It’s a shrinking world…

I’m much intrigued by shrinky plastic. If you’re not familiar with it, it comes in A4-sized sheets the thickness of thin card. When you apply heat (e.g. from a heat gun or in the oven) it shrinks to 45% of its size and increases in width to about 3mm thick so you end up with a rigid piece of plastic.

I’ve got a mixed pack that contains transparent, translucent, white and black shrinky plastic. You can also by sheets designed to go through your printer.  You can apply designs and coatings to it before or after you shrink it. Obviously if it’s before, you end up with cute little shrunken images.

Various experiments, this image is to scale. These were all done using rubber stamps on white or translucent plastic

I’m mostly interested in its application in jewellery making. Effectively it allows you to be able to make elements like little charms and shapes that look like acrylic but without having to use any complicated equipment. I can also use it to make pieces to use on handmade cards and it makes cute little gift tags.

Plain shapes could be quite effective.

I’ve experimented a little bit and so far I’ve been encountering two main problems.

Firstly, that stuff really shrinks! It always shrinks much more than I’m expecting and I end up with really small bits. I need to remember to make them much bigger to start with and maybe do some reference sketches (before and after scale drawings!)

Second, I’ve not had complete success with the permanence of the designs I apply before shrinking. Permanent markers (I use Sharpies) work fine and the image is fixed after shrinking. You’re also supposed to be able to use chalk pastels and these have mostly worked. The colours do rub off a bit after shrinking but enough pigment remains and this then needs to be fixed with varnish.

The two on either side used pastels. I think the leaf is quite effective and could make a nice charm. It's shiny because the pastel is on the reverse. In the centre is a gift tag, stamped with permanent ink and coloured in with Sharpies

Permanent stamping inks work, but the non-permanent ones mostly rub off, which is a pain as I have recently acquired a lot of nice new colours in these and only have black in permanent.

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One thought on “It’s a shrinking world…

  1. Pingback: Shrinky adventures, parts 2 and 3 « On Diversion

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