Acrylic sheet crafts

Written by heather montgomery
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You can make a variety of crafts from acrylic sheets: You can cut, dye, paint, tile or découpage the acrylic sheets. You can also use acrylic sheets in place of glass on top of coffee or end tables to limit the risk of breaking or chipping. Purchase acrylic sheets in craft or home improvement stores. Acrylic sheets can be found in a variety of thickness; common thicknesses used in crafts include: 3/16-, 1/8- and ¼-inch.

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Cutting Acrylic

To cut the acrylic to the size you want, score the sheet where you want to cut it a few times with a utility knife; set the acrylic sheet over the edge of a table with the area you scored slightly hanging over the edge. With a swift movement, press down on the side of the acrylic hanging over the edge; this breaks the acrylic in the area you marked. Repeat the process until you achieve the shape you desire. For thicker acrylic, opt to use a coping saw equipped with a carbon-tipped blade. Rubbing beeswax or soap on the blade helps the acrylic glide smoothly over the blade. Secure the acrylic in a vice; mark the line of the desire shape and cut. Use a metal file or fine sandpaper to smooth the edges.

Dyed Acrylic

Use the instructions for cutting acrylic sheets in the first section; for this project use 3/16-inch acrylic sheets cut into the desired shapes. Use the dyed sheets for sun catchers or jewellery pieces. Fill a pot with water and add 1 tsp of dishwashing soap for every 2 cups of water; add one packet of fabric dye, and stir until combined. Bring to a boil; avoid stirring unless it is boiling over. Move the pot to a cold burner. Drop the pieces into the mixture one at a time; try to avoid having them sit on each other to ensure the whole surface of the piece is dyed. Allow the pieces to sit for 15 minutes. Check a piece to see if your piece has reached the desired colour. Fill a container with clean water and 1 tsp of dishwashing soap for every 2 cups of water; stir to combine. Remove the pieces from the dye with a slotted spoon and place them into the clean water; allow them to sit for 2 minutes, and then remove and let them dry at least 2 hours on paper towels.

Painted Acrylic

Use 3/16-inch acrylic sheets. Lightly sand both sides of the acrylic sheet with fine sandpaper (220-grit or finer). Wipe with a damp rag, allow to dry. Paint the back of the sheet a base colour; allow to dry. Paint or stencil pictures on the front of the acrylic with a contrasting colour; allow to dry. Apply polyurethane to both sides of the acrylic and allow at least 2 hours' drying time.

Tiled Acrylic

Use an acrylic sheet that is at least ¼-inch thick. You can choose to tile the entire sheet in the shape you bought it, or use a table saw equipped with a carbide blade. Rubbing beeswax or soap on the blade helps the acrylic glide smoothly over the blade. Use a trowel with notched edges to apply tile adhesive to the sheet. Arrange the tile on the sheet in the pattern you desire. Allow the adhesive to dry overnight. With a float, apply grout to the tile pressing it into the gaps, wipe with a damp rag, and allow to dry 24 hours.

Découpage

Use the instructions for cutting acrylic sheets in the first section; use any thickness you want. After cutting your pieces, cut pictures or fabric to the desired sizes and shapes. With a foam brush, apply a découpage medium to the front of the acrylic, place the fabric, or pictures, onto the wet découpage medium, taking care to remove any air bubbles. Allow the découpage medium to dry for 15 minutes. Reapply at least one more coat of découpage medium to the front of the piece, sealing the edges as well. Allow the piece to dry for 2 hours.

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