DIY Altered Dominos

I have been creating these altered dominoes for years. You can use them to make necklaces, barrettes, bookmarks, magnets, keychains, name tags, party favors...oh, the list goes on and on. They would make great parent or teammate gifts or even cute magnets to decorate your own classroom! Once you get started, you can make these pretty easily in big batches. If you are new to crafting, these might look a little daunting, but give it a whirl, it's easier than it looks!

Click on any of the pictures on the page to see them a little larger.

Items to Gather:

• Dominoes
• Sandpaper
• Stickers, Stamps, Rub-ons, or Sharpie markers to decorate dominoes
• Crystal lacquer glue (available at any craft store)
• E-6000 glue (optional)
• Latex glove


1.Use a sanding block or a piece of fine sandpaper and give the domino a quick smoothing. Just about 5 seconds is enough. It removes some shine and gives you a nice clean surface to work on. This is not an essential step, but it is especially important if you are stealing borrowing dominoes from your kids or the math center for this project. A little sanding and they're good as new! Just be sure to wipe off the dust with a dry towel. 

2.  I like to play around with the rub-ons and lay them over the domino to get an idea of what I want and where I want it. Then cut out the pieces from the sheet and place them on the domino without pressing down and arrange as desired. You can also use stickers, like the Valentine and little fishing boy ones above. You can also use a rubber stamp and ink or even just decorate with a Sharpie!

The rub-ons are usually meant for much larger surfaces, so you can cut right through the design to get it to fit wherever you want. 

Use a popsicle stick (or your fingernail) to transfer the rub-on to your domino. If tragedy strikes and something funky happens to your rub-on during the transfer, just sand off and start over. It takes some practice to learn how hard to rub on the transfer and every brand is a little different. 

3. We're almost done! Here comes the fun part. You will want a latex glove now. Again, trust me, friends. You do NOT want this glue on your digits. Be sure to carefully cover your work surface as well. I could get my husband to chime in here about all of the furniture I've ruined embellished with my artistic endeavors, but I don't think this is the place for such hash language.

I place the glove on my left hand so my right is free to hold the bottle carefully. Squeeze a healthy amount of glue over the surface of the domino and let it run off the domino onto the paper-covered work surface. It's a waste of glue, yes. But even still, that bottle will last you forever. You can move the process along by running over the domino with a sponge tip paintbrush. So, now I hold, drip and wait. Feel free to move the domino around the get the glue all over. Add more where you need it. It's pretty forgiving. You can tap the domino on your work surface to get the glue to cover. A little trial and error comes into play here too. Once it dries (at least 4 hrs.) the surface is self-healing and it will have a nice even, shiny coat. 

4. I like to set the wet domino on top of another one to dry just to avoid having it stick to the paper it's drying on. The next step is optional. I always like to add a little bling. These are cheapy rhinestone stickers. You can find packs of them for a dollar or two at the craft store. I started with the brown and purple flower, but it got really closely acquainted with my glove, so I had to go with my second choice. 
While the glue is wet, set the rhinestone in the desired position and that's it! It will become one with the domino once it dries.

While you're in the glue aisle, grab a tube of this:

5. This is wonder glue. It's messy and the tube is awful and the cap never stays on, but it's worth the trouble. After you use it for the first time, just forget the cap. Stick an opened paper clip in the end and lay it on an old coaster or something. It's gooooood stuff. It will hold a magnet on the back of the domino  like nobody's business. 

One of my favorite altered domino ideas is this one below for a picture holder. These would make a great parent gift with a picture of their child. Have fun!

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