Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Chemistry Charm Bracelet (Step 0)

Today I finished the first step on the way to a new line of chemistry jewelry! My Avogadro necklaces will finally have some company.

A friend of mine (PonderosaCat on Etsy, among other places) out west blogged a little while ago about the fun she had messing around with Shrinky Dinks. Some of her results are for sale: not much so far, but the Autumn Necklace she has up is darling and I love it:

PonderosaCat got me to thinking to what I could do with Shrinky Dinks. I browsed around and found out that I could use number 6 plastic (the kind in your restaurant take-out/to-go containers) just as well as Shrinky Dinks' proprietary material. Bonus: I now had an excuse to buy the chocolate chip cookies from the grocery store bakery!

This detailed, multi-part plastic doodle charm tutorial on Dabbled is a really great source, and I set out to replicate her project.

I didn't document the whole process—I don't like documenting an "alpha release" of a totally new medium for me—but I did get some promising results!

They're promising, but not perfect; Dabbled warned about colors getting darker as they baked, and so the metallic silver Sharpie I used went from a light silver sheen to a dark thundercloud gray. The squares aren't cut exactly, well, square, either, and things aren't as centered as they could be.

Despite all of that, however, I am surprised at how well this turned out. Everything I'm dissatisfied with is a result of impatience: "OMG I WANNA SEE HOW THESE TURN OUT!" The charms are as flat as I would want, and all of the little numbers in the atomic number and atomic weight printing stayed very legible. It's much more economical (and environmental) for me to wash and cut up old to-go containers than to go out to Michael's or JoAnn's every couple of days. The only change to make, besides measuring and cutting more carefully, is to nix the gray background and see what the writing looks like on plain, shrunken plastic.

This is Step 0, like I mentioned. After I perfect the art of Number 6 Plastic Charm-Making, the next step is put them on some jump rings and make some bracelets and things out of them. I want to use chain for the bracelet—instead of beads and SoftFlex/Beadalon, like I'm used to—so that will also take some experimenting.

The first compound up on the agenda is H20, followed by caffeine (C8H10N4O2), capsaicin (C18H27NO3), and ethanol (aka booze) (C2H5OH). There's a couple different directions I could go with these, and I can't wait to get more time to work out which way to go with them. But first I need to conduct more to-go container experiments. If you have any laying around, by the way, I'd be glad to take them off your hands!

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