Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poppin my Collar... It's Pet ID Week

Since it's Pet ID Week, I was trying to think of something high tech I could do to pimp out the dogs.  Griswold came to us microchipped, and we had Coop microchipped just to give me peace of mind.  Hopefully we will never have to worry about using it!  I'm pretty obsessed with QR codes.  I'll scan things just because I'm curious (placemats at Denny's?  Yeah. So did that).  I included them on our "Save the Dates" last year, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that tried it.  QR Codes don't just have to direct you to a website, you could have them send a tweet, phone call, text, or even have your dog hold the access to your WiFi.  I would love to see our friends chasing Coop around trying to scan a tag that allows them to connect to our WiFi.  Everything has a price...  I digress.

I thought it would be fun to make some Shrinky Dinks tags with QR codes.  Go ahead.  Scan this one.

And here's Coop's.

Fun right?!  I use Qrafter for the iPhone to scan, and their website to make codes.  Super-easy.  The two above were made using free form text.

Now, if you're really fancy and want to wow people with your nerdy genius, check out the app Aurasma.  I suspect that this is where things will be going in the future.  It blew my mind the first time I used it!  I knew I had to get in on the developing action.  Here's how you see the magic happen.  Download the app.  You have to add my channel (search gris and coop and then hit "follow") in order to access my "augmented realities."  That's the only thing that's a little annoying.  You can't just hold your phone up to anything for it to automatically work (like a QR code) unless you're a company that has a campaign approved by Aurasma.  I guess that makes sense, because people would be adding everything and it would mess up the system.  Got me added?  Okay.  Prepare for craziness to ensue.  Open the app and scan the image below.
What?!  Are you kidding me?  I'm drooling at the possibilities of this app.  That was just my first attempt to try this out.  I really plan to fully explore the potential of what this system has to offer.  Once I have time (ha) I plan to "hide" some "Easter eggs" around this site :)  Totally nerding out.  A tip -- Your trigger image (mine above) has to have a lot of detail.  I originally wanted to have the outline of the boys' heads, but there wasn't enough for the algorithm to latch on to.  Also, if you double-tap the video it will change to full screen.  It was shot on my iPhone, so it's not the best quality.  Screenshot sneaky peek below.

I would definitely encourage you to check it out and play around with it.  Do it.  Scan your remote as a trigger (Yeah.  Did that one too).

Back to Shrinky Dinks.  I bought an inkjet pack at Michael's about a kajillion years ago for, I think, around $10.  You get 6 sheets in each pack.  I think it was around the scrapbooking section.  I opened up Photoshop and gave myself a canvas of 8x10 (that's how big the Shrinky Dinks paper is).  Shrinky Dinks shrink to about a third their size.  The easiest thing to do in order to calculate how big you should make your initial design is to think about how small you want your end design to be.  I wanted mine to be around 1 inch.  Take 1 inch divided by .33 and my beginning size should be about 3 inches.  Ugh.  Math.  If you're wondering how to size each appropriately, you have two options.   The easiest one would be to open up your design/a new document window in Photoshop and resize accordingly, copy>paste into your 8x10 document.  Just make sure you are using the same resolution.  Or go to the top Window>Info.  Then free transform your object until you see the proportions you want next to the W and H.

Here's what I ended up with.  Don't forget to set your opacity to 50%.

First round was a fail for the QR codes because for some reason, my printer cut the edges of them off.  I'm sure I probably still had it at 8.5 x 11 paper size.  Coop's still scanned, but because there was so much text on Griswold's it wouldn't work.  It's okay though, because after they shrank, I realized they were too big anyway.
Shrinky Dinks Magic!

So round 2 with the QR codes.  This time they came out exactly how I wanted them to.  I set them at 1.5 inches instead.  Before I put them in the oven, I sanded the edges with a nail file.  It helps to smooth out any of my jacked-up cutting.  I also used a standard hole punch.  Shrink.  After I took them out of the oven, I placed a heavy book on them while they're cooling.  This flattened them out.  Sprayed with some sealant.  I thought the stuff I had was clear, but it was probably so old that it turned yellow.  So mine have a yellow tint to them.  Oh well.  After they dried, I wanted a little more dimension, so I added a coat of Glossy Accents (probably in the rubber stamps aisle).  IMPORTANT (i.e. I made this mistake) You HAVE to spray a clear coat on your charms BEFORE you add the glossy accents.  Otherwise, your ink will bleed.  That said, here's how everything turned out:

Make a QR Code Dog Charm -

You can see in the upper left corner that the charm bled because I didn't seal it first.  But second time around the QR codes scanned (had to use the flashlight button to scan Gris's because of all the pixels).  AAAAND Aurasma recognized the charm too!  So fun!

If you do decide to use Glossy Accents, I would let it cure for a few days just to be safe.  I know I'm super-impatient when it comes to things like that and I end up ruining all my work.
QR Dog Charm
I am so cool with my robot tag
QR Dog Charm
You know what will happen if you try to scan this
And of course I had to make myself a little something special too :)  Those are their paw prints.
Proud doggy freak mama

Paw Print Necklace
That little heart makes me giddy
Here's a few doodles that I did, so if you're into it, here's a PDF file ready for you to add text.  When you open up Adobe Reader, just click on the "Sign" option and you should be able to add text in whatever font you have on your computer and size it to fit. Also, don't forget to used a washed out color since it will intensify as it shrinks.  You can use colored pencils to color them in. The charms below will be black when shrunk. Each should shrink to about an inch and a half.  If something doesn't work, please email me.  The boys and I would love it 4E if you posted your finished product if you do end up using these :)

Shrinky Dinks Dog Charms
Click the pictures to open PDF

Note:  This little project isn't intended to take the place of your pet's ID.  This is just a little added charm that I thought would be a fun novelty.

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