Warning: craft-geek post to follow. Some of you may prefer to skip ahead to where the pictures start.
I admit it–I spend way too much time reading craft blogs, clicking through one link to another and then another. Which is how I ended up doing this project with the girls. I was reading Angry Chicken (I would almost swear it was this post, but I can’t find the actual link), and there was a link to this tutorial by Make on Scrabble tile pendants. Actually, I think it was a link to another site that linked me to that tutorial. Anyway, I was charmed by these, and it struck me as a project that would be fun for all three of us to do together.
Of course, I made a few changes. Because I didn’t have all the materials on hand (or available locally), I improvised with what I could pick up–I was too impatient to wait for mail order, and I really wanted to avoid paying for all that shipping. So instead of using Scrabble tiles, I picked up some small wooden shapes at A.C. Moore. I also couldn’t find any Diamond Glaze, so I opted for a somewhat similar product (I hoped), Paper Glaze, another dimensional adhesive. Oh, and of course I couldn’t find the bails designed for glass pendants, so I opted for the only kind I could find at my local big box craft store.
The biggest change I made was that instead of using pre-printed paper, I thought we’d use cut-outs from some of the girls’ old artwork. We did something similar (inspired by this post from Art Projects for Kids) for Father’s day, by decoupaging pieces of the girls’ paintings and drawings onto a small wooden box for Steve. So, I thought, we could make pendants by cutting out the girls’ artwork in the same style as the Scrabble pendants. I also thought it might be fun to add buttons, sparkly jewels and/or beads, always popular in this house.
The process was very satisfying. Glue and sparkly things are generally a recipe for fun.
The basic idea with these is that you cut paper to the size of the wood piece; we found it worked best to trace the shape on the back of the painting so it was easy do see. You glue that down with a thin layer of glue, and then put some Mod Podge over the top. Beads and other embellishments to be added as you go.
We left these to dry, and then came back and covered them with a layer of the Paper Glaze. Although it looked pretty good when it went on, over time it seemed to dissolve some of the artwork underneath, making it a little fuzzy while the clear coat went a little cloudy. I was a little surprised, since I haven’t gotten bleeding with straight Mod Podge. Not a terrible problem, but I’ve got some Diamond Glaze on order and hope that will work better.
The other technical problem I ran into was with attaching the bails. First I tried with super glue, which did not work at all. Which was puzzling. Then I tried a glue gun, which worked better…until Anna wore her new necklace out into the garden and lost two of her pendants. (It was not a pretty scene.) I’ve realized since that the problem was probably due to the fact that the bails are super smooth and shiny; maybe some sanding to rough up the surface would help. But to be honest, the loss of the pendants was so upsetting to their creator and wearer, I’m probably going to break down and order the ones better suited for this project.
So that’s the saga of this project so far. I think the reason I enjoy this kind of craft so much is that the girls and I can all three enjoy making things, and often come up with stuff that is beautiful and wearable, not just kiddish stuff made out of foam shapes or plastic beads. It’s such a good reminder to me of the worth of spending money on good quality, real materials for these projects. It shows in both the process and in the result.
One final photo: sometimes what you really just need to do it a lot of gluing. Or painting with glue. Preferably while you’re naked.