I know a ton of you have been waiting for this one. Teaching you to make your own plastic keychains!
To start off, I think the biggest question everyone has is what I use to make them. I work with shrink film. You might be familiar with Shinky Dink brand shrink film as a kid. I use Grafix brand white inkjet shrink film. The inkjet kind is relatively pricey compared to the regular kind. If you’re using regular, I don’t recommend you stick it in your printer. Sharpie markers would be good for that.
Alright, now open up the file with the images that you’re working with. Make sure your images are a lot bigger than you want your finished product to be since they shrink significantly.
You’ll also want to lighten the opacity to about half. I go somewhere between 50-60%.
Now print your image out! I’ve found that it works best for me when I have it at the plain paper setting, and standard print quality.
Holepunch with a 1/4” holepuncher BEFORE you shrink them. It’s so much more work to have to punch holes when your plastic is thick!
Cut out your design, leaving the amount of border you want.
Set them on a tray for convenience. An aluminum foil sheet works too, but I recommend cookie trays because they are easier and quicker to get out of the oven.
Preset heat. Your shrink film package will tell you what temperature to set it at, but I find that it isn’t always accurate for me. I generally set temperature to 350 degrees or so.
Put them in the oven. Remember to keep track of time! I leave them in for about a minute and a half.
After time is up they should be super small! Magic!
If your charms are not flat, put something heavy on it right out of the oven when they are still hot and malleable.
If you’d like to, you can seal them now. In my last two batches, I used clear topcoat nail polish. The problem with that is that I need between 3-5 coats of it, and it takes a while to dry. I’ve been experimenting with modpodge.
For lariats, you can use jump rings or lobster clasps.
Here is one that I made that wasn’t sealed. The finished texture after shrinking is a little bit rough. There’s nothing wrong with leaving them unsealed, but because they are inkjet printed, the colors wash right of without protection.
This is one that was sealed with modpodge. The colors become a little more vibrant and smooth and water resistant. Things often get stuck on when applying or drying so be careful.
These ones down here were sealed with clear nail polish. They come out shiny if you put enough coats, but the grainy texture will still be there.
Well, there ya go! Have fun making your own keychains!
He doesn’t actually laugh like this when I make a valid joke. #truelife #21monthproblems #XXI #noshotsplease #noenzyme
Guide to Self-Studying Japanese
A large proportion of Japanese learners self-study. Finding places to learn Japanese in a classroom environment can be difficult and expensive. Here’s a guide on how you can learn Japanese for free and from the comfort of your sofa.
When learning Japanese, the most important step is to learn Hiragana and Katakana, the writing alphabets of Japanese.
The best way I’ve found to do that is to make flashcards. Make sure you practice writing as well as recognizing them, this will not only be a great skill to have but will also reinforce the shapes in your mind.
[Hiragana 42], the best guide I’ve found to learn the Hiragana (in a day!)
[Hiranana and Katakana Quiz Site]
[Kana Invaders Game]
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Vocabulary….
The next step is to start learning vocabulary. Where can you find what to learn? Use a site like Memrise to find word lists (for example, there is a word list for all the vocabulary in starter textbooks like Genki), and use the amazing interface to learn them and keep them in your long term memory.
While encountering vocabulary, you’re likely to be coming across super-complicated-looking Kanji. You can learn Kanji through Memrise as above, but there are some other websites that may be of interest.
[Kanji Damage] A great site where you can learn Kanji through Mnemonics.[WaniKani] by the same people ho make TextFugu (below) can help you learn Kanji from scratch.
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Kanji….
The next step is to apply that new vocabulary to grammar points and start making sentences.
If you can’t get your hands on textbooks like Genki, don’t fear! There are a lot of great online grammar resources.
[TextFugu] a highly rated ‘online textbook’ which will guide you right from the beginning of learning Japanese.
[Guide to Japanese] another online textbook with a lot of grammar points and excellent explanations.
The Fun Parts: Using Japanese Online Media
So you probably have learnt Japanese because you have some interest in Japanese media. Time to start using it to your learning advantage!
Aside from the obvious watching Anime, J-dramas and films, why not try Reading Japanese News? Watching Japanese TV? Just make sure you are making these activities productive - note down new vocabulary, add them to Anki, and keep learning! It’s much easier to learn things you’re interested in. Try translating Japanese songs, etc.
The most important but difficult part of self-studying Japanese is getting your own compositions checked. Utilize all that grammar and vocabulary and write a short piece, it could be a diary entry or a short essay. Get it recorded for you by a native on RhinoSpike, and checked for grammar and consistencies on Lang-8.These sites also give you the chance to connect with Japanese natives, and perhaps start up some language exchanges!
For more resources, take a look at my Ultimate Resources List
Any more tips? Comment below!
For future reference