inch above the surface of the Borax'd water to kick things off............... ZAP. Thin tendrils of livid sapphire whip across the surface of the water and the colour slams against the sides of my container faster than you could say “jet fuel doesn't melt steel beams”. Damn. Ok. I think I read that too much Borax will cause that. So let's add some more water... m'kay, the next coupla drops look much better. Add a few drops of gloss yellow and you got yerself a nice little fireworks display in that there garbage bin. Neato. I relax, and give it another squirt of blue and yellow and they wisp around a bit more. In goes a toothpick, and I start swirling... except it's not really swirling. It's globbing onto the tip like a totally tubular tye-dye booger. Pretty sure that's not supposed to happen. ABORT ABORT ABORT ABORT Lose the toothpick. The paint's already starting to develop a surface “skin”. .... it, it's now or never. In goes the piece of wood, primed white. She dives deep, nice and slow. I can see veins of colour through the water. It's very cool. She's completely under there now. I splash the leftover paint away with my free hand like the monkey I am and hold my breath. Swish. I've convinced myself that this is what my sad, sorry destiny looks like. More test runs real soon.