Shrunken head

… a self-portrait on shrink plastic

self-portrait in pencil crayon on shrink plastic before shrinking

self-portrait in pencil crayon on shrink plastic before shrinking

When starting to work with shrink plastic I read that if I wanted to use coloured pencil, that it would be a good idea to lightly sand the surface before starting. I had NO idea what I wanted to draw, so while looking around my craft room my gaze landed on a self-portrait I had recently painted, and I decided to give that a whirl – mostly to try out the technique more than anything else.

I sanded down the plastic, and then sketched out the portrait pretty loosely (having thought that the colours would intensify, but also thinking that details would be lost) with two shades of blue, white, and a tiny bit of pink pencil crayon.

I ended up using a full sheet of plastic, since I couldn’t really figure out where to cut it… again – this was just to try out the technique.

When the end result came out of the oven, I figured I’d also test out bending the plastic around a form… and bent it around a can sitting on the counter – so it sort of is a portrait that stands by itself!

Some of the other projects I've worked on recently

The portrait after baking along with other projects I worked on at the same time.

While the colours intensified a great deal (I actually am a bit disappointed how much the pink came through) I thought that the detail of the shading marks would blend together – and they didn’t… I don’t really love how I can see every pencil line.. though it’s definitely a different kind of self-portrait!

A new material (to me!): Shrink Plastic!

Some of the shrink plastic projects I've made recently...

Some of the shrink plastic projects before shrinking

A few years ago I was admiring the broach a co-worker was wearing, and she shared that she had made it herself – with shrink plastic! Even as a kid I don’t remember playing with ‘shrinky-dinks’ though I remember them… but it got me thinking. Of course, all of the cool shrink plastic projects on Pinterest and finished items for sale on Etsy didn’t hurt…

I wanted to try it too!

Unfortunately, I had a REALLY hard time finding shrink plastic that wasn’t pre-printed with  kid-centric designs. I tried the #6 plastic option instead (and still have a drawer full of take-out containers!) but the pieces just weren’t large enough for some of the things I had in mind. (Considering shrink plastic shrinks down to about half to 1/3 the size of the original.)

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Copper and blue beaded Trichinopoly chain

Beaded blue and copper trichinopoly (Viking Knit) chain, after going through my draw plate

Beaded blue and copper trichinopoly (Viking Knit) chain, after going through my draw plate

I completely love my latest Trichinopoly (Viking Knit) project. After making the silver-plated copper chain with garnets, I decided to try the technique with seed beads as well. It’s a five-row chain done in 28 gauge copper (the thinnest I’ve used so far) with a silver-lined blue glass seed bead every 3rd “stitch” – the result is much less bead-dense than the silver/garnet chain and the result is super light, delicate-looking, and pretty.

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1480s Florence – my costume jewellery

Finished necklace for my 1480s Florence costume.

Finished necklace for my 1480s Florence costume.

In an earlier post I shared some of my research thus far on jewellery for my 1480s Florence costume, and here I’ll show off some of the things I made to go with the outfit.


The first necklace (above) is frankly, the one I’m most pleased with. I think it LOOKS reasonably appropriate, it took a lot of work, and I think it turned out pretty well, so hurray for me!

This one is a “gold” setting with a black “stone” with minimal faceting (there’s a bit, but it’s pretty minimal, which from my reading is appropriate It’s strung on a faux pearl and (real) coral bead necklace with a toggle fastener (the same toggles I used to lace my dress, minus the bar) and there are three teardrop-shaped pearls hanging from the pendant.

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Enchantment Under the Sea – Hat

The cocktail hat or fascinator for my "Enchantment Under the Sea" costume.

The cocktail hat or fascinator for my “Enchantment Under the Sea” costume.

You’re never fully dressed without a … hat!

I looked at hats from the 1950s and saw they were as diverse as hats today (albeit probably more commonly worn than today..) I opted for a small fascinator/cocktail hat, since it was a “prom” dress costume after all. (Other common options were wide-brimmed hats which seemed less workable). I wanted the hat to look like a nautilus shell curled up, accented with things like starfish, netting, etc.. Continue reading