Shrink Plastic & Alcohol Inks

Technique Thursday is finally here!

Technique Thursday is a joint effort between Capture A Memory in Flint Township and myself. Each Thursday, I will share a new technique with you — along with instructions, tips and ideas. Then, from 2-6 p.m. I will be at the store with all of the supplies waiting to help you try it out for yourself — for free! I hope you stop by and try out this week’s technique: Shrink Plastic and Alcohol Inks.

I love to play with shrink plastic. Like the Shrinky Dinks we had when we were kids, shrink plastic is a thin plastic that comes in clear, black and white. It can be stamped, inked, painted, punched, colored, cut and more to create adorable pieces of jewelry, charms or accents for your card, scrapbook or altered art. Since there are so many options with shrink plastic, I’m going to take all four Thursdays in April to share techniques with you.

This week, we’ll be talking about using punches and dies to create a charm or accent piece. Then, we’ll use Adirondack Alcohol Ink to color them.

To start, cut out the image you desire. Here, I used a 1″ square punch and Mini Gears dies from Tim Holtz/Sizzix. Notice how thin the shrink plastic is … If you want to turn your design into a charm, be sure to cut a hole in it at this point … you won’t be able to after it shrinks. The Crop-A-Dile works well. Use the smaller punch for jewelry and the larger punch for hanging things with jump rings, twine or floss.

At this point, you have two options. You can heat it and then color it or color it and then heat it. The butterfly on the left was colored with Alcohol Ink after heating. The butterfly on the right was colored before heating using the exact same colors of ink. Notice how much more intense the color gets when it shrinks.

To shrink, set the plastic on your Nonstick Craft Sheet (this will help protect your table from the heat) and shrink it with a heat tool. You’ll need tweezers to help keep the image in place. It will curl as is shrinks and flatten back out when it is finished. Sometimes it’s helpful to flip the image over a few times as you heat it, too. Once it is done shrinking, turn off the heat and immediately place something on top of it to flatten it out completely. (I normally use an acrylic block, but I have been known to use a stamp pad or the back of a wooden stamp, too.)

Here is another before and after to show you … The image on the left is before heating. The one on the right is after heating. As the plastic shrinks, it thickens up, making a perfect plastic accent. You can also see how much the image shrinks and how intense the color gets.

These are some jewelry pieces I made. The squares are with a 1″ square punch. The charm is from the Tim Holtz/Sizzix Tiny Tabs & Tags die. For the circles, I punched a small circle first, then punched a 1″ circle around it. Then, I used the Crop-A-Dile to punch a 1/8″ hole in each piece. I then colored them with alcohol inks and heated them. The holes are tiny … too small for a jump ring, but perfect for a piece of wire. I strung them with some beads to make this quick bracelet:

Don’t you love the translucent colors created?!

One more tip: Alcohol inks will fade in the sun. To make sure these pieces last, you will want to spray them with a non-alcohol-based UV sealer before making your bracelet.

I also created this little card with a Studio 490 background stamp and word stamp and the Tattered Flowers die by Tim Holtz/Sizzix. These were white and I used Sunshine Yellow alcohol ink to color them. After shrinking, I adhered them to the card (Art Glitter’s Designer Dries Clear Adhesive and Glue Dots both work well for this) and then added some Stickles for an extra punch.

And this is what I did with the little gears, Tim Holtz paper and a KaiserCraft stamp.

So, are you ready to try shrink plastic? Stop by the store today from 2-6 p.m. to create your own little charm or accent.

Check back next Thursday for some more shrinking fun — we’ll use stamps and Copic Sketch markers to color and airbrush some designs. Just wait until you see how cute those stamped images are when they are shrunk!

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4 thoughts on “Shrink Plastic & Alcohol Inks

  1. Pingback: Stamping Shrink Plastic « candy scraps

  2. I have yet to play with shrink plastic – though it sits in my room! This has inspired me to give it a try! I would have never guessed the color would vary that much by putting it on first or putting it on last – thanks for showing that!

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