Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rediscovering Shrink Plastic

by Donna D.
Stamps: DoodleFactory Sweets N Hearts, Sun Spirit Studios Sentiment

When I made this card, I used shrink plastic for the first time since I was a kid. I had forgotten just how magical the stuff is, and when Tracey suggested that I do a short tutorial showing how I made my buttons, it occurred to me that there probably were others out there with a pack of forgotten shrink plastic shoved in the bottom of a drawer. So I grabbed my camera and made my first tutorial!

Shrink Plastic Buttons Tutorial

by Donna D.
Stamps: DoodleFactory Country, Mini Circle Background

When I made this card, I wanted an Easter egg, but I didn't have my DoodleFactory Easter set yet. So I fashioned one out of shrink plastic.

The first thing you'll need, of course, is shrink plastic. I used the Shrinky Dinks Ruff n' Ready, which is already sanded. You can also use smooth plastic, but you'll need to sand one side so that your coloring will stick.

I decided that I wanted to make a polka dotted egg, so I stamped my Mini Circles background stamp onto the rough side of the plastic with some Blazing Red Stazon ink. There are probably other inks you can use, but I know for sure that Stazon works.

Still working on the rough side, I colored my polka dots with Prismacolor pencils. Don't worry too much about getting the color perfectly even--it will fill in when you shrink your button.

Next, I cut out my egg shape. You have several options for this step.

1. The plastic cuts easily with scissors, so you can do what I did for my egg: trace a shape and simply cut it out.
2. You can cut the plastic with a die cutting machine like I did for the three buttons on my cupcake card (I used a Cuttlebug).
3. Or, you can simply stamp an image, color it, and cut around the outer edge like I did for my large cupcake.

If you want your button to have holes, now is the time to punch them out. Remember, they will shrink along with your image so cut them fairly large. I used 3/32" holes on mine, but 1/8" would also work well.

Now it's time for the magic! You can shrink your button with a heat gun, in a toaster oven, or in your big oven. If you're using a heat gun, you'll need something heat resistant to hold your piece down while you shrink it. Place the piece pencil side down on your heat resistant surface (mine is a piece of Masonite) and heat the piece until it stops shrinking and flattens out. It's going to curl quite a bit during the process, and this is normal.

You can also shrink your piece in an oven, which is what I did with the cupcakes. I made several buttons at once, so the toaster oven was definitely quicker and easier. My best advice if you plan to use an oven is to follow the instructions that come with your shrink plastic.

That's all there is to get out there and shrink something!


Dawn Mercedes said...

I didn't know that you could use a heat gun to shrink it! wow..your cards are awesome...and thanks for the tips.

Just need to come some shrinky dink for myself!

Muffin said...

This is really inspiring, I want to go home from work and shrink something..:)
I love this card!

Tracey said...

Great tutorial! I know I am inspired to break out my shrinky dinks!

SmilynStef said...

So cute ... this makes me want to go find my shrink plastic ... now where did I put it???