Sunday, October 4, 2009

Art Charms From Number 6 Plastic

Remember a couple of days ago when I showed you some images of how I made charms for my art quilts? (The birds and heart triangles.) Well I discovered a slightly healthier source of #6 plastic - shrink plastic. Newman's Organic Ginger-O's.

So here is a fun project.

#1. Eat the cookies. By the way, I am pretty sure that all of the different flavors of Newman-O's come in #6 trays. Share them with friends. Read fairy tales to your children in between nibbles. Settle in with a cup of tea, your dreams and a couple of cookies.

#2. When the cookies are all gone (or if you put your cookies in a jar) rinse out the tray. Dry it off or not: see below, #4.

#3. Take a regular hole punch and punch a few holes. Because I will be sewing this onto an art quilt, I punched once at each top corner and five times along the bottom so that I can both attach it to the quilt and also hang beaded dangles from the bottom edge. You will not be able to punch the charm after it is heated. It becomes very thick and strong. (Like the magic shine on my hole punch?)
NOTE: If you are using the kind of shrink plastic that is sold in craft stores you are likely to get a thicker sheet which will shrink, but not shrink as much as these trays. The Newman People make these trays as thin as they can to keep waste down to a minimum. Thank you Newman People. These thin trays shrink to almost 1/3 of their original size. I started with a 6" x 8" x 2" tray (15cm x 20.5cm x 5cm) and ended up with a charm measuring 2.5" x 3" (6cm x 7.5cm). So use a regular 1/4" (5mm) hole punch - nothing smaller as the resulting hole will be too small for a needle. Look below to see where I threaded the green floss to help you see where I put my holes.

#4. With either a heat gun or a designated art oven at 275 degrees F (I have an old toaster oven that we never use for food), and in a well ventilated area, heat the tray on a metal baking sheet. I use aluminum foil over the oven tray or an old aluminum baking tray with the heat gun. It took me about a minute with my heat gun. In the oven you have to watch it. In both cases the plastic wrinkles and curls - it may even flip over. It will then uncurl and nearly flatten. I use cloth or tongs to pick it up out of the aluminum tray (mine has ridges) and set it on something flat, and while it is still hot press the piece completely flat with something flat (I had a jar lid, or use a book, a block...) Oh! And do you see below where there are little spots and bubbles on my charm? I did not dry my tray off first and I think that the water spots made the plastic take the heat unevenly. I have decided that this was an intentional design consideration...
You can still see the happy cookie ridges.

#5. Decorate with permanent markers. Consider the possibilities of drawing one design on one side and another part of the picture or design on the other side: the trunk of a tree on the back and the leaves in the front? The frame on the back, with accents and a quote on the front? Something like that.

I hope that you have fun, and please do leave me a comment linking back to your blog with photos of your Newman-O's charm!