9 Nov 2012

Heads or Tails?

This was the little project that couldn't.  I tried, and tried, and tried to make it work, but these little animals were having nothing of it.

I decided way over a month ago that I was going to make some fun magnets for Fin.  She loves playing with the magnets on the fridge and rearranging them a million different ways.  The poor kid had to play with free magnets from the dentist and pizza place.  The least her mother could do was make her some decent toddler worthy magnets.  I had seen a few pictures of plastic animals that had been cut in half and then had magnets attached....so they were little heads and bums.  Seemed simple.

The first challenge was actually finding the animals.  I seriously must have looked at 10 stores for plastic animals.  Finding animals that were solid (not hollow) and reasonably priced was a challenge.  I finally found a pack of them at the dollar store.  They were a little more comical looking than I would have preferred  but I just went with it (like I had much choice!).

I took the little guys out to the garage and performed a little animal surgery.

Sawing through plastic animals is not an easy feat.  There was a lot of swearing and a few band-aids involved.  A veterinarian I am not.

Eventually I ended up with 3 heads and 3 tails.

I have no idea why the lion head is not in the picture above....it was probably the start of things going downhill and I didn't even know it.

Once I had the animal halves, I then used a sanding block to lightly buff the raw edge to remove the plastic shards.  Then I used hot glue to attach some little disc magnets.  So far, so good.

Cute, right?

Next up was painting these suckers.  Since they were for a little girl, I wanted them to be a fun colour (surprisingly enough, I didn't even care if they matched the kitchen).  I had some purple sparkly spray paint sitting in my craft cupboard that had been included in a $1 Michael's grab bag.  It was a sample size, so I figured it would be perfect.  It was a brand I didn't know, but I didn't stop to think too much about it.  

I laid out all of the animals and sprayed away.  An hour later the paint still wasn't dry.  Oh well, I figured it was some weird kind of spray paint and it would need overnight to dry.  After work the next day I checked on my animals and they still weren't dry.  Crap.  Clearly this was 100% grab bag junk.  

A few days later (when they still weren't dry), Fin and I took a trip to Home Depot to pick up some hot pink spray paint.  Rustoleum florescent pink.  I have used Rustoleum spray paint a hundred times and it always works.  When I got home I gave the very sad looking animals a fresh coat of hot pink.  Then it  all went horribly wrong.  In my head I thought that a fresh coat of paint would just cover up the wet purple paint.  Huh? Dumb.  When the hot pink paint started to crack, I knew this had just gone from bad to worse.  Then I made it WAY worse.  Since everything was still wet, I figured I would just try and wash the paint off and start from scratch.  The hot water didn't do much, so I pulled out my trusty magic eraser and gave that a go.  This is where you cue the gong.

It's like a badly sunburned elephant missing his bum.  So sad. Please note the pieces of magic eraser stuck to his ears.  Ya.....the horrible paint actually ate through the magic eraser. The worst part is that then I went to yoga that night and the pink/purple mixed spray paint that was stuck to my skin came off of my hands all over my yoga mat.  I still haven't even attempted to clean that.

3 animal heads and 3 animal tails took a little trip to Trashville.  (I used a steak knife to pry the magnets off first....super safe activity!)

Give up then?  Oh no!  A few days later I hoofed it back to the dollar store to pick up another pack of animals.  Once we got home Fin spotted the pack of animals and wanted to play with them.  I figured what the heck, she can't wreck them, so I opened the package and gave them to her.  That night I went on a hunt to find the new animals so that I could start surgery again.  I found the giraffe.  That's it.  No elephant.  No lion.  Seriously?  We tore the house apart and nothing. 

At that point I needed an animal break. 

Almost a week later, we went out for a little walk and lo and behold there were the missing animals - in Fin's Chariot stroller.  The places she manages to squirrel things away....

Ok, back on track.  This time I asked Mr. Swell to saw the animals for me (so that I could save on band-aids).  I resanded and attached the magnets again.  Then came the painting....again.

This time I went straight for the hot pink.  After 2 coats I had this....

What?  The coverage S.U.C.K.E.D.  Someone throw me a life-line here.  

I had already spent enough money on these suckers (2 packs of animals, magnets, hot pink spray paint), so I was not spending any more money on new paint.  Enter my trusty gold Valspar spray paint (as seen here and here).  The coverage on this spray paint is amazing.  I figured if anything was going to work, it would.

And guess what? It did.

Not hot pink like I had imagined, but good enough.  Fin would just have to deal with the gold (like she cared).

I put them all on the fridge and waited for Fin to wake up from her nap.  I was so excited for her to see them when she came downstairs.  

Here's the thing....they were still sort of sticky.  I had let them dry for 2 days after the gold, so I convinced myself that they weren't really sticky and it was just the feel of the plastic.  After moving them around a bit though, and then taking the pictures, I noticed that I had gold finger prints all over my camera.  Ya, they were bleeding gold.  I carried on.  I figured they'd stop bleeding after a while (dumb, dumb, dumb).

Fin spotted them as soon as she walked into the kitchen.  And instantly fell in love.  

We played with them for a good 5 minutes (that's a LONG time in her universe), and then she moved on to other things.  That's when I noticed that there were gold streaks all over the fridge.  Upon further inspection, she had gold on her face and all over her fingers.  I am sure I would not win mother of the year for allowing chopped up plastic animals to bleed gold spray paint all over my daughter.   

3 more heads and 3 more tails took a trip to Trashville.  Weeks of work (well, off and on for weeks) for 5 minutes of gold covered play.  

2 minutes later our fridge was back to this....

And she was just as happy.  


  1. Totally cute idea and I admire your tenacity! Perhaps it is something to do with the type of plastic?

    1. Thank you! I think it must have something to do with the plastic...cheap dollar store plastic probably :)

  2. They look so adorable, I think theyre totally cute, too bad they were still sticky.

    1. I know....maybe Ill try them again one day! I thought they were pretty cute too!

  3. Aw man! I hate when that happens. But hey, it cant always be right or work right? They were cute while they lasted! =]

  4. I would suggest trying some primer for plastics before you spray paint. They are just too darn cute not to try again.

    1. Yes maybe. The thing is...is that I have painted many plastic animals in my day just fine without. The ones I have done before though werent cheapy dollar store animals....so maybe thats the difference. Thanks for stopping by.


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