Multi-Media With Mad-Science Products

Multi-media usually means inks, paints, fabric, fiber and encaustic in various combinations. I wanted to try some things that were mad-science incredible, or, in this case, inventable.

The website Inventables, is a place that sells interesting scientific equipment, like aluminum foam bricks. Six inches by 10 inches, half an inch thick, under $30 each.

Aluminum foam bricks–look spongry, but are metal bricks.

There are lots of fascinating “what can I use this for?” ideas, so I began to comb the site for unusual journaling material.  Here’s what I found:

Radiant light film. Looks like chrome film, reflects light like a butterfly’s wings. Comes with adhesive backing, so it can be a journal cover or journal pages. Sheet measures 12 inches by 28 inches and costs $17.50.

Radiant light film.

It can be die-cut, embossed, cut and printed. Use adhesive to attach it to a substrate. It’s used in car decorations and interior decoration, but I’m thinking it would make a great journal cover.

If you don’t like shiny, and want more dimensional effects, you an go for multi-directional, shape-retaining plastic sheets.  Already used for casts that are lighter than plaster and visors you can bend into any shape, I think it would make an amazing journal page that looks crumpled but holds its shape.

Shape-retaining plastic sheet.

You can cut it with plastic-cutting devices.  Approximately 10 inches x 10 inches for $20.

There are also light-defusing sheets that are translucent white that break up light from behind and distribute it evenly. No photo, they look just like sheets of paper. An 8.5 x 11 sheet is about $23, and I could see it being used in an open-frame journal standing in front of a light, or as a shade for a strong LED.

Self-illuminating ribbon in green

Journaling at night? Sew this self-illuminating ribbon onto the cover and you’ll find your journal, even in the dark. Comes in both blue and bright green. A piece thats 10 feet by 2.75 inches is about $90, but a foot (still 2.75 inches wide) is about $10.00

You “charge” it by exposing it to sun for about 10 minutes and it glows for 8 hours. It can be machine washed and sewn on.  I can see it layered over folios as stubs (short pages) or, even better, edged onto the outside edge of a page for a book that won’t get lost at night. I’d probably add it to dog collars, back packs, hiking or biking jackets, too.

Temperature-sensitive sheets would let you hide your journal writing till your hands warmed up the page. Would also make a great postcard with a secret message. Made from a more sophisticated

Change the color of your journal page with your warm hands.

materials than mood rings, these  6″ x 6″ sheets would be a wonderful surprise in cards or as journal pages. About $28 each.

Make a slipcase for your journal or CDs and DVDs or even use these paper-thin sheets of wood veneer as journal pages. an 8″ x 12″page is about $5.00 and has interesting possibilities, from wood burning to painting to leaving it the way it is.

You can also find fabric that is woven from cotton and steel, which can be washed and dried like regular fabric. There is a silicone rubber that looks like glass and crumbles like glass, and makes great faux-ice and cracked glass. $44 for about four pounds.

Real copper fabric for garments.

Make your next project (quilt? journal?) out of copper fabric that won’t tarnish. You can cut it and sew it and expect it to get warm when the sun shines on it–it’s a great conductor of heat. It’s real copper, after all. One yard, 42.5 inches wide, is $32.85.

There is much more on this website to encourage you to experiment, putting “multi” back in multi-media in the best of all ways.  What I admire about this site, and encourage more websites to do, is that it puts the price right on the index page of photos. Each page has several items, or variations of items and each item has a photograph, a short description and a price. You click for details. No deceiving words, like “investment” and “wait, there’s more!”–just honest copy and a price.

Disclosure:  Inventables are not paying me in any way to mention them. I have just ordered some of the copper fabric, glow-in-the-dark ribbon and tape, and wood-veneer flexible sheeting.  Prices will vary over time, and products come and go.

–Quinn McDonald is a secret science geek, has always loved the combining of science and art, and is writing a book on conversations with the inner critic.


3 thoughts on “Multi-Media With Mad-Science Products

  1. You’ve never ordered any of this stuff!?! (shaking head) This is as good as Edmund Scientific used to be! Weirdstuff is another fun site, although exclusively computer-related. They used to have a warehouse in Sunnyvale, CA that was open to the public. If you’re in the east, The MIT flea market is held the third Sunday of every month except in the winter.

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