Quick Project: Mini Art Clips

Apartment Therapy Tutorial

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As much as we'd all love to sew an heirloom quilt for our kid, sometimes it's the quickest projects that are the most satisfying - because they actually get done. My niece has entered the crafty phase of her young life, and tissue butterflies, art projects, and drawings are starting to pour in. I needed a quick and easy way to temporarily display her creations.

Enter shrink plastic and mini clothespins. I don't know if you have these lying around your house, but I had both tucked deep in a drawer. It was time to put them to good use.

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Here's what you need for this fast and easy project:
  • package of shrink plastic
  • images of your choice, or a good idea for a drawing
  • inkjet printer (not laser!)
  • fine sand paper
  • scissors
  • plain mini clothespins
  • glue
  • cookie sheet
  • parchment paper or silicone mat
  • flat spatula
  • your oven
1. Prep: It's been years since I used shrink plastic, and found they now sell an inkjet variety to put through your printer — which is great if you don't want to draw your own. If you already have the regular kind, don't go out and buy more. You can adapt the ones you already have using some fine grit sandpaper. Rough up the entire sheet, which preps the surface to receive the printer ink. Otherwise, the image will turn out all blurry and wonky. 

2. Print: I found some circus-themed animal stock images to use (I like that they look like they could be balancing on a tightrope) but you can use anything you like. Keep in mind that the final image will be about 1/3 of the original, so plan the size accordingly. Once you print it out, trim around the image.

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3. Bake: Preheat the oven according to instructions on the package (for mine, it was around 350 degrees). Place your trimmed image on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. (I've heard that silicone sheets work as well, but I tried both and found parchment works better.) 

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4. Watch: It only takes a few minutes, so watch them as they bake. You'll see them curl up, then start to flatten again. They might not flatten all the way — especially larger ones — but that's okay. Once they stop moving, give it about 30 seconds, and remove them from the oven.

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5. Flatten: If needed, quickly use your spatula to flatten them all the way. They harden very fast, so get right in there and use some pressure.

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6. Glue: Once the plastic has cooled, glue the image to a clothespin. If you have a place to hang a mini clothesline, go for that. Or, you can also glue a magnet to the back of the clothespin, then stick it on the fridge. 

You're done. See? I told you it was fast and easy. 

(Images: Dabney Frake; Circus Images: Shutterstock)

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