Well, the old VCR has finally died and my old VHS tapes are basically worthless. So, I've got a bunch of tapes and jackets sitting around collecting dust. It was time that I found something useful to do with these wonderful images on the the jackets. I have previously published an instructable on making old book covers into coasters. I have figured out a way to do the same thing with VHS tape jackets, with slight modifications.
*NOTE: I've also done this with comic book covers, with the exact same process*
Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Materials
1) Old VHS tape jackets (more on this in the next step)
2) Scrap wood and clamps
3) Book covers (these could be saved from the back cover of making coasters from my earlier instructable here)
4) Tape - I use hockey stick tape or electrical tape. I've tried several types of tape for this, and these two do the best. I've been told that gaffers tape would be good and also book binding tape but I didn't have either on hand.
5) Elmer's ProBond Advance glue - about $6 at most hardware stores. I LOVE this stuff! It does have a bit of an ammonia smell, but it bonds tight and permanently. However, it doesn't bond too quickly so you have time to work. It also doesn't expand or discolor like other glues.
6) A craft knife, X-Acto knife, or even a very sharp utility knife
7) 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch sheets of cork. The thicker it is, the easier it is to work with. However, I feel that the thinner cork has a nicer finished look. I got mine at Michael's. I've also found that sometimes you can get small cork squares on sale and they work well too.
8) 3M spray adhesive - from Lowe's but this is easy to find
9) Spray Polyurethane - in this case I went with a satin finish - mine was MinWax and we've had it for a long time. You can probably get this at any hardware store.
Step 2: Step 2: Source Your Artwork
This is the hardest, but also most fun part of the project. Good places to find these are:
- In your house or those of your friends and relatives. There are probably lots of these laying around and people will be more than willing to part with them
- Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other thrift stores. You can pick lots of these up for around $0.25 a tape.
- Online - more expensive, but if you're going for certain titles you might have to do this.
The VHS era was over with the advent of the DVD around 1997 but VHS tapes still hung on until sometime in the early 2000's. So, your choice of movies will probably be limited to movies from the 1970's to late 1990's.
I haven't tried this with the plastic larger covers which often have a slip cover over the paper movie art. These are common with Disney VHS tapes. I'm sure the process will be identical to this one.
For this project I've chosen the original Star Wars trilogy movies. I've also done a set of movie coasters for my sister with a Chick Flick theme: Sleepless in Seattle, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Pretty Woman, and When Harry Met Sally.
Step 3: Step 3: Make Your Template
Using an old book cover that you don't want to use cut out a square (or whatever shape you're doing) as a template for your coaster. Use your X-Acto knife or utility knife and cut it in multiple passes. I used a metal T-Square to help me keep a straight line. I have stuck with the standard 4 inch x 4 inch template. This is also useful for determining what part of the jacket you want to use. Keep this for future coasters!
Step 4: Step 4: Cut Out Your Coasters and Backings
Using your template, cut out your coasters from the jacket covers. VHS tapes are almost exactly 4 inches across so this is is a pretty good size to use and get's most of the cover. You'll of course have to use a bit of your artistic ability to choose exactly which part of the jacket from top to bottom to select. These covers were from the Star Wars first trilogy and it was obvious what I should choose.
Cut your cover image slightly larger than the backing (maybe by 1/16 of an inch) this will be rectified in the next step.
Step 5: Step 5: Glue Your Cover to the Backing
Using the 3M adhesive, spray the cover liberally with the adhesive (be careful of over spray because this stuff is hard to clean up). Then place the cover on the backing. The adhesive isn't very strong right away, so you can move your cover around a bit until it's perfect. When it's placed where you want it, turn your coaster over and cut off any excess artwork.
(sorry, I don't have a picture of this step)
Step 6: Step 6: Bind Your Coaster
Cut a piece of hockey or electrical tape slightly longer than one side of your coaster. Carefully place it on one side of the coaster making sure it's got a nice straight line all the way across. Smooth it down tightly with your fingers then fold it around the back and smooth it again. Use your utility knife to cut off excess on each side. I've found that it's best to do top and bottom first, then both sides. I don't have a picture of this process from this actual project, but I have one from an earlier project that's identical so please forgive me for the different picture. Continue on all sides until complete.
Step 7: Step 7: Glue Your Cork to the Coaster
Using the ProBond Advance glue, spread a nice coat on the back of the coaster. Then place it on a piece of cork larger than the coaster. After this, place it between two pieces of scrap wood and clamp overnight.
Step 8: Step 8: Finishing
The next day, remove your coaster from the clamps and cut off excess cork using your utility knife or X-Acto knife. It is really important that your knife is very sharp. If it isn't put on a new blade. A dull blade has a tendency to rip the cork and you've ruined all your nice work. I also tend to angle the knife slightly toward the coaster and this gives the cork a nice look. If you happen to nick your tape and the book cover shows through, a black Sharpie or other indelible marker covers it nicely.
When all are cut out, spray with two to three coats of Polyurethane and let dry for a day or so before use.