Our downstairs bathroom happens to be science themed–The Nerd Nest isn’t just a blog name. It’s also a pretty accurate description of our house. I had an idea awhile back to use periodic table tiles to spell out a little bathroom humor, but I wasn’t sure how I should work it into the teeny tiny room. Curtains? Tiny art? I couldn’t land on a good plan. Then we had a few complaints from guests that there were no mirrors in the bathroom. Light bulb! When we were in Denver in January, we found the perfect cheap 12×12 mirrors at IKEA, so this week I made it happen.
We enjoy a good poop joke, but if you want something a little less juvenile, you can use the periodic table for monograms or a whole bunch of words and phrases (some of which are vulgar, fair warning).
- square mirrors
- black vinyl
- transfer paper or washi tape
- digital cutter (I used my first gen Silhouette, but anything that’ll cut letters will work. You can also do the make a stencil by cutting out letters printed with a regular printer trick, but that will take approximately forever.)
I used the Silhouette’s software to cut out the elements’ symbol, atomic mass, atomic number, and name in Helvetica. Even though my cutter only cuts 8.5×11, I laid out the design of the tiles on a 12×12 background first to get an idea on sizing. I kept the largest words in mind when choosing a font size, then ran with that font size across the board. (I also ended up cutting the atomic mass numbers twice because I wasn’t happy with the original size.)
I removed the vinyl background carefully and removed the counters, or the negative space enclosed in the middle of some letters, with tweezers.
Now for the tricky part. Vinyl is not very fun to transfer. It folds back on itself, tears easily, and if you don’t lay it down just right, you’ll end up with air bubbles. It’s also hard to maintain complex shapes. The easy solution to this problem is transfer paper, which is like a big clear sticker you use to pick up the vinyl and lay it down on your project. You can then lift the transfer off and voila! Simple. I forgot I was out of transfer paper when I started the project, but decided to soldier on anyway. I had to rough it with the big letters (and there are some imperfections as a result), but I learned that washi tape works just as well for the small letters. Yes! I used a ruler to center the words and keep everything nice and straight. Quilting rulers are rad for these sorts of jobs.
Next came the hanging! I also used a quilting ruler to center these on the wall. The mirrors came with sticky wall mounts, so that was easy.
It is really hard to photograph anything in this room, but here’s an idea of how the mirrors fit into our science bathroom:
I hope you enjoyed our nerdy bathroom humor! If you make your own periodic table mirrors, make sure to share the results with us!
Periodic Table Cells by Science Notes and Projects.
This year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects; an average of 1 a week. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 5 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1 : Script Art, 2: Striped Scarf, 3: Pillow Covers, and 4: Eliza’s Doctor Who Valentines.