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Reflective Exterior

 
Posts: 23
Location: Nevada
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Wanted to share something I stumbled across that has worked out well. Along the side of the highway near my house (straw bale) I noticed a white pile and, as a professional scrounger I stopped to see what it was. Turns out the highway department had reapplied the reflective beads to the stripes in the road and just dumped the leftovers. I scurried off with a couple of five gallon buckets of the stuff having no idea what I was going to do with it. Later, as I was putting the finishing coat of exterior plaster on the little straw bale vault that is my bed womb, I decided to try embedding some of these reflective micro beads in the wall. After I had it troweled out smooth I simply got my hand moist and with a flat hand transferred the beads from the bucket to the wall. Some fell off but a lot stuck. I troweled over it and got a nice skip effect. It looked kinda cool in fact. The real surprise though is when light hits this east facing wall in the morning. It suddenly becomes resplendent with the sun's rays and is a thing of incredible beauty. I plan to do the same thing on the side of the house that headlights hit when driving up. I was lucky to score all I need for free but looked around and they're called "reflective glass beads" and are readily available from many sources. Fun stuff.
 
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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I would like to respectfully request pictures. This sounds interesting but I am having trouble envisioning it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3535
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Retro reflective beads. Little glass beads that make the lines on the road reflective, and dozens of other painted safety signs and markers. The sphere always reflects some light back at you regardless of the angle between you and the light and the surface. Bloody expensive from most sources.

 
Kim Bozarth
Posts: 23
Location: Nevada
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I'm REALLY bad at the picture thing but I'll try tomorrow morning to capture it. You can hardly see them if the sun isn't shining on them. R Scott, you can get a pound for about $20 (I saw them on ebay) and that would be more than you'd need as a little goes a very long way.
 
pollinator
Posts: 519
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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It is an old idea. the Mormons used a reflective plaster on their temple in Kirtland, Ohio back in the 1830's. They used crushed glass and glazed pottery in a plaster mix (no one wrote down the specific recipe). The effect was impressive, by all accounts. My high school science teacher made an attempt at replicating the recipe to be used in a far more profane project, to paint our school's letter in the side of the mountain. His test batch worked great, but he determined that the amount of glass required to paint the letter was beyond his meager resources. I am pretty sure the reflective plaster recipe predates the temple construction, likely an old plasterer's guild secret.
 
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Very cool Kim. We sometimes add mica to finish plasters to give them sparkle, but they never sparkle that much...Thanks for sharing.
 
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