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Make Handmade Napkin Rings In Your Oven
Remember Shrinky Dinks? This childhood toy has a sophisticated side when used to make these beautiful napkin rings that will dress up your dinner table for any occasion. Your guests won't believe you made these yourself! Read on for the simple step-by-step instructions and some tips for best results.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
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Step 1: Gather Materials and Locate Images
Before you begin, gather the following materials (sources for materials can be found on Home Made Modern)
- 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of ink-jet compatible shrink plastic
- Ink jet color printer
- Hole Punch
- Gold paint pen with a medium tip (optional)
- Gold paint
- Small paintbrush
- Clear acrylic sealer (optional)
- Suede cording
- Small bottle with straight sides (like a spice bottle)
First, you'll need to locate an image to print out on the shrink plastic. For butterflies, birds, and insects--which would be perfect for a garden party or spring or summer event--try searching The Graphics Fairy for free images. For pretty patterned napkin rings, such as the ikat ones shown on the previous slide, purchase digital paper from Etsy. You can find digital papers in any pattern and download them to your computer for less than $3.
Tip: Look for images and patterns that are fairly simple and not too dark. This is because details are lost and colors darken when the plastic is baked. For instance, navy would appear black after the plastic has shrunk. Also, consider the size you want your finished product to be and make sure the images you download are large enough, as they will shrink by about 50 percent in the oven.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
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Step 2: Cut Out and Create Holes in Your Shapes
Next, simply cut out your shapes. If you are making something like this butterfly, you will then need to use a hole punch to make holes on opposite sides of your image. If, however, you are making a shaped napkin ring, you can skip the hole punching, but make sure to read slide 8 for tips on sizing.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
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Step 3: Bake Your Shapes
Now it's time to bake your shapes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it in the oven so that it heats up as well. When your oven is ready, place one of your shapes on top of the parchment-lined baking sheet, close the oven door, turn on the oven light, and watch the magic! Your shape is finished when it has curled, then completely flattened out.
Tip: Every oven is a little different, so it may be a good idea for you to test a piece of shrink plastic to see how it reacts at 350 degrees. If your test piece doesn't flatten out, you may need to increase your oven temperature. Although the instructions on my package of shrink plastic said to decrease the temperature for larger images, I achieved better results when the plastic heated up quickly, which is why I instruct you to start them off on a hot pan. Also, it may be tempting to bake all of your shapes at once, but I would recommend doing one at a time. This is especially true for the shaped napkin rings (see slide 8), which need to be shaped quickly before they cool off and harden.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
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Step 4: Paint the Edges and Back of the Shapes
Once your shapes have cooled--which happens rather quickly--it's time to give them a finished look by painting the edges and backs with gold paint. I used a gold paint pen for the edges for maximum control (I don't have the steadiest hands). But if you feel confident, you can skip the paint pen, and just use a small brush and a pot of gold leaf paint to do the backs and edges. When the paint is dry, you can spray the whole thing with clear acrylic sealer, but this step is optional.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
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Step 5: Attach Suede Cord to the Shape
Once the paint has dried, cut about 6 inches of suede cording and thread each end through the holes you punched before baking. Tie small knots in each end.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
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Step 6: Adjust Cord
Pull the cord so that the knots are taut against the back of the plastic, and adjust the cord so that it wraps around to the back evenly. Try your finished napkin ring on a rolled cloth napkin to see how it fits, and if necessary, retie the knots to take up any slack, then cut off the excess from each end.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
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Alternative Method: Shape The Napkin Rings
To create a shaped napkin ring, you first need to determine how big around and how wide you want your finished product to be and multiply those figures by 2.
Tip: I used a spice bottle that had roughly the same circumference as a napkin ring, and measured its diameter. I used this figure to determine its circumference and multiplied that number by 2 (because the plastic shrinks by about 50 percent.) For instance:
(Diameter x 3.14) x 2 = pre-baked length of your shape
Desired width x 2 = pre-baked width of your shape
Cut a rectangle with these dimensions out of shrink plastic that has been printed with a pattern, then bake it.
Immediately upon removing the shape from the oven, shape it around the spice bottle before it cools so that when it hardens, it will be a perfectly curved cuff.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
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