Transform your cute kid photos into a set of handmade bottle cap magnets. Follow these easy steps.
• Digital photo(s) of your kids: Faces should be head-on, but this doesn’t need to be a close-up, since you’ll be using a 1” diameter circle. I used one photo in which all three of my children were smiling. (Go me!)
• Clean bottle caps, one for each magnet
• Mod Podge Matte and a brush for applying it
• Mod Podge Dimensional Magic: I found this locally at Joann’s, hanging above the other glues. It replaces the nasty-smelling toxic resin for these sorts of projects.
• Small, strong magnet: You can get a package of these at a craft store like Michael’s or Joann’s.
• Strong glue: I’ve had middling success with a hot glue gun. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t, and then I resort to the really strong smelly glue to show that magnet who’s boss.
• 1” diameter hole punch (typically found in the scrapbook section) or scissors
• Pin or toothpick (for piercing wee little air bubbles)
1. Open your photo in the editing program of your choice (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Picasa). Set the crop tool to 1” by 1”, keeping the original resolution so that the photos will be as crisp as possible. Crop around the face, remembering that this will eventually be a circle and the corners won’t be included. If your editing program lets you crop to a 1” circle, even better. Save a version of the cropped photo.
2. Drop the cropped photo into a document program (I used Publisher, but Word will work, too), making sure that it’s sized at 100%. Copy and paste as many as you need. If you don’t have a 1” diameter hole punch, insert a 1” circle shape and position it over your photo. This will be your cutting line. (If you’re not sure how to insert a 1” circle shape, you can trace a quarter onto your printout before cutting.) Print your photo sheet onto regular printer paper, not photo paper.
3. Cut out your photos with either scissors or your hole punch. This one that I’m using lets you position the paper so you can see where you’re cutting. I love it.
4. Using a brush, apply a light coat of Mod Podge into the bottom of the bottle cap, place your picture, pressing lightly, and then cover it with another coat to “seal” it. Start at the edges, dabbing the glue into the gaps at the ridges, and then fill in the center with a thin but full coat of the glue. You may want to test on a spare photo to decide on the best method; depending on your printer and ink, the paper may need to set for a day first, or you may be better off applying a few thinner coats, letting them dry in between.
5. When the Mod Podge has dried (at least a few hours), carefully pour in the Dimensional Magic. (For more information on working with Dimensional Magic, click here.) Hold the bottle at an angle, and make sure your bottle cap is resting on a flat surface, somewhere it will not be disturbed by children or pets for the next 24 hours. Fill the cap up to about where the crinkly bits begin. Do you see any bubbles? Carefully try to pop them now. Check it periodically as it dries, too, and don’t be surprised if some show up when you go to bed, just to vex you. Your magnet may have some bubbles, but it’s handmade with love and if it were absolutely perfect you may as well just buy a mass-produced boring gift, right?
6. When the Dimensional Magic is completely set (at least 24 hours), turn the caps over and attach the magnet. It’s okay at this point to rest them flat, upside down, so the glue can set as well.
7. Put the set you made for yourself (you did make a set for yourself, yes?!) on your fridge and marvel at your craftiness and your cute kids. Present another set to Grandma, and don’t be modest: you’re responsible for the kids and the great gift. Go you!