Shrink plastic

I can’t remember where I first saw the idea – online somewhere of course – but I came upon instructions on how to make home-made ShrinkyDinks.  A colleague of mine used to make  the cutest pins and things from ShrinkyDinks, so I was keen to try them myself.  Unfortunately the only ShinkyDinks I could find locally were pre-printed sheets, and kits with keyrings, pencil crayons, and other craft bits that I didn’t really need along with only a few sheets – for what I thought was a bit too expensive.

So… until I can find real ShrinkyDinks locally for a reasonable price (or get the urge to purchase online) I’ll be using the home-made version…

Possibly the best instructions that I found were by Chrisjob on Curbly – his/her instructions include using clean #6 plastic (salad bar containers for instance), permanent markers, aluminum foil, scissors, and a 350°F oven for 3.5 minutes.

First attempt

The shrunk plastic item inside the hole it was cut from – you can see how much it shrunk. (The smaller item was coloured additionally though..)

My first attempt was using a rubber stamp with gold/red permanent ink pad, wavy scissors, a hole punch, and a plastic container that once held mini pita bread rounds.  At the same time I also used the bottom of a blue take-out sushi container, the whole punch, scissors, a blue Sharpie and a black Sharpie.

I was shocked to see how TINY the stamped images shrunk down to! The original stamped image is 6cm wide, and the shrunk version is 1.6cm wide.  It’s adorable! The colour intensified slightly too.

The other version also got a LOT darker – actually too dark for what I wanted, so I’m going to re-do that one…

Some inspiration

  • I love the skeletal bat example on Craftster!
  • Really cute trees made into earrings, also from Craftster.
  • Really awesome skull and roses along with a bunch of other groovy necklaces.
  • Super-awesome hair accessory curved while the plastic is still warm and shapeable.
  • How amazing are these beautiful jellyfish? I’m not sure how they got the ring smooth without a join though…
  • On PunkRockPaperScissors, the author has a great tutorial on how to make shrink plastic items that look like fused glass. These are really pretty, and I’d love to try something like this!
  • On MyDeathSpace there’s a really cool shrink plastic item that has a LOTR map on it. This would be super-cool to try too…
  • Another craftsperson added Dimensional Magic to the front of her pendant to get a different, glossy look.  It reminds me a bit of ceramic! She used a stencil from Stencil 1 – some really pretty graphics here.

Wish List

  • A plastic octopus to add onto a necklace
  • Gears/cogs for steampunk hat decorations
  • Nicer holiday gift tags?

Second attempt

Here you can see how dark the blue plastic goes when shrunk, and how the blue sharpie changes to much more green in colour

Well I took that blue take-out sushi container and didn’t colour it at all this time – the blue goes super dark when I shrunk it.  It goes from a pale almost grey-blue to a bright, dark royal blue, and becomes way more opaque as well – much less transparent. I ended up making a few name tags for holiday gifts – they aren’t really anything special unfortunately. Boo. I sanded the blue tags a little and was suprized to see that the blue colour came off the back of the plastic (the part that doesn’t touch your food) which is strange, and a wee bit disturbing.  I decided it was an artistic choice and didn’t want to re-make it yet again, so I just put some glossy varnish on the tags and called it a day…

I also tried making an ankh for my upcoming Masquarade Ball costume (spoilers!) but I couldn’t get a large enough flat surface area, and hoped that the material would shrink flat… it didn’t. I squashed it with a silicone oven-mit thing.. but it was still pretty warped.  That one got tossed in the garbage. 😦

I also tried making one of the ‘fused glass’ shrinkies from the inspiration above, but unfortunately the two materials never fused. I didn’t have the temperature up as high as the tutorial suggested, so I’ll try that one again when I get some more plastic to play with.  What I did find neat is that the teal blue Sharpie pen ‘shrinks’ down much more green than the original, and the magenta Sharpie goes almost black. Wacky!

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