Hallo, all. A thought occurred to me the other day that I have gathered a fair few newbies over the last few years that may have missed out on some of the stuff in the archives.
So, as the exciting month of March rapidly approaches time will be limited for me to create new content so I thought that it was a serendipitous opportunity via which I could dive into the archives to share some older, but still very popular, videos and tutorials.
Just before I do though, I have one technique that I would like to share with you and it’s double trouble as it CAN be done on the Scan N Cut, but, I will be asking you the question, should it … ?
Crumbs, that was a long build up. This may or may not therebefore be disappointing, lol. I guess it depends if I caught you prior to your morning coffee.
So, coasters. If you are ‘civilised’ or house-proud, you’ve probably used one. If you are a crafter, you have probably made one – and then used it.
My goal when starting out this project, therefore, was to find a way of making coasters that would be dishwasher safe.
Ok, well, I can tell you that the dishwasher bit was easily sorted thanks to this.
It’s a bit of a faff but does the job well. More on that later.
First up, what do I make the coasters out of?
Well, MDF would seem a study enough material.
I have made things like this from greyboard before, glueing several layers together to make it thicker, tougher and stronger – like me, lol!
No, but seriously. Would either be better? Would one before ‘right’?
Anyway, I, therefore, decided to do a side by side test.
I would make a couple from greyboard and a couple from MDF. Then, I would see which was better.
I sent off for some 3mm thick MDF squares. Whilst I waited for those to pop through my letterbox, I started to have a go with the greyboard.
Oh, by the way, if you haven’t a clue what greyboard is, it’s that stuff that’s called chipboard in the states and construction board in other areas. Most shops in the UK will sell it as greyboard.
Greyboard is the stuff they use for many food containers like cereal boxes and the like.
Anyhoo, that clarified – you all know what MDF is, right? Well, it’s compressed wood shavings and glue. It was used a lot in home decor a while back because it was much cheaper than the alternatives. It is now used a lot in the craft industry because it’s a great construction material AND it will take most anything we want to decorate it with, with very little preparation.
Sigh, right, I think we’ve covered everything there. On with the ‘show’.
Where was I? Oh yes! Doing the home DIY version with greyboard.
So, I cut a couple of squares using a metal ruler and a Stanley knife and glued them together.
I then looked at the Scan N Cut and thought, would this thick cardboard go through? I’ve seen other’s do it with thinner versions but this was the +1mm stuff.
Reaching for the deep cut blade, I switched the machine on, stuck my greyboard to the mat, loaded a square – with rounded corners as I didn’t fancy the blade snapping on the corners and started doing some tests with different settings.
In the end, I found that, in my case, this thickness of greyboard cut ‘ok’ on a blade depth of +5 and pressure of +5, sometimes I needed a second cutting pass through.
Through those tests, I did discover a few things.
- The machine is not going to deal with really detailed designs well. I.e. don’t expect to cut the same 1.5mm line designs with acute corners you cut from 216gsm cardstock with this 600gsm greyboard.
- Taping the edges down might seem like a cheat, but, unless you want the entire sheet of greyboard to remain on your mat you don’t want it super sticky and so taping really helped to stop the sheet from moving. Especially good if I needed to send the design through to cut a second time.
- Some ‘card fluff’ may get pushed into the glue on the mat and so repeated use of greyboard may make it seem like the mat has lost its stickiness however a wipe with a clean damp cloth should bring most of that off.
In the end though, once I’d figured all of that out, it was much easier to just pop a couple more sheets through and cut out multiples of these coaster shapes.
They were also stacked and glued. I did only do two layers per coaster however I think that three may have made them feel more rigid. I’m not saying that they aren’t, it was just the feel. I guess that would be expected as the card is lighter than the wood.
Believe it or not, I forgot about the MDF coasters and they turned up unexpectedly and I had almost forgotten what I had planned to do with them too but, as I sat down, I saw the greyboard ones and the lightbulb went on.
Onto the decoration!
Now, this mod podge stuff. This d/w safe version can be used as the glue to adhere the paper to the coaster however I did find that it was very fast drying and became almost unmovable after about 10 seconds from being thinly spread so – work fast!
Alternatively, use one of the other mod podge glues to stick the paper to the surface of the coaster and then return to the dishwasher safe version to coat the coaster.
Now, I did say that this was a bit of a faff. Why?
It is because you have to apply 5 or 6 thin layers, leaving each to dry for an hour or two and of course you have to do this on both sides and the edges so, it does mean doing this somewhere dust/pet free where they can be left and returned to for a day or two whilst you do this.
A word of warning here. This stuff WILL strip colour from acrylic paints and colour from hand-dyed or uncoated papers so TEST IT ON A SMALL SWATCH FIRST!
Alternatively, again, seal the paper with the paper version of the Mod Podge and then used the d/w safe version to coat after that has dried.
One final stage is to sand back the layers with fine sandpaper and then apply a final coat.
Now, although this is awesome stuff and does what it says it will do, which is make these coasters top-drawer dishwasher safe, it will take 28 days to fully cure.
Yes, not 24 hours, not 48 hours … a whopping 672 hours!!!
FYI, if you try and cheat it and was the coaster after day 14, it will not have cured. It needs the full 28.
Getting back to the positive side, once they have cured, they are not tacky, have a high shine and are d/w safe. So that’s good.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the stuff but, sheesh, 28 days. Anyway, here’s a couple of tips from my first go with the stuff.
- Apply it with a sponge roller. This will help it go on evenly and thinly which will, in turn, make the sanding job later MUCH easier.
- Do leave it to dry for a min of an hour between layers. This is because a new layer applied to a semi-dry layer, can pick up the old layer and you end up with nobby blobs, and nobody wants those.
- Wash your brush/roller out between EVERY application with ordinary cold tap water.
- It does have a mild aroma so you might like to open the window or door a crack. I’m sure it’s safe, being from Mod Podge but ya wanna be safe, right?
Anyhoo, I think that I had better stop waffling and show you what I made!
Actually, they look alright, don’t they? Bet after all that waffle you were expecting a total disaster. Lol.
‘Ere, fancy a look at my shiny bits now?
So, I didn’t spend as much time as I think I needed with the sandpaper and before that, I wasn’t really being careful with the brush so, it’s a little ‘pitty’ but that’s totes my fault.
This one started with a lovely hand made paper and the colour was a more intense green. Not neon or anything, just more ‘saturated’. The mod podge took that away and left it looking almost translucent which I oddly ended up loving the most.
What about you?
Right, I think that that is enough waffle so what was the conclusion to the question from earlier?
Forgotten it? Good. Let’s all go and have tea and biscuits instead.
If you would like to see more from me in relation to the Brother Scan N Cut CM series of machines, please check out the following links:
– Blog Archive. A whole load of blog posts from the last 5 years working with this machine.
– Udemy Video Workshop – a full Scan N Cut series of ad free lectures that takes you right from getting it out of the box, through the key features of the machine and beyond.
– YouTube Playlist. A whole bunch of free videos.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Don’t forget, there will be a dive into the archive for Scan N Cut Saturday from now until the end of March so do pop in and see what you’ve been missing, if indeed you did.
Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to sharing more with you soon!
Bye for now.