Monday, 19 May 2014

Card from Recycled Medication Sachets

Those who follow or visit my blog will know that I’m in Full Recycling Mode at the moment, and lots of things I would normally throw away are prompting the question, “Could I make art out of this?”

For my ulcerative colitis, I take medication in the form of granules, which come in individual plastic foil sachets. Taking two of these a day, I realised I was throwing quite a lot of the empty sachets away, and asked myself if they could be recycled in some form. I asked my hubby, “Could I make art out of these?” He pulled a face and replied emphatically, “NO!!” I think he thinks I’m completely off my head at the moment with my obsession with used teabags and empty food boxes… but he should be used to me by now, after 28 years of marriage!!

Anyway, I decided to give it a try. The project turned out a lot more difficult than I’d anticipated as these sachets are made of the most unresponsive material ever!! However, I was determined to make my hubby a card for his birthday today – one in the eye for someone who so doubted my abilities to make art out of such things!

I have made a video of most of the process – disasters and successes – but unfortunately I got so carried away that towards the end I didn’t notice that the camera’s memory was full, so I didn’t manage to complete the whole thing. I also forgot to take very many photos. (Actually, altogether, this project seemed fraught with problems from beginning to end!)

Empty sachets cut open, with some “spills” made from them. The scissors are to stop the beastly things from curling up again!

01 Sachets and Quills

Epic Fail! My first attempt at creating the background for my project.

02 First Substrate - Epic Failure

I tried to stick the flattened out sachets onto a piece of card using gel medium. They kept curling up and not sticking, so I left it to dry under a pile of books. The result was anything but successful, with a very messy and lumpy surface.

I tried sticking the sachets with Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive (my favourite wet glue) but it didn’t work, probably because the surface was so slick, and not porous. For paper and card, that glue is second to none, but not for this, unfortunately. I was at my wits’ end, trying to think of a way of sticking them, when my hubby phoned, so I picked his brains without giving him any details about the project, and he suggested double sided tape. I was sceptical, but decided I had nothing to lose by trying, and lo and behold, it worked a treat.

I covered a fresh piece of card with strips of double sided tape, and laid down the opened-up sachets onto this, centring the first one and cutting the excess off the sides of the outer ones. It was really, really hard lining these up, because the surface was soooo sticky, and stuck on contact, and the sachets kept curling up. I managed some degree of success in the end, and once it was done, I embossed it with the Cuttlebug, using the folder “Diamond Plate,” which I thought would give the card a more manly air!

I thought the stuff might melt in an interesting way, and produce some nice wrinkled surfaces like Tyvek, but it was very stubborn and only rolled up on itself, but with further heating, it got quite tacky, and I was able to scrunch it up and make it stick to itself. I made six scrunched up ones and laid the three smaller ones on top of the larger ones, hoping they wouldn’t end up simply looking like scrunched up tin foil! I stuck them together with double sided tape and secured them to the embossed card with small jewelled brads. This piece was then layered onto a piece of black card, which in turn was stuck to a white card base.

I had a terrible job rolling the sachets to form the spills which I wanted to use for flower stems – the stuff was so darned slippery and it was very hard to get them to roll tightly enough, but after experimenting, I discovered the best way was to start them off around a wooden barbecue stick, and after a few turns, to withdraw the stick, and pull back on the roll to tighten it, before applying exactly the right amount of pressure (learnt by trial and error) to complete the roll. A line of ATG double sided tape secured the roll.

I stuck down three stems made from the spills, using narrow double sided tape, and then heat-embossed in silver the Happy Birthday sentiment at the top.

Here is the finished card:

03 Finished Card

and a detailed shot of the flowers.

04 Flower Detail

I used the reverse side of the sachets for the background, being unprinted, and a slightly duller silver than the front surface, which I used for the 3-D pieces. I have got some dull silver card which would have been a lot easier to handle for the embossed background, and I would have ended up without all those joins, too, but I wanted to prove that I could make something out of the sachets!

I gave my hubby the card this morning and he loved it. When he opened it, he saw that I had stuck a sachet onto the inside of the card, with the message, “Who said I couldn’t make art out of these?!!”

Honour is satisfied! However, this was such awful stuff to work with – very unforgiving, and very unresponsive, and the whole project involved a huge amount of very frustrating work. The result wasn’t over-impressive after all that, so I don’t think I shall be continuing with this material. Some things are better for recycling than others! If anyone can come up with some other ways it might be used, I’d be glad to hear it, but from now on the empty sachets will be going into the bin again, I’m afraid. The only part that I think may have potential for the future is the rolled “spills” which could be quite effective en-masse, but it’s a lot of work! Is it worth it, I wonder?

1 comment:

  1. Love the card Shoshi, what a great idea and so effective.
    Happy crafting, Angela x


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