Tuesday, December 1, 2009
How To: Upcycled Counter Top Samples
With only a few supplies and some time you can create these fun up-cycled plastic laminate pieces. Perfect for use as ornaments, gift tags, bookmarks, or whatever.
Plastic Laminate counter top sample (aka Formica): you can get these at any home improvement store. They come in a couple of sizes but you may have to take what you can get. Only select a reasonable amount as the store is hoping to sell counter tops not give away crafting supplies. Remove any stickers from the back. You can purchase remnants or if you are having new PL counter installed in your home ask the installer for the remaining pieces from your sheets. then just cut them into sizes you would like.
Gel Medium: comes in a variety of finishes and is found in the fine art supplies section of most hobby/craft stores. I use Golden but you can use whatever brand you can find.
Papers: scrap booking paper, wrapping paper, pages from old books, paper of any type or kind. You could even use fabric if you wanted.
Images: you can use print outs of digital collage imagery which you can find on etsy or from Artchix Studio, photo copies of old book pages, old family photos (use photo copies), or you can use rubber stamps and ink.
Extras: scissors, exacto knife, paint brush (small craft type), craft glue, and ribbon/cording
Optional extras: glitter, paints, inks, color pencils, buttons, the ideas are endless.
Step 1: Select a paper for your background. On the back of the paper coat an area larger than your sample of plastic laminate with the gel medium. You want a nice even costing that is not too thick or too thin. You will take you sample the place it so that the brown backing material is the part that touches the gel medium. So the front will be facing you and it now what will be the backside of your project. Make sure the the paper is flat and no air bubble are trapped. Allow this to dry fully.
Step 2: Your piece should now be dry. Use the exacto knife to cut around the edge of the sample; freeing your piece from the background paper. If working with kids this is where an adult will need to do the work. Use a hole punch to punch out the hole at the top if you like.
Step 3: Now this is where you can get fun and creative. Using other papers, images, rubber stamps and ink you will design the front of your piece. Have fun and use your own imagination. If you are using layers of paper use the gel medium again to attach them like glue. I usually put the gel medium on the backside of the piece I am adding. Again allow to dry before adding another layer. This is also when you may wish to add things like glitter.
Step 4: After your piece has dried it must be fully coated on the front with the gel medium. It is better to do two or three thinner coats than 1 thick one. Allow the piece to dry fully in between. This will give it a nice finish and insure that all your pieces stay put.
Step 5: Now you can put ribbon or cording through the top hole to create an ornament or longer for a book mark and you are Done. Or if you want you can use a strong clear drying crafting glue or hot glue to attach things like buttons, ribbon, trim, feathers, and so on.
NOTE: I have found that these do not do well being exposed to heat. Anything you want to add that is going to require the use of an oven or heat gun you may want to reconsider. I find that heat such as that causes the oils in the plastic laminate to come out and make the paper look like a greasy fast food bag.
I hope these simple instructions have given you enough info that you can go out and make some of your own.