Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to make laminated paper wall tiles

When it comes to getting inexpensive, quirky art onto the wall in a humid room like the kitchen or bath, there is no easier way I know than lightweight, laminated paper:

This project is perfect for using up the pages from old calendars you loved, or any other kind of paper (newspaper, even!), but I've focused on a couple of sheets of deluxe wrapping paper by Cavallini, bought from a fancy stationery store.

You will need

Printed paper

Either a steady hand and scissors, or a cutting mat and a rotary cutter

A ruler bigger than the longest side of your paper

Clear adhesive film (I used Opmark Adhesive Film in roll form from Staples, but I spotted Avery sheets at Amazon as well)

Painter's Tape (I like Painter's Mate Green)

How to proceed

Your goal here is to laminate the front and back of the paper - the front, so as to easily wipe the paper clean, and the back, so as to make the finished product easier to put on and take off the wall.

There are two ways to achieve this kind of coverage.  If you are planning to use a large span of paper, you can unroll the adhesive film over it,

and cut afterward.

Alternatively - if you don't want to laminate everything, for example - you can cut put favourite bits of the paper first, then slip the clippings of your choice under the adhesive film.

Either way, you will want to smooth out any air pockets with your ruler before trimming away the edges of the film.

Note: if you are able to acquire Opmark Adhesive Film, you will have no trouble at all lifting and repositioning it over your paper.  That can be handy if you went with the Cut Second option, because if the film's edge lands in the middle of an image you wanted to use, you can simply remove it after cutting away another part and start over in the new area.  I can't speak for the Avery option, but I can tell you that Staples in Canada has sold Opmark for years alongside poster board.  For some reason, you just won't find it on the Staples website.

Once you've covered both the front and the back of the paper and cut it all to shape, you are ready to hang your tiles wherever you please, thanks to the miracle of Painter's Tape folded into a sticky-side-out loop and stuck on the back.

(in case you don't keep this stuff in your house at all times, let me tell you, you cannot top it for labeling water bottles etc. - I've had bottles I've washed for years and their Painter's Mate labels have stayed intact, until I effortlessly unpeeled them.)

Painter's Tape won't harm most surfaces - test first - and is infinitely repositionable. Between that and the lamination, your artwork can become a bathroom-friendly wallpaper border,

an accent for a kitchen cabinet door,

or a backup focal point below a wall of clipboards,

when they are not showcasing a young cottage guest's efforts.

That clipboard business is one of my favourite ideas for the cottage - rainy days are downright dire for children trapped in a tiny place with a lake just out of reach, so art supplies are essential.  But where to store the clipboards so necessary to stand in for table space or a lap desk?  Hanging from nails on an empty kitchen wall, that's where. 

But to get back to the tiles: omigosh, so fun.  And best of all, there's no commitment if you aren't sure about what you've posted. You can leave pictures up for a party, or all the way to the end of a season, or as long as the Painter's Tape holds, which varies based on how many times you move the pictures around.

You can also opt for laminating the front only, and sticking the back to a magnet, which is how I have my own custom collection of Wallace and Gromit 'frig magnets (paper source: an old calendar.)

Thank you so much for joining me to look at paper art for your walls, and I hope I will see you again tomorrow for something yarny!

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