Father's Day DIY

I have to say, this year, my Mr. hit the jackpot with his Father's Day gifts.  

First, he got a spot in an "Artificial Rock Climbing Anchors" class with REI.  This was a sort of 'olive branch' if you will, and he knew it.  In my attempt to be the bigger person, I think I still managed to lay it on a little too thick, so I decided the Mr. also needed a less-heavy more-fun Father's Day gift to kind of take the edge off.

(Note: if you have no idea what I'm talking about here, that's okay.  Just keep reading because the important part is coming up.)

So, I decided to go the DIY route.  I feel like Father's Day kind of always warrants some sort of DIY--a popsicle stick bookmark, a finger-painted coffee mug, a scribbled portrait of dad dressed up as a superhero.  Of course, this year, NC is barely old enough to hold a crayon so I had to take the reins.

I was inspired by this project on Jordan's blog because it was fast, easy, cheap, and way more original than the typical "painted handprint and poem".

Overall, I'd say this tutorial was pretty straightforward, but I found myself having to make a few extra tweaks that ensured success.

Here's what I did:

I knew I wanted to go the 'shrinky dink' route like in the original project, but decided to make magnets instead for the Mr. to use to hang really important Dr. information above his desk in his new clinic.  So even though the outcome was different, the first step was pretty much the same:  

1) Pick out pictures and size them about twice as big as you want your finished product to be.  

After that, I realized I needed a bit more guidance.

In the original tutorial, they recommended purchasing this version of the paper that you need to print your images on.  However, when I received the paper and went to print my images, here's what came out:

Kinda cool in an abstract watercolor sort of way?  Maybe.  Appropriate for this project.  No.

I went back and ordered a different type of printer-specific paper that I made sure I could use in my inkjet printer at home, and the results were perfect.  A few notes about printing on the 'shrinky dink' paper:

**When you bake the images in the oven and they begin to shrink, the colors will darken and saturate significantly, so it's best to lighten your images just a bit before printing.  

**I set my printer settings to 'photo paper' and just regular color and they printed up just fine. 

**Make sure to wait a few minutes before touching the finished print before cutting out the images and baking to let the ink set on the page to prevent smearing.

After my images were printed and dried, I got to shrinking.  Here's how you finish up:

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Cut out your images and place them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper.  I also covered the images with parchment paper because the package of paper said it would help prevent sticking and curling.  However, I don't think it made a difference because the images will curl up like the dickens anyway.

2) Place the baking sheet with the cut out images on the middle rack of the oven and WATCH THEM. I set my timer for 3 minutes and that was about as long as I had to go do whatever else I needed to do before it was time to keep my eyes glued to those puppies before I missed all the action.  

3) After about 3-4 minutes, the images will start to curl up around the edges and maybe even flip over onto themselves.  Yes, it looks like everything is going to hell but I promise, it's not.  Just wait and watch as the images continue to curl up and then, after a minute or so, they will start to flatten out again.  Wait until they are completely flat again and then you know they are done.  Take them out of the oven and let them cool slightly before handling them.  

4) I bought some simple stick-on magnets and just peeled and stuck them straight to the back of the baked images and it worked perfectly.

5) Voila!  Finito.  You have a precious DIY gift for Papa to proudly display wherever he sees fit.

**And thanks to Emily McDowell for having the most amazing business card of all time (pictured above).**  

Hope you all were able to hug on the father figures in your lives this past weekend, and that all of you papas out there got lots of handmade goodies from your beloved littles.


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