Friday, July 19, 2013

Laminate Chip Upcycle Project

This shows the size difference of the laminate chips

At this point, we have all seen the laminate chips you can get from home improvement stores free (or you can purchase them at some smaller independently owned art supply stores).  Those chips are small, about 2 ½” x 1 ¾” – which makes them perfect for key rings, necklaces and a whole slew of other projects.  Well, not only do I have a lifetime supply of the small laminate chips I also have a ton of the larger sample chips – the larger chips are about 5” x 3” – too large to make a key ring or necklace (well, I suppose you could make either out of the large chips, but. . .).  I have had these for ages, and truthfully, I forgot I even had them until I went into the garage and saw the plastic bin marker with “Laminate Chips & Misc.”  I opened the bin and grabbed a bunch of the larger chips and brought them inside, put them on my desk and proceeded to drive myself insane trying to think up for a use for them.  I picked through the chips and found some that were textured and/or a color I wasn’t too fond of.  A few even had some partial writing on them with what appeared to be a thick black permanent marker.  I took four of them and gessoed them with a few coats until you couldn’t tell what color they were and the writing was gone (using thin coats and letting them dry completely between coats – as I still wasn’t sure what I was going to make with them I wasn’t in much of a hurry).  
So I had these four large laminate chips all gessoed up with no where to go.  Finally, I thought of an idea – how cute would little art boards be? Something that you can use to display your current favorite ATC or small piece of art work?  I thought they’d be adorable!  I colored them with some Distress Paint (I used Chipped Sapphire, Fired Brick and Mowed Lawn – I kept one just white) spritzed with water, painted some more and let them dry. I protected the chips with a wash of matte gel mixed with water to just ensure the paint I used to decorate the chips wouldn’t rub off or flake.

Now comes the genius part (I know, hard to top my idea, but I think this does) I had been saving pop tops from soda cans and cat food cans.  The little ring inside the part that attaches to the can fit perfectly inside the ring at the top of the chips! I took a picture of what part of the ring I am talking about – sometimes it is too hard to put what you mean into words and a picture really can be worth a million words!

Anyway, I hooked the little ring inside the hole at the top of the chip and figured out that was what I’d use as a hanger. Perfect! That way you can hang them on a push pin that is already on your bulletin board, hook them on a hook (I’m thinking of those heavy duty magnets you can get with the hook on them so you could put the chips on your fridge) or hang them on a nail.  If you use soda can pop tops the hanging opening is smaller so choose the size opening you’ll need based on where you plan on hanging them.  But, even if you use the smaller tab, you can always add ribbon, ornament hooks, unfolded paper clips or whatever to make them so you can hang them anywhere. You really don’t need the little part on the pop tab since you are going to glue them on anyway, but I think it’s a neat trick.  I used E6000 to glue my tabs on, putting the glue on the back of the chip over the hole in the chip and all.  You aren’t going to be able to see it and in the next step, you are going to add even more glue to stabilize it further.

Small binder, or bulldog, clips
OK, I have my hook situation down, what about a hanger of some sort so you can change whatever it is that you have on the chip?  Back to the drawing board again. I thought about paper clips, but I thought that using something like that would make it too easy to tear whatever it is you had displayed; I thought about some magnetic attachment, but then you’d have to make whatever you wanted to hang magnetized in some way, too.  Then I realized that something similar to what is on a clipboard would be perfect! But I didn’t have anything like that in my stash. After mulling the situation over, I decided that the mini bulldog (also known as binder clips) clips would work perfectly!  They are small enough, only about 1 ½” when they are closed, even smaller when they are open.  And I have those; I have a lot of those!  And if you don’t have these you can easily purchase them in any office supply store, I have even seen them at the dollar store.  I took my mini binder clips and glued them on the front using the E6000 again and a craft stick to sort of smear the glue around and level it off a bit.  You aren’t going to see this either so don’t really worry about it.
This blob of glue holding the clip also helps to stabilize the pop tab
Since I left the binder clip black for the silver & white chip & I had a blue clip I used on the blue one, I ended up painting some of the mini clips to match the 2 chips I had left.  I first painted them with gesso then with alcohol ink markers, but I should have sanded them first because some of the gesso came off in spots.  I decided to leave them to dry (the alcohol ink) overnight and see if I could save them in the morning.  I didn’t like the way the clips came out so I tried another route to coloring them.  I just pouring some colored alcohol ink and smearing it all over the binder clip with a q-tip. That covered much better than the marker did.  I really didn’t like the red bulldog clip at all, so I trashed it and colored a new one with a gold Krylon Leafing pen.  Much better!  I decide to go with red & gold so I also used the leafing pen to color the pop tab and I edged the chip as well.

For the little signs, I used Publisher, made them and printed them out but you could just as easily use any word processing program, your own handwriting, cut out letters, stickers or stamp them.  I matted one on silver card stock & the other I edged in Faded Jeans Distress Ink; put one on the blue tile and the other on the silver & white tile. The trick is to attach the signs with pop dots so they go over the blob of glue and where the pop tab and the hole in the tile meet.  Since I used the pop tab “backwards” on the silver & white chip, I finished off the tab by wrapping a sparkly silver ribbon around it and gluing the ends to the back.
Tab on the left is the "wrong" way
I then went through my sticker stash and used some stickers on the red one and the green one – I also think rub-ons would be cool, but the green chip has a texture and I didn’t want to chance messing up any of the others (my track record with rub-ons is not the best.  I even bought a special tool that is supposed to make it so much easier and almost foolproof.  Note the “almost” foolproof).   Once I was done with the stickers I gave the red chip another matte gel & water wash; I left the green chip alone since the stickers are dimensional (the epoxy sticker kind) and I was afraid the wash would cause the stickers to fall off.   Since the backs of the chips were a mess of glue, paint and gesso, I covered them with some patterned paper; being extra careful around where the pop tabs had been glued. I think these are a great upcycle project and they are really cute and useful.    

I have SO many ideas for these large chips now and I know you will be seeing more projects using them in the future. I am finally going to be hitting some tag sales tomorrow & I can’t WAIT – I hope to score some arty stuff. Thanks for reading & looking!
I am entering these in the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge “Going Green” which features projects using recycled material or projects featuring the color green.  Have a crafty day!

Here is the blue chip at work


  1. Cool! This is a really clever idea, and it looks great too. Blessings!

  2. COOL E O!!!! Love it, and all made with things just lying around that needed repurposing! They look like mini clip boards! Love that you will be showcasing your own Art on these...FABULOUS idea! Thanks for going green with us this week here at Simon Says Stamp & Show!

  3. Clever idea, love how,you have used the chips,to display small pieces of art, showing that small pieces can have a big impact. And I agree with Anita they do look like mini clip,boards, it's the first thing I thought when I saw them. Great idea. Thanks so much for,joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

  4. What cool ideas! Totally forgot I have a bunch of these chips! My big ones are 9"x5" or so. They'll make great project boards. Thanks for the inspiration!! I'll follow you on bloglovin. Hugs

  5. Christi, omg you have done a great job and the rings are great love the blue inked cardstock ..hey do you have that die you used on the gear's they are to die for you do a great job on your blog too sweetie.....hank you for the in vite .
    love to come by here .. you take care god bless......

    Mary Redford
    ATC--fun -09

  6. Hello! I love your ideas! I'm currently working on a project where I need the small laminate chips and would love to know how to get my hands on some. I need a lot of them...recycle project, and would appreciate any help you can offer.


Thank you so much for your comments! I read each and every one :)