From the bean of Green Bean.
Forgive me, Beth, for I have sinned.
It's been a long summer. Scratch that. It's been a short summer that flew by in between summer camps and camping. My regular mid-week farmers' market was closed for much of the summer. Weekends were punctuated with visits to grandma and grandpa's, birthday parties or mini getaways.
I'm afraid that I didn't make it to the farmers' market as much as I would have liked. I resorted to buying the local produce sold at my Whole Food's market. Not too bad. So what am I feeling guilty about?
All those darned plastic clamshells that the local produce come in at the supermarket. I cannot tell you the number of times I stood, frozen with indecision, over a stack of strawberries wondering if it was better to buy the local and organic ones wrapped in number 6 plastic or to mosey on over to the New Zealand apples where I could use my own bag.
The locavore won out.
She also won a stack of number 6 plastic clamshells. Ones that my recycler won't take. Do I just fill the landfill with them?
Now, I don't claim superhero status for nuthin'. And I don't give in quite that easy. I dimly remembered something about number 6 plastic. Something crafty. Something fun. Something kidsy.
A bit of research (read: one Google search) unearthed dozens of DIY instructions for turning number 6 plastic into shrinky dinks. I picked a few of the more interesting links and away we went.
number 6 plastic
aluminum foil or parchment paper
hole punch (optional)
1) Cut out shapes of number 6 plastic.
2) Draw on them with markers. Some of the websites claim you can use colored pencils, stamps from an ink pad, or paint also work. We just settled for the three sharpies we had on hand.
3) If you want to make a hole to turn it into a necklace, earrings, a key chain, and something similar afterward, now is the time to use the hole punch. We might revisit this project at Christmas time to make ornaments or for Valentine's Day to make zipper pulls.
4) Put on foil or parchment paper covered cookie sheet in preheated over (350 degrees) and watch your art shrink. It may curl up but you can flatten it as soon as you remove it from the oven. For us, it worked best to do one at a time. Some of the bigger pieces or ones with ridges (which mostly flatten out in the cooking) tend to curl and need to be straightened. You've only got about 10-15 seconds after removing your creation from the oven to straighten it or shape it into something else - this adventuresome crafter turned hers into rings - so you need to move quickly.
Here's what happens if you don't move quite quickly enough.
5) Seal with some sort of poly urethane to protect the drawing from scratching off. Apparently, clear nail polish does not work and, as we've nothing in the house, I'll have to borrow some from my neighbors.
6) I've read where some people smelled off-gassing. We didn't notice any fumes but, if there are some, you can always open a window and turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake it for 20 minutes to get rid of any lingering fumes.
Was this project cape-worthy? Well, I would feel a bit more like an eco-hero if I had avoided the plastic clamshells in the first place. That said, we definitely made the best out of a bad situation in shrinking from our guilt.