I love finding fun, interesting things at my local dollar stores and thrift stores that I can revamp and upcycle into great gifts for my family and friends.
During a recent shopping trip I found the coolest paperweight at the dollar store. It was backed with a not-so-desirable photograph of a butterfly, but I knew that with a little hybrid magic, I could make it into something spectacular! For a buck, I was willing to give it a shot!! So scour your local bargain shops and find yourself a paperweight and play along. I’ve even seen these at my local craft stores, but your cost would go up, obviously. Let’s get craftin’, shall we?!
You’re going to need:
- a glass paperweight
- clear glue of your choice (I used Tombow’s Mono Aqua Liquid Glue, what I happened to have on hand)
- digital designs
- felt or cork (optional)
If you want to kick it up a notch (and this tutorial assumes that you do), add to your list of supplies:
- packing tape
- either a laser printer or the ability to make a laser copy of your designs
- popsicle stick or strong nails
I’m using Mari Koegelenberg’s beautiful kit, All Spice. Be still my beating heart! I just love the colors in this kit!
1) The first thing you’ll want to do is prepare your paperweight for crafting. This may include removing the artwork that’s backing the paperweight using alcohol or Goo Gone to remove any remaining adhesive and washing/drying your paperweight. I had already removed my butterfly and cleaned my paperweight before writing this tutorial. I’m so sorry that I’m not able to share that lovely piece of artwork with y’all 😉
2) Measure your paperweight (approximate is fine). It’s hard to photograph glass I’ve discovered, but just to give you an idea – – my paperweight is roughly 3 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide. It is rounded and is beveled so that the back (where the design goes) is slightly smaller than the front.
3) Begin laying your design out in Photoshop, creating for yourself a shape that is the approximate size of your paperweight. I created a half-circle that was roughly the size of my paperweight. Clip all your papers and design elements to this shape. Once you have your design just as you’d like it, print onto cardstock. Inkjet or laser prints will work just fine.
4) Any additional elements that will be applied to the front of your paperweight should be chosen, sized appropriately and printed with a laser printer on plain copy paper. A laser copy will also work. We’ll be using an image transfer technique for the front pieces and you will need a laser copy/print for this part of the tutorial.
5) Trim all design pieces (paperweight back, design elements for the front). I didn’t photograph this (sorry!), but I laid my paperweight down on the paperweight back design piece, traced with a pencil and then cut out.
6) We’re going to first apply our art to the back of the paperweight. Begin with applying a generous amount of clear glue to the back side of your paperweight. This can be done in several ways, but I prefer to use more glue and clean up any that oozes out rather than not have enough to adhere my image. Apply your clear glue as shown below.
7) Place your printed design FACE DOWN onto the glued surface. Next, flip your paperweight over. Glue will ooze out somewhat. It’s okay. I’ve got damp paper towels on hand. I like to use the weight of the glass and press and smooth out any bubbles. By having the paperweight face up, you can see any bubbles quite well (see photo below). Position the printed design just as you’d like it and then flip the paperweight back over.
Note: If you let the paperweight dry face up, the glue could stick to your work surface.
8) While the first part dries a bit, we’re going to work on the top design. Trim your pieces, leaving just a bit of white space, and place them face down on a piece of packing tape. Flip your tape over and with a popsicle stick, burnish the tape so that the design is firmly adhered to the tape.
9) Trim your pieces again, removing excess tape. Soak in warm water for 5 minutes.
10) Remove papers from water and begin gently rubbing the back of the design to remove the paper. With gentle pressure and rewetting as necessary, the paper fibers should come off entirely and leave behind a clear “rub-on.” Trim closely leaving just a bit of clear tape around your transparent design.
11) Apply your rub-on to the front of your paperweight with a bit of clear glue. Again, have a damp paper towel on hand to remove any glue oozes.
12) Let everything dry. If you would like to back your paperweight with felt or cork, just trim your material of choice to size and apply with adhesive. I chose not back my paperweight as I plan on displaying it upright at my desk. Enjoy your creation!!
Other Articles by ccouch:
- Paper Covered Switch Plate - November 1st, 2011
- The Digi Nails - A Hybrid Manicure - September 15th, 2011
- Paper Mosaic Picture Frame - August 12th, 2011
- Matching Coins Travel Game - July 20th, 2011
- Monogram Tile Wedding Gift - March 17th, 2010