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How-To: Mod Dot Metal Ornament
If you’ve never played with foil duct tape (sometimes called HVAC tape), it’s time for a trip to the hardware store! This shiny, adhesive-backed metal takes beautifully to embossing. Here, it’s paired with some chipboard and colored paper to create a modern, yet organic-looking, holiday bauble.
- Chipboard (Use a food box from your recycle bin)
- Scraps of heavy colored paper
- Glue stick
- Circle template (or circle punches)
- Foil duct tape
- Craft knife (with a fresh blade)
- Self-healing cutting board
- Bone folder (or kitchen spoon)
- Embossing tool (or pencil)
- Silver embroidery floss
- Tacky Glue
First, cut some circles. You can use circle punches if you have them, or trace them from a circle template and cut them with scissors. From chipboard, you’ll need two 1 ¾” circles, two 1 ¼” circles, and two 1” circles.
From colored paper, you’ll need two 1 ⅛” circles, two ⅞” circles, and two 5/8” circles.
Glue the colored circles to the approximate centers of the chipboard centers with glue stick. (No need to be precise here - a little off-centerness adds to the look of the ornament.)
Cut a piece of foil tape that’s long enough to fit the largest circles. Use a craft knife to cut a circle in roughly the center. I like to cut this freehand so it’s slightly wonky. For safety, start with a fresh blade, and cut just a little at a time in one direction only. Keep turning the tape to continue the cut.
Peel the backing from the foil tape, and carefully center the chipoard circle over the adhesive, so the colored paper shows through the opening you just cut.
Cut away the excess foil tape with scissors. This stuff has very strong adhesive, so cut a little at a time and keep removing the excess from your scissor blades. If they get gummy, clean them with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.
Now, a cut edge of foil tape can be sharp! So use a bone folder or the back of a spoon to gently wrap the edges of the foil around the cardboard until you have a smooth edge.
Next, place the circle flat on your work surface, and place a scrap of printer paper on top. Burnish the circle well with a bone folder or the back of a spoon to smooth out the foil tape. See how the colored paper circle shows through now? That’s the basis of our embossing step.
Use an embossing tool or a pencil to draw on the foil surface now. I traced around the edge of the colored paper circle first, then added a border of dots around the edge of the center circle. Then I drew some lines radiating out from the edges.
Repeat this process to make the other five circles.
Cut an 18” length of silver embroidery floss and fold it in half. Place three of the circles face down and put some tacky glue on each one. Then, place the folded floss in the glue. Adjust the circles so they’re the same distance apart (about ¼”) and stretch the floss straight. Then add the other three circles on top, matching their sizes.
Place the ornament under a stack of books for several hours so it dries flat. Then, trim any excess floss away from the bottom.
And that's it! Happy Shiny!