Clear acrylic is a versatile craft medium that is relatively inexpensive and durable, yet mimics the beauty of glass decor. Most acrylic crafts take advantage of the transparent nature of the material for embedding found objects or photos. While acrylic sheets create less mess, poured acrylic resin offers more flexibility without the need for power tools. Whichever form you choose, rest assured your acrylic creation will last for many years, requiring only periodic dusting and cleaning.
Liquid acrylic resin easily moulds to create paper weights, buttons, refrigerator magnets, holiday ornaments and other items. The term “casting” is the process of mixing resin with a hardening catalyst and pouring it into a mould to harden into its final shape. Buy moulds at craft stores or use common household containers. Bottle caps make suitable moulds for buttons and pendants, and small bowls can shape a nice paper weight. Placing found objects like flowers, coins or miniatures into the wet resin adds visual interest and allows you to personalise each creation. Prepare any mould or container with mould-release first, or your hardened acrylic may not come out cleanly.
Acrylic picture frames are an easy craft to do with children, and do not require power tools if you buy precut plastic sheets. All you need are two sheets of clear acrylic in the desired size, a collection of photos or drawings you wish to preserve and a can of acrylic adhesive like Weld-On. Arrange the photos or drawings on one sheet of acrylic, keeping them at least one inch from the edge. Use tiny pieces of double-sided tape to hold them in place, if needed. Place the second sheet of acrylic on top, making sure not to shift the collage underneath, and put a piece of masking tape on each side to hold the frame together. Using the applicator provided with the adhesive, inject a tiny bead in between the edges of the panes--it will run along the edge and form a seal. Repeat until the seal goes all the way around the frame. Allow the adhesive to dry and remove the tape. The finished product hangs with normal picture-hanging hardware.
If you're comfortable using power tools, making your own acrylic boxes can help you organise your home. Decide what size box to make, and cut acrylic sheets to the appropriate sizes. Tape the box together temporarily with masking tape, and inject acrylic adhesive along the edges until the seal is continuous and complete. Allow to dry and remove the tape. With this project, make storage containers in custom sizes and shapes to fit any odd closet or shelf. Add decorative hardware to make the box attractive enough for display. If you use waterproof acrylic caulk to seal the edges inside and out, your box can be used as a fish tank.
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