Scrabble tile charms are so popular right now that I decided to follow the featured tutorial available here on Cut Out and Keep, only I encountered a few difficulties and thought I'd share my first, still successful, experience with you. Maybe you're like me and get excited for a new hobby and then all these road bumps get in your way. I hope to offer some tips not mentioned in the other How-Tos.
Like with anything you should undertake, I suggest the read through before the follow through.
Gather all your supplies:
Not pictured is a writing utensil. I used a pen to outline my charm shapes.
From left to right
1. Decorative paper - I am using comic book pages. Any paper will do.
2. Glue on Bail - to hang your charm off of.
3. Wooden chips - Scrabble tiles or other soft wooden shapes are available.
4. Doming Finish - Diamond Glaze, 3D Lacquer; I have Glossy Accents pictured, but anything similar will do.
5. Sealer - to ensure the Doming Finish doesn't ruin your paper and to make the pendant have that glass raised look. I have Mod Podge pictured because it doubles as glue and is rumored to be vegan (although I am doubtful).
6. Brush - for the glue & sealant application.
7. Scissors - to cut your shapes out.
8. Metal file - cleans up edges.
9. Epoxy - Industrial strength glue to attach on bails.
Some of these items are harder to obtain than others! I'll discuss alternatives in the steps they are used.
I can't bear to part with my Scrabble tiles or think of paying some of the prices of replacement pieces. At the craft store (and sometimes hardware store) they carry various wooden chips in shapes of hearts, stars, squares, circles, tons of fun stuff. Look either near model kits for planes and cars or where other wood crafts are (treasure boxes, dowels, etc). For my first go I picked circles.
Using the chip as your guide, trace over the area to be used and then carefully cut the shape out of the paper. It is okay if your outlines are not flush--my paper cut outs were slightly larger than the charm. This gives you something to hold onto when you position the paper on the wood. Later, when you file it will be right up to the edge, so don't worry about getting your cuts SUPER close. Go a little big!
You can use any glue to attach the paper to the chip. A little goes a long way! My chip sucked up the glue before I could attach paper so I needed to recoat.
I understand that Elmer's has the same properties as Mod Podge, but putting it on too thick will cause lumps; if you use Elmer's as glue or sealer you might want to add a bit of water and be sure to apply with a brush and not from the applicator (or in a pinch a Q-Tip or something to really thin it out). Mod Podge or similiar collage paste works great. Wheatpaste is great for glue but not as a sealer.
Be sure to rinse your brush as soon as you are done using it to preserve it! I rinsed mine between coats, too.
Now that your cut out and chip are attached apply your sealer with 2-3 thin coats. The sealer is important so that the finish doesn't disturb the ink. It dries relatively quickly although the Mod Podge directions state 15 minutes. Allow to dry before continuing to the next step.
If you are unable to find a doming finish you can apply more coats of collage paste/sealant and still have a preserved pendant! Mod Podge suggests 5 coats. I can't suggest using Elmer's or similar school glue for this because layers of it will cloud and prevent your paper from showing through.
This isn't really a step. Here the sealant is dry and I've flipped over the chips so you can see my paper is in fact larger.
You have a few options for cleaning up the edges...
You can opt to trim the paper edges with scissors, an X-acto or razor blade before you file. You can jump straight to filing if you want. Maybe you don't have a file and only cutting will suffice. This is the point you clean up your paper edges.
You can find a metal file like mine in jewelery tool stores and hardware stores. Smaller ones are available also in various shapes (round, flat, pointed) and could be beneficial when using complex wood shapes with corners.
If you don't want to spend cash on a metal file you can try using a good quality nail file or sandpaper. Higher numbers mean smoother finish!
If you have never used a file here are some basics.
1.Remember, we are filing and not sanding so only go in one direction, not back and forth or in circles. Going back and forth will cause grooves and for this project possibly lift the paper and create an undesirable edge. Circles will wear away the wood very quickly and also cause the paper to look icky.
2.File away from you! Start near the body and in one stroke push the tool away. Always always always go in one direction to get an even edge.
3.Let the tool do the work. The paper and wood are very soft and will give away easier and faster than you may expect!
The doming finish was the most difficult item for me to find. Any of the popular brands commonly listed in other tutorials were unavailable to me! The salesclerks informed me they are often found in the adhesive aisle. I am using Glossy Accents from RangerInk. It's description is the same as Diamond Glaze or 3D Lacquer in that it "dries with a 3D raised finish in a clear hard coat" which is key if you are using a similar product. I found this in the craft store between Window Cling paints (which do not dry hard and come in similar packaging) and Mosaic tile stuff. Maybe your local shop has something like this and maybe it's in adhesive, maybe it's somewhere else. I went to 3 shops before I found this. You can purchase these brands on-line. My product is at Rangerink.com and I've seen both Diamond Glaze and 3D Lacquer on Etsy under supplies. If you really can't find any try a clear top coat nail polish in a drip finish (drop it in the center and allow it to form a bubble and wait to dry). If I had to use nail polish I would try an Acrylic Gel Hardener.
Okay, onto using the stuff! Read the directions on the label. DO NOT SHAKE THE GLAZE!! It is thick and bubbles that form are a pain to get rid of. There is some air trapped in the tip before the flow comes so get that first drop on some paper to avoid a bubble. This runs fluidly and doesn't need much of a squeeze but if the bottle intakes air be sure to get that bubble out! Make and outlining ring as close to the edge as possible (don't worry if you drip off the side we can file the drip when it is cured) Then fill in the ring.
This becomes tacky quickly so be careful not to disturb it until is it dry! If there is a bubble you must act quickly. Maybe you are skilled with a needle? I'm not so I used the tip of the bottle to sort of pull out any bubbles by dragging them off and wiping them on the paper and then refill the dip if there was one. If the fluid was still wet it usually assimilated nicely. Don't stress if there are bubbles. Practice makes perfect.
Now test your patience and wait. The bottle on my glaze read that it can take 15-60 minutes. After watching a 2 hour movie they still weren't dry!
After about 2.5-3 hours they did clear up. I'm not 100% sure they were dry but they were sort of transparent but thin so I applied another coat and went to bed. If you are doing this as a day time project I'd just check again in 4-6 hours. It is your choice to apply another coat and wait longer. You don't have to do this.
If you had drips or uneven edges, once your pieces are hardened refile them as before. Then proceed to attaching the bails.
Epoxy can be found at craft and hardware stores. There are many types, you don't need a two part one. This is super duper industrial glue that sort of dries rubbery. I use this at the ceramic shop I work at and E600 dries in roughly 5 minutes even though the tube will tell you to wait an hour or 24 hrs.
I had a difficult time finding glue on bails. The ones I did find were pricey. 3 pack for $3 ($1 each) does not compare to the ones I bought afterward on-line. On Etsy I found sellers with 25 packs for $8.5 including shipping. If you can be patient I would try scoping out your on-line offers before shelling out $1 a piece prices on these findings.
Use the smallest amount of epoxy! New tubes will have an amount of flow already, you don't need to squeeze or just the tiniest push will be enough. Really, this drop at the tip pictured is more than enough to bond. This epoxy is great because it sets quickly but if you mess up there is still time to readjust.
Be sure to keep your tip clean because build up will dry and form and you'll never get the tip off again without ruining the whole tube. Sometimes buildup will form but peel off the rubbery chunks when you can to ensure the future usage of your Epoxy.
You can use other types of super glue but I highly suggest Epoxy.
Attach to the back of your chips.
Wait the recommended time and you are all set.