Saturday, February 22, 2014

DIY Project: Mickey Mouse Medals

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been in the Olympic spirit the past few weeks.  I wanted to make something crafty to celebrate, especially since I had absolutely no ideas for a Valentine's Day craft.  I thought about making party decorations, but not everyone throws an Olympics party.  (Eliot and I didn't.  But maybe I'll plan ahead for the summer games in Rio!)  Eventually, I decided on making Mickey Medals!

Mickey Medals are Olympic related, but you could make them for all sorts of occasions. If your kids are athletic, then you can make them as prizes.  They could also be favors at a birthday party.  Or you could even make them for the winner of family game night! Here's how I made mine:

Air Dry Clay (or Fimo/Sculpy polymer clay, homemade salt dough, etc.)
Cookie Cutters, Jar Lids, Cups, etc (to cookie cut medals)
Things to Decorate medals (bottle caps, toothpicks, etc.)
Acrylic Paint or Spray Paint (in Gold, Silver and/or Bronze)
Sealant (optional)

Steps to Make Mickey Mouse Medals:

1.) Prepare Clay
Take the air dry clay out of the package and knead it.  I used the generic Creatology brand from Michael's but Crayola also makes air dry clay.  I found that the longer I played with it and rolled it around, the smoother it became.  Roll your clay into a ball and flatten it with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin.  (I used the palm of my hand so my medals are a little uneven in thickness.)  I would recommend making them at least 1/8" to 1/4" thick. My medals got a little thin in some places.  If you're planning on using them regularly, like for a weekly family game night, definitely make them thicker so they'll be sturdier!

2.) Cut out medals
Use something to help "cut" out your design like a cookie cutter.  (I used a Mickey egg ring for mine.)  You can use jar lids, cups, or anything that will make the shape you want. Most people choose something circular, but you could always make your medal another shape!  Don't fret if you don't have something Mickey Mouse shaped to use to cut the medal out.  You can always add a Mickey shape in the decorations! 
3.) Decorate Medals
This is the fun part!  You can do anything with the decorations!  On my first medal, I used a bottle cap to make circular shapes on it.  I left the second one blank.  The third medal I used a toothpick to create hash marks on the ears and I wrote 2014 on the center with the toothpick.  The final medal, I used a straw to make circles everywhere, then I added more marks with the toothpick.  I had some extra clay that was prepared, so I decided to make some swirls by rolling a thin strip of clay and making "snakes" with it.  I lightly pressed them onto the medal.  I also went back and added a cursive "M" to the first medal since I didn't like how it looked.  (It's still pretty bumpy since I didn't work the clay enough when I made it.)

4.) Make Hole for Ribbon
Before you're done, make sure to make a hole to put your ribbon through!  I wanted to keep the large medals Mickey shaped, so I decided to make a hole using a straw.  Press the straw into the clay and wiggle it so it's all the way through.  When you pull it back up, the clay should come right out in the straw.  Then, pinch the straw to get the clay out and keep doing this for each medal.  The best part is that you can cut the end off the straw and then use it again for another craft project!  If you're making smaller medals for a furry friend or doll, you can also use the toothpick to make a hole in the clay.

(A variation of this project is to skip this step and glue the ribbon to the back of the medals at the end instead.  It's up to you!)

5.) Let Dry Overnight
Follow the directions on your clay package.  Mine said that it would take 72 hours to "fully" harden, but that it would be ok to move around after setting it out overnight.  (If you use another type of clay like Fimo or homemade salt dough, you can speed this process up by baking the clay.)  

I found that the waxed paper I used to line my cookie sheet folded up overnight so the medals were a little bit bent.  (See photo above.)  The back was also still "bendy" and not dried since it hadn't been able to dry in the air.  I took away the waxed paper and flipped them over for a few hours so the backs would also harden up.  (See photo below.)

6.) Paint Medals
Once your medals are dry, they are ready to paint!  I used acrylic paint, but spray paint would also work.  (Make sure you are in a well ventilated area if using spray paint!)  It will probably take a few coats of paint for them to be covered completely.  If you weren't able to make Mickey shaped medals, you can paint a Mickey shape on them at this step!  You can also paint your name, the year or anything else.  Don't forget that you can also customize the back of the medal!  Once you're done painting, let medals dry throughly.

7.) Measure and Cut Ribbon
Measure your ribbons so you'll know how long they need to be.  They should fall somewhere between your chest and belly button.  I used myself as a model for the large medals.  Then, I measured the ribbon sizes for Duffy and Eeyore.  I added a little bit extra length so I'd have room to tie it in a knot.  Here's how the sizes for my medals turned out:
  • Me/Adult Medal- 46 inch long ribbon
  • Eeyore Medal- 22 inch long ribbon
  • Mini Duffy Medal- 9 inch long ribbon

You can use any color or width of ribbon for the medals.  I wanted to use red, white and blue to represent the USA.  The width of ribbon also depends on who, or what, you're making your medal for.  You might want different sized ribbons if you're making a medal for your child and a matching one for their toys.  (For example, the ribbon width that fits your child will not correctly and proportionally fit Barbie.)

Here's how I figured out the sizes for mine:
  • Before going to Michael's, I found 1/8" ribbon that I already had.  It was the perfect size for mini Duffy.  It would also be the right width for Barbie sized dolls.
  • I got 5/8" ribbon for Eeyore; and that size would also work for most plush, Build-A-Bears, and full size Duffy bears.
  • Finally, I grabbed the last roll of 1 and 1/2" red, white and blue ribbon at Michael's to make a full size medal.  (It seems like I'm not the only one working on Olympics crafts!)

8.) Seal Medals (optional)
Seal your medals if you'd like to use an acrylic sealant so your medals will last.  If you plan on getting them wet, this is a good idea.  (Acrylic paint runs if it gets wet.)  Again, make sure that you're in a well ventilated area when using spray sealant.

9.) Attach Ribbon
String your ribbon through the hole you made with the straw, and then tie a knot at the end of it.  If you really want to get fancy, you can also sew up the ends of it!  If you'd like to hide the knot, you can tuck it behind your medal.

10.) Enjoy your new Mickey Mouse Medals!
Now that you're done with this project, enjoy your accomplishment!  Wear that medal and be proud!  If you want, play the Mickey Mouse Club March and raise a Mickey flag while you stand on a podium!  Or pretend your walking into the closing ceremonies.  Don't forget to "hold your banner high" while you march around the living room!  ;-)

I hope you have fun making your own Mickey Medals!  °o°

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