Monday, June 2, 2008

Shrink Plastic Jewelry Tutorial, Part I

Crafty Blog of the Day: Oh So Crafty

Some great crafty ideas from a very cool crafter.
Be sure to check her out...especially the little birdies she
posted a few weeks ago. I so love them!
Be sure to tell her where you found out about her from, too.


Finally, I'm ready to do the shrink plastic tutorial I've been promising for ages. lol I'm sorry for the hold up but sometimes life gets in the way.

Anyway, from all the photos I've taken already, I've decided that this tutorial (and I'm new to doing these, so bear with me) will have to be a two post/two day kinda thing.

So, let's get started....

What you'll need for this project is a ruler, black Sharpie brand marker (ultra fine point), colored pencils (any brand is fine but Prisma Colors are the most vibrant), very fine sand paper, hole punch, X-acto knife, your creativity!

The brand of shrink plastic that I use (so far) is Shrinky Dinks. Yes, that very brand that we played with as kids. Isn't it funny the new uses we can find for things as we get older? Well, this is one that I've grown to love lately.

Shrinky Dinks (and the other brands that I've found online) come in different types...clear, white, black (?), inkjet (that you can put through your printer), and rough & ready (pre-sanded to save you the trouble). I've used them all except for the black and like them all, so the choice is up to you. For this project, even though pictured is the Shrinky Dink Ruff & Ready, I'm using the Shrinky Dink Clear for this project.

1. The first thing I do is cut a 1/2" x 10" strip from the long side of the shrink plastic, mark the inches on it and follow the directions on the package to bake/shrink it so that I can determine what size I need to cut things in order to achieve the size I'm looking for (the lighter is for size reference.)

As you can see, it does shrink tremendously but it also thickens up by about 9x it's original thickness, making it sturdy.

2. By using my real ruler and my shrink ruler, I can determine that to have a piece turn out 1/2" x 2 1/4", I need to work with a piece that begins at approximately 1 1/4" x 5 1/4". (I hope that makes sense.)

3. After cutting the piece of shrink plastic to the right size, I like rounded corners (you can leave them sharp but I've found they don't look as finished and they are hard to get sanded down well after baking), so I use a scrapbooking corner rounder to give me great rounded corners.

See how much better they look with the corners rounded?

4. If you are using the clear or white shrink plastic, here's where the sandpaper comes into play. In order for the plastic to accept the markers/colors that we're going to apply, we have to rough up the surface. (This step can be skipped if using Ruff & Ready or the inkjet kinds.)

I rough up both sides with a 240 grit sandpaper. It makes the plastic appear cloudy but that will clear up with baking, so fear not.

5. Now it's time to get your creativity to work and decide what you want to be on your piece. When deciding, remember, your design is going to shrink down by about 60% and colors will darken and intensify. A grainy black will come out dark black, and using colors like dark blues, dark purples and the like will also turn out very dark to almost black.

For this piece, I chose the word "Dream" so using my trusty printer and some fabulous fonts I've downloaded for free, I printed my word out in some of my favorites.

For this project, I decided on the font at the bottom. Looks cool, huh?

6. Here's where you can doodle, draw, write, or whatever your heart desires on your piece. This will be the front of the piece so do it in the black ultra-fine permenant marker (I use Sharpie but you may find better results with others...I just go with what I know.)

I use the printed "Dream" and trace over it with my Sharpie, coloring in the open parts of the lettering as I go along.

Sometimes I use my own handwriting, sometimes I draw stick people, flowers and trees, or just do loops and swirls or hearts and feel free to just let your imagination go wild. Draw that wonderful little doodle you came up with during the company meeting last'll look wonderful.

7. Now, turn your piece over to add color. I your addition of color TO THE BACK of the piece.

You can use colored pencils (as I stated in the "What you need section) or, as I did in this case, use markers (these are actually Sharpie brand highlighters since that gives me more transluscent colors)...just remember, the colors WILL darken significantly. I've done small pieces and used tons of different colors but because of the shrinkage, the whole thing turned out looking black. UGH!

But get wild. Have fun with your colors...just remember, have a light hand and make it lighter than you think it needs to be.

Now, I'm going to leave you guys hanging here for the night. Get your shrink plastic out and follow through the steps so far...we'll pick up in a day or so where we're leaving off here today. So get those pieces ready, it's almost time for shrinking!

Until then, be safe and happy crafting.

Peace & Love,


  1. oooh, love it so far!!! can't wait for more!

  2. You have a lovely blog I enjoyed reading your post and am looking forward to more.

  3. Nice post
    I like your Blog
    Success For You

    The Success

  4. I just passed up a new set of shrinky dinks at a garage sale. I knew I could use them for something but was at a loss for what! I love this. I think I'm going to do something with Maverick's handy work. Thinking...

  5. I wish I were as crafty as you! Well, I think it's more of a patience and don't-much-like tedious stuff. I even subscribe to Family Fun (is that the name?) and think all the crafts to do with children are so great, but execute with my kids. SIGH... well, I'll admire from afar and get my craft fix by visiting you here! :-)

    Thanks for commenting earlier about benefits of moms in other countries... it certainly does make you think!

  6. Hi, I like your blog very much.this is very nice post, How can you do that very easily. Great job and good luck for future.

  7. I've been wanting to play with this stuff for a while now! Can't wait to see the end result.

  8. Oh, P.S. I saw that you signed up for mylot... hope to see you around over there...

  9. Great tutorial...I am looking forward to part 2 it seems like so much fun. Thank you for stopping in and commenting.

  10. I used shrinky sheets for my daughter's b-day invitations...

    I had a bit of a learning curve with them, though. I was going o make key chains for Mother's Day, but ran out of time. Fun to see what you have done with it and get more ideas! Thanks!

  11. Question...where did you purchase your shrinky dinks?

    Great idea with the corner rounder, btw!

  12. Wow, I haven't done shrinky plastic since I was a kid! Looks fun.

  13. I am so freaking late to the party but yeah baby, I gotta show some love for this awesome tutorial.

  14. so pretty! and you make it look simple, i saw the finished project on etsy

  15. Anyone who is interested n making shrink jewelry and likes to recycle should know that #6 polystyrene is the same material that you are buying. It is the material that strawberry containers, deli lids etc are made from. If it has a #6 in the recycling symbol(triangle arrows)it will work. Happy crafting and recycling!

  16. Do you do Nia? If not, I think you would love it. It is full of JOY!
    I teach Nia in Saint Louis.

    I love your craft tutorials!
    Sue Wilhelm

  17. Love this tutorial! I'm missing your posts. Hope all is well, and you'll have a little time to post again.


Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. I am open to any comments, questions, suggestions, critiques, etc, so lay it on me...
Peace & Love,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...