Wednesday, March 26, 2008
How to make a gorgeous scrabble tile pendant with Annie Howes
There are many way to crack a nut, and so there are with creating Scrabble Tile Pendants. Each way has it’s own wonderful benefits. Here I’ll share with you the basics of creating your very own Scrabble tile pendants using two different methods of sealing and coating them.
First, you need the obvious…a Scrabble tile! These can be found all over Ebay and Etsy. And some pretty paper, trimmed to a bit larger than the Scrabble tile.
Next, you need an adhesive. Glamour Seal makes a great and inexpensive non-toxic adhesive that can be used on most paper types, including ink jet prints. It won't smear your ink. Use it as both an adhesive and to seal your paper.
I use a paint brush to apply a nice coat of Glamour Seal. Not too much because I don’t want a goopy mess, but just enough to be sure I have nice and even coverage.
Then I apply a precut square just larger than the Scrabble tile to the surface of the tile, pressing firmly and evenly to ensure no air pockets remain between the paper and tile. If you have a bone folder or similar tool, use it to gently squeeze out any air pockets.
Let the adhesive dry. Once dried, turn the scrabble tile paper-side down and using a sharp X-acto or similar blade, carefully trim the paper from all 4 sides.
Next, using Glamour Seal, apply a thin coat to seal the top and trimmed edges of the paper. Let dry. At this point you may use either the non-toxic Glamour Glaze (water based), or an Epoxy Resin, such as Luxe Resin. If you've heard of Ice Resin, you should try Luxe Resin and save a few dollars. I promise, it's just as nice.
Glamour Glaze, Diamond Glaze and 3D Crystal Lacquer are fun and non-toxic hobby sealants that produce a shiny clear coating on Scrabble Tiles. Because they're both non-toxic no special requirements are needed to protect yourself from harmful fumes. It has a short, fixed drying time that’s not affected by a room’s temperature, but they are affected by humidity. They're inferior products as far as product longevity and durability because they will deteriorate if exposed to even the smallest amount of water, such as rain or other splashing.
Luxe Resin, is a high-quality jewelry-grade resin that is safe to use. Luxe has a preferred temperature range (around 80 degrees) and takes about 24 hours to cure. I cure mine in my glass kiln that I warm briefly before popping them in. Alternatively, you could use a toaster oven as long as you make sure it doesn't get too hot. Jewelry-grade epoxy resin will not yellow with age and won’t be damaged by raindrops or poolside splashing. Just don't soak in water as the wood tile will absorb water.
Depending on the method you use to coat your Scrabble tile, you will either coat with a Glaze and wait the appropriate duration for it to dry, or use an Epoxy Resin.
When using Luxe Resin here are a few helpful tips:
Mix the required minimum amount even if it means waste. Most epoxy resins need a minimum mass for the chemical reaction to take place. It’s better to waste a little resin than to waste hours of time and a heap of Scrabble tiles!
Mix slowly and carefully. Warm your resin so it flows easily. Let it sit for a few minutes prior to applying to the tiles. By letting it sit some of the bubbles will float to the surface and dissipate.
Pour to a new container without scraping the sides and the stir stick. Toss out the stir stick and use a fresh stick. The heavier resin that has clung to the stick and the sides of the mixing cup will contaminate the delicate balance of the mixed resin and cause your pieces to not cure.
I use a craft stick (short popsicle stick) to apply the resin to the tile a drop at a time, gently spreading it to the edges. I find the surface tension helpful in keeping it all in check. I place each tile on a flat surface, such as a 6”x8” smooth ceramic bath tile.
Let each tile “rest” for a couple of minutes to let the bubble surface. Take a torch (one of those grill lighters) and pass it close to the surface of the tile. Be careful not to leave soot on the resin! This is a quick way to remove the bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove remaining bubbles.
To cure, I warm a dedicated toaster oven for about 1 minute then turn it off. I place the ceramic tile that my Scrabble tiles are on into the toaster oven and let it sit for several hours. This helps keep any lint off the tiles and the latent heat speeds the curing time.
Once your Scrabble tile has dried or cured it’s time to create a pendant out of it using one of two methods.
First, using a nail file or a piece of fine grit sand paper, gently smooth the edges of your pendant. This is helpful to remove any adhesive or coating that may have gone astray.
Method 1 is to drill a hole for a jump ring. Using at least a 9mm jump ring, this can be accomplished by drilling a hold through the tile and carefully expanding the jump ring through the hole. This takes practice. I use a bead reamer to gently file away the backside of the tile to slightly enlarge the hole. Insert the jump ring at the front of the tile using jewelry pliers. Gently push forward and your jump ring should slide right through.
The easier and simpler method is to attach a bail to it. The best bails to use are those designed for Dichroic glass pendants. Aanraku is what most artists use and can be found all over the internet, including both of my online shops. Using E6000 glue you can easily bind the bail to the back of the tile.
Click here for a more complete tutorial in PDF format.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial! I’d love to hear from you and see your lovely works!
All of the supplies to make these gorgeous Scrabble tiles can be found in either of my shops:
Annie Howes Keepsakes and Annie Howes Keepsakes on Etsy