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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Shrink Art! (tutorial link) on: January 08, 2011 12:18:07 PM

An old favorite gets revisited: Shrinky Dinks!

Q:What is this stuff? A: Thin plastic sheets that shrink down 45% when you put them in the oven. Not only does the material shrink, but whatever artwork you draw/print on them will also shrink with it.

Q: Why is this awesome? A: Because you can get impossibly tiny detailed artwork from what was once simply just artwork.

We took home a few different packs of PolyShrink and made our family craft night into an all out craft party. Shrinky Dinks have been around since the 1970′s and i remember making these when i was young kid. Now Im all grown up, but seeing my doodles and drawings wither, writhe and shrink in the oven is still magic. The mess factor is low, the fun factor is high and anyone who can hold a pencil can make these.

full tutorial at...
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Treasure Box (tutorial included) on: December 29, 2010 02:02:05 PM
This project we weren't exactly sure which category to put it? 
But we essentially made a treasure box or a wooden jewelry box.  We decked out a normal wooden box using studs and string sealer etc.

As with all our posts I will show you a few things here but the layout is limited so if you want to see the full tutorial in all its glory check it out here:


Youre going to need a hammer, pliers, a hobby knife and brush-on sealer. But most of all, youre going to need some studs. In this example we also used some wood stain, decorative trimming, metal stampings and a small amount of chain.

sealing the box...

fastening decorative trim and setting studs...

tidying up studs that poked through to the inside...

e voila... Before and After:

3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Custom Belt Buckles made with Casting Resin (tutorial included) on: December 29, 2010 01:43:01 PM
We took boring belts from a thrift store and switched out the simple buckles for our crazy buckles we made using casting resin.


SO DOPE! right?

I included the tutorial here but theres not alot we can do with the layout so if this is hard to read you can follow along with the same instructions (better presentation) at:


So here's how we did it!  step by step...

Before you begin make sure you have:

    * A Belt with standard style buckle (we found hundreds of old belts at our local thrift store for under 2$ each)
    * Casting resin
    * A Resin molding tray
    * Measuring cups + stirring sticks
    * Latex gloves
    * Pliers
    * Sturdy scissors
    * Hammer
    * Small objects to embed into your belt buckle. (metal, wood, plastic, fabric, glitter, coins, beads, chain, powdered pigments, colorant, sequins, dried flowers, and/or coated photo paper all work great. try and skip anything with moisture and clear things as they will tend to disappear into the resin, example: rhinestones and marbles)

It isnt completely necessary, but we recommend

    * a torch or similar (cigar lighter works too)
    * a c-clamp or spring clamp
    * mold release


Make sure you do this outside. Casting resin requires ventilation, even though its virtually odorless. Put down plastic or a thick covering of newspaper first to catch any drips. Make sure your work surface is level, so that the resin settles evenly. Casting resin (epoxy resin) cures according to temperature. If its 75 F outside, then the resin will stay workable for about 1.5 hours. If its 50 F outside, youre going to have a working time of about 3 hours. The colder it is, the more patient youre going to have to be. If possible, set the trays by a heat source, like a space heater. In the heat of summer, this stuff can cure in as little as 30 minutes.


First get started by beheading the belt! Cut off the buckle as close as you can and separate it completely from the belt.


Using your pliers, separate the the pin on the buckle from the frame. Then straighten the pin out flat with an arched tail. It should resemble a cane, or a J. Some pins are harder than others to bend, depending on what type and gauge metal they are.  You can use a hammer to help you get the flat part. Here is an example of two pins out of their frames, before and after transformation
So now that your pins are done and the belt separated, youre ready for the casting resin. Put on your gloves. Mix up a batch of resin, about 1 oz (16 drams if youre using a medicine cup). Make sure you measure equal amounts of the resin and mix thoroughly!


Pour the resin into the mold and let it settle. Let it sit there for about 10 to 15 minutes so the air bubbles can rise out.

If you have a torch, pass the flame over the surface briefly to pop all the bubbles instantly and leave behind a crystal clear surface. If you dont have a torch, just be patient and hope for the best.

Now for the fun part!

Start placing the objects into the resin, keeping in mind that the buckle will be viewed from bottom. Place everything face-down, and make sure that no air bubbles get caught in cracks and crevices. (use the popsicle stick to  push around the objects until the air bubbles wiggle out.) You can check periodically what the buckle is going to look like by holding up the tray and looking at it from below. Just make sure you dont spill it when youre admiring it!


Once you have it all laid out and perfect, let it cure until its sticky (about 1.5 hours in 75 F).

When the surface is no longer liquid (when you cant poke the popsicle stick into the resin anymore), its time to pour the second layer. Mix up enough resin to fill the tray 3/4 full. Depending on the size of your mold, it could be anywhere from 1/2 oz. to 3 oz. You can embed more stuff, add colorant or glitter, or just leave it clear. Then let it cure until its sticky again. (about 1.5 hours in 75 F). You can also torch the surface again to pop those annoying little air bubbles.


Now that the second layer is tacky, lay the pin onto the surface with the arch curving up toward the sky. (if it starts sinking, the resin isnt hard enough yet) Arrange it center-right (or center-left if you prefer to buckle your belt that way). This will be the mechanism that fastens through the belt holes. Next, pour enough resin to cover the flat part of the pin, but not enough to cover the arch. If you look at the surface parallel, you will just see the curve of the pin sticking up out of the resin. Last thing you do is lay the belt face down in the resin. Make sure the end is completely submerged, and it trails out of the mold. You may need to clamp it down if the belt is unruly. Heres what our two belts looked like in their final step

Let this all sit for a good long while. We happened to time these perfectly so that they could cure fully overnight (a 10 hour period in 65 F) The next morning, they were hardened nicely. De-mold your buckle from the tray, (using a mallet or small hammer to gently loosen the buckle from the mold) be patient, even though i know youre excited to see the final product! Once the buckle comes out of the mold, run a knife around the underside edge to remove any excess resin and sharp edges. Now its ready to wear!
4  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects / Magic Sculpt - link to tutorial on: December 29, 2010 01:15:56 PM
This is a project we did using Magic Sculpt.
Magic Sculpt is a two part epoxy self-hardening clay. Once part A (resin clay) meets part B (Hardener clay), it activates the curing process. Over a period of about 2 to 4 hours, it becomes solid. It is formulated for sculptors who desire the feel of clay with a final piece that is hard and solid. Its awesome you can sculpt it and mold it similar to ceramics but it hardens with out a kiln.  You can get pretty dope results with it...

here's a quick look at what we did with it.

Its so awesome you have to try it!  
You can see our complete step by step here:

5  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Blog Critique on: December 29, 2010 12:55:15 PM
We recently started a new craft blog, and are looking for some good feedback.
All manner of crit welcome!
check it out...
6  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Discussion and Questions / (?) Q: Stenciling using bleach? on: December 29, 2010 11:56:46 AM
Hi I am trying to stencil an image on a shirt using bleach but it keeps bleeding?  Any suggestions?
7  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Discussion and Questions / (?) Q: permanent black dye... on: December 29, 2010 11:53:31 AM
I need to dye some faded black clothing back to its original darkness! (mwahahaha)
Any suggestions on permanent black dye that won't stain all my other clothes in the wash?
8  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Image Transfer Cocktail Coasters (tutorial link) on: December 29, 2010 11:27:05 AM
This entry is about making your own custom cocktail coasters. Using an Image transfer technique.  

(we are new to craftster so you will have to click the link to see our photos...sorry)
to change your image viewing settings please click here

Cocktails are for grown-ups and we think it is a good idea to choose artwork that reflects that. (Or at least we think it is a good opportunity to play with some more "risque" imagery) For our coasters we chose a long gone, but not forgotten illustrator named Aubrey Beardsley. A french artist of the art nouveau period, he was best known for illustrating classics such as Aristophanes Lysistrata, and his drawings for Oscar Wildes play Salome.

This was a really fun project and the results were amazing!  

here is another look at the completed project:
(again click the link to view image)
to change your image viewing settings please click here

If you like what you see and want to know exactly how we did it... you can follow our step by step tutorial at:

Hope you like it!  If you make any coaster of your own we would love to see them!  Post them here craftster we'll check 'em out!

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