Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting Resourceful - a Friendly Plastic Napkin Ring Tutorial

I'm on a mission at the moment to come up with a number of different Friendly Plastic tutorials which are all aimed at the complete novice. It's a challenge to come up with very simple projects that have real impact, but this project is even more of a challenge because it also has to be translated into French. The projects can also only be made using items you most likely have at home in your kitchen already (so no craft tools permitted) and I can only use the oven method for softening the plastic. OK, this is definitely a challenge but it has certainly made me more resourceful.

The projects are coming together quite nicely but along the way I also created a project that was just a little bit too difficult for the complete beginner so I want to share it with you. This idea seemed so simple at first but by the time I actually started doing it, it became quite apparent that it was too difficult for a first timer. But for those of you more advanced Friendly Plastic addicts, this is for you. Just follow the instructions below to create your own nifty little napkin ring using items you most likely have at home already.
Firstly, gather together everything you need:
  • a spice jar - mine is from Master Foods. If you don't have a spice jar try something the same size as the cylinder inside kitchen wrap;
  • aluminium foil;
  • oven preheated to 120°C (250°F);
  • oven tray;
  • alphabet pasta - in Australia you can get this in the Italian food aisle, in the US try the Mexican food aisle. For those of you in Europe, I'm sorry but I don't know which aisle to suggest;
  • cooking oil and a pastry brush;
  • small rolling pin;
  • container of cold water;
  • Stanley knife and ruler;
  • and the most important item of all, a 7" stick of Gold/Black Friendly Plastic
  1. Measure the circumference of the spice jar and cut the Friendly Plastic approximately 1.5cm (9/16") less than this measurement.

  2. Brush the aluminium foil with a light coating of cooking oil. This will prevent the Friendly Plastic from sticking. Place the Friendly Plastic on the foil and place the tray into the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Whilst the Friendly Plastic is softening in the oven, lightly oil another piece of aluminium foil and place it on a firm surface. Spread the alphabet pasta out over an area that is wider and longer than the stick of Friendly Plastic.
  4. Once the Friendly Plastic has softened remove the tray from the oven and place it on a heatproof surface. Pick up the foil from the tray, turn it over and place it face down on top of the alphabet pasta. Gently roll over the foil with the rolling pin to press the alphabet letters into the Friendly Plastic.

  5. Wrap the two pieces of foil around the spice jar, trying to align the edges so they will be straight. You might crinkle the foil a bit in the step but it will add to the texture of the piece. Plunge the foil and bottle into cold water to cool for about a minute or so.
  6. Unwrap the foil and gently peel away the outer layer.
  7. Gently pull the foil away from the inside trying not to leave any bits inside.
  8. And here's the finished napkin ring ready for you to coordinate with your table setting.
I've pressed my letters in so that they're flush with the Friendly Plastic but if your letters are not quite as deep as mine, you might be able to carefully prise them out....... that's a really cool look too! You can seal the napkin ring with resin to make it more durable if you like but that was not permitted in my challenge.

I hope you've enjoyed this fun little project and that you'll take the challenge to get resourceful and create something using only what you have on hand.

Have a happy crafty weekend everyone.

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