diy · jewellery · shrink plastic

Experimenting with shrink plastic

So this shrink plastic obsession started last weekend when i spotted some adorable plastic charm necklaces in a shop. I didn’t want to shell out $20 at the time and couldn’t help but wondering if I could create something similar on my own. When I got home, I did some research and re-discovered shrink plastic! How amazing is this stuff? Then some vague childhood memories started coming back to me of making a shrink plastic rainbow. I think it might have been from a kit that I received as a christmas gift. I was probably 10.

So the hunt for shrink plastic began! And what a bit of a mission that is here in NZ. I have no recollection of ever spotting it in the craft stores in my city either. All the online NZ stores that I could find were out of stock! I ended up ordering some polyshrink and a huge rainbow pack of permanent markers from amazon.

Of course I’m incapable of waiting for my order to arrive. I was just so keen to start shrinking plastic! In my research travels I read that you can use #6 plastic from food packaging as an alternative (recycling, yay)! I ended up scouring my fridge and pantry. #6 plastic is actually pretty hard to come by! All I had was an old Movenpick ice-cream container I was using to store breadcrumbs and some expired dip… at least it gave me a reason to clean it out… but ew!

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So I set about cutting up the plastic and drawing on it with a black permanent marker._DSC2690_DSC2696

I cut them out with scissors and used a standard hole punch to create a hole (just in case I wanted to hang it on a chain later on) before baking it in the oven at 180 degrees celsius (350 degrees fahrenheit). The hole was still bigger than I would have liked after shrinking so I will definitely be buying a smaller one.

I was a bit paranoid about putting plastic  in the oven (scenarios in my head of explosions, electrical fires and singed eyebrows). Thankfully all went well! My drawings shrank to about half their original size but did warp a little bit. I think this might have been caused by the curvature of my plastic and grain that I cut against. I noticed that shapes cut from varying angles of the plastic warped slightly differently. It was a bit disappointing but hey! It’s just a bit of fun experimentation. I just hope that using proper shrink plastic has a better result.


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Some of my final shrink charms! I can’t wait until my amazon order arrives and I can start experimenting with more shapes and colours and start making some cute jewellery.

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