Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Classified Picture Cards

Like many other Montessori Home Schoolers, budget is a big issue in our house, especially now. Something that is big in M is classified pictures. These come in a couple of forms but, I'm working on 3-part cards and environment matching - at least this is what I've come to call them from others' work, it may not be a true M name. To save money I'm making them myself, with some help (YAY Becca and Brea!). Some MHS simply print them and laminate them, however, my kids are really rough on things so I didn't think that would be sturdy enough plus I don't have the funds to invest in all that lamination. I'm sure overall it isn't very expensive but the intial cost for supplies is several meals worth and at the moment, that's very important to keep in mind. So I'm gluing the printer paper to heavy card and then putting Mod Podge over it. Here are some things I've learned from my experience, yours may be different...

1. Cereal boxes make great "free" cardstock. The "free" depends on who bought the cereal in the first place! Tip: don't use boxes that came in direct contact with the food as there may be some invisible food residue that may cause problems later on.
2. I chose to attach the paper to the printed side of the boxes so the backs would be plain rather than a point of interest to the kids. You can see through the white parts of the paper somewhat, but I'm not personally too concerned about that.
3. Glue sticks dry very fast, often faster than we could get the paper stuck down. I had to go back later and redo all the edges with mod podge and a paint brush.
4. Glossy mod podge leaves a surface that is slicker and in theory easier to clean if they get smudgy. There are brush streaks in mine but I'm OK with it - now.
5.On my inkjet printer, some of the ink colors run. Blue in particular will smear all over your picture, into the whites, on the brush and onto the next card you do.

To remedy the running I tried:
1. Clear acrylic spray. Naturally I didn't think of doing one or 2 cards, I tried a whole "spray box" full. a)The acrylic makes the paper translucent so you can clearly see through it b)it reacted with the mod podge that was on the edges, making it sticky and stippled looking.
2. Krylon Spray Fixative - an old can that didn't spray so I have no results for you
3. Aerosol Hairspray- which my architecture professor said was the same as spray fix at a much cheaper cost. I've never done a direct comparison. a) it also saturates the paper and can cause some running even if left flat, but especially if you hang the paper to dry. b)it takes a while for the paper to completely dry (I'm typing while waiting for mine to dry, sheet by sheet) and 2 light dotty coats is better than one that gets the whole thing covered c) after spraying, wipe the surface of your work space - mine is covered with wax paper - because some ink from the saturation will bleed through and then dot the next paper. d) If you spray the paper before you glue it to the card stock: once totally dry, the paper will return to its original translusence. If you spray the paper after it is gluesticked to the card stock, it will be slightly more translucent than original but less than if you spray acrylic onto gluesticked paper. e) the ink may still come off a little but mostly on your mod podge brush and not smeared all over your work.

Now my papers seem to be dry so I'm trying YES! Paste, bought on sale, instead of glue sticks which don't work well or mod podge/white glue because those would make the paper wrinkle up and YES! isn't supposed to. I'll let you know...