How to Use Shrink Plastic in Jewelry Making

SKU VID-0478
Designer: Megan Milliken
In this video, you will get an overview of common techniques for coloring, cutting, and finishing shrink plastic for jewelry making.
Audio Transcript
Note: This audio transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate.
Hi this is Megan with and and going to show you how to use Shrink Plastic in Jewelry Making the Shrink Plastic that we are carrying is by Inkssentials this is from Ranger and it looks like this in your package, clearly I've used this package. Yours won't look like this you're going to get five sheets of clear Shrink Plastic there are several different types of Shrink Plastic, this is type we're carrying right now so all of what I'm gonna tell you is going to refer to this type of shrink plastic because there are also some frosted ones and different versions so I'm going to kind of just do it overview of some of the ways that you can use clear Shrink Plastic I'll show you a couple of projects that I've made I made this pendant and this pendant actually been designed on two sides I used colored pencils on the back side and rubber stamped on the front side it can give you kind of a dimensional look if you do both sides of the Shrink Plastic like that then I have these fun little earrings and these are with permanent marker on so you can kind of do whatever you want with shrink plastic it's kind of only limited by your imagination I'm not going to do one specific project I'm just going to kind of give you an overview of different techniques that you can use on the shrink plastic so one of the main things is going to be what you used to color your shrink plastic which is what you use to make your design you can on regular shrink plastic, if it hasn't had anything done to it you can use permanent makers you can use different colors of permanent markers, I'm going to put this white paper down so you can see better on the white background and the permanent marker as you go across well give you a little little bit of a texture but it won't show up all that much the one thing to keep in mind I guess two things, there's two things to keep in mind when you're designing your colors and shapes and layouts for shrink plastic is that one, your design is gonna shrink, it's going to end up being anywhere from one-third to one-half the size and the other thing is that your colors are going to get darker and more saturated so I can give you an example of both of those things with this leftover piece here on this left over piece here you can see these heart shapes are the heart shaped that I used for these earrings so you can see that the color got dark and intense and how much smaller they are also you are going to need to plan accordingly, you need to make your piece much larger and also you wanna use a lighter shade, it's gonna get a lot more intense, the colors one thing you can do is use just a little piece of shrink plastic and bake it and make a swatch, a sample so you can see what the color and size is going to do Another thing about when it shrinks is that you're going to want to make sure that your placing your designs straight along the grain of the plastic they've basically taken plastic and stretched it two ways and then when you heat it up it condenses back into its original size so you don't want to cut a square crooked because then it's not going to remain nice and square when it bakes so you want to go ahead and use the straight edge of the plastic and make sure your shapes are straight on the grain of the plastic when you're planning that out and also if you're gonna have shapes where you have more than one and you want them to be uniform you'll line them up all the same way all facing up and down the same way going back to different ways you can color like I said you can use permanent marker you can also use a permanent ink pad and we carry several colors of the StazOn ink in this project here I've just taken the StazOn ink on an ink pad and just made different little stampings and kinda made a little random pattern and again you can see I used this intense purple color but by the time I baked it's almost black again it's gonna get darker and the fun thing with the rubber stamping is it almost gets a little bit of a raised texture to it if you're gonna go for that look you can actually also use acrylic paint and that will give a kind of raised up bubbled surface so that can be a fun way to go if you want a really intense opaque color one of the other more common ways to color shrink plastic is with colored pencils you're actually going to need to rough up the shrink plastic you'll use a fine grit sand paper and along the grain of the shrink plastic you're just going to sand side to side and then you're going to go completely perpendicular to what you just did, go up and down so you're going to do a cross hatch pattern like that and the end result should be a frosted kind of a look to your shrink plastic and then you can just take regular colored pencils with that texture on there they will now stick to the shrink plastic and you're gonna wanna wipe away any little bits of the colored pencil lead otherwise you won't have a nice smooth even surface and again don't forget these colors are going to intensify a lot when you bake the plastic they're a good way to color because you'll get a nice soft color and then it will get brighter when it bakes so as far as the designs that you do if you want to do designs with rubber stamp that's really easy, also the great thing about the clear plastic is that you can trace show you can take the plastic and put it right down over some kind of design that you wanna trace. I took my initial m and I just on a word processing program made it really and printed it out and now I could go in and just trace that and color it in you're going to wanna make it nice and big because it's going to get a lot smaller you can go and just use the transparency as a tool and just color that in and again you can also do layering so you can take colored pencil or permanent marker background on one side or and then you could use rubber stamp or a different marker on the front side and it will give you an interesting kind of three-dimensional layered look, now to cut out your design there are several ways that you can cut shrink plastic you can of course use craft scissors you can also use a craft knife like an exacto blade if you're going to be cutting out designs from the middle that's a good way to do it another really handy thing is that you can actually use paper punches so with these earrings, the cute little hearts I just used a heart shaped paper punch that we carry on We also have some squares and circles the important thing is to make sure you have a large enough punch because they do shrink down so much. So if you're going to do something small like this you can definitely use this size punch if you want to do something larger like this pendant here. I actually just measured a square out of the corner with a ruler and my square I'm not kidding it was about that big just like I said you can do a swatch you see how the size are going to change, it is about a half to a third the size of the original so you can also get really big jumbo punches the other handy part about using punches is that you can get a one-eighth up to one quarter-inch round hole punch and use that for making the holes for hanging your piece, so I've used that here to make the hole for my jump ring and that's I have an eight-inch punch and it's just about perfect for fitting a standard jump ring so once you have your piece ready to go and cut out there are instructions on the back of the shrink plastic for baking I just wanna give one note is that I have a dedicated toaster oven they use for polymer clay and shrink plastic you can use this they tell you you can use this in your regular oven if you're going to use a lot though it's best to get a dedicated oven for it like just a toaster oven and it doesn't need to be anything fancy, doesn't need to be a convection just the most basic toaster oven works really well and you're gonna put it in the oven between three hundred and three hundred and fifty degrees and they just tell you for several minutes and what's gonna happen when you take your piece of shrink plastic and you put it in the oven first of all I highly recommend putting in on piece parchment or a silicone baking mat or something like that you're going want to use something that you're not good use for food but you want it to be on a non-stick surface and you put in piece of shrink plastic made to go on your parchment paper into the toaster oven or oven and then you're gonna wanna watch it as it bakes because it's going to curl up into itself and then flatten back down and as it flattens back down you'll notice that it got a lot thicker and a lot smaller and basically you wanna watch it get all the way curled up and all the way flat again and once it's all the way flat again then you're ready to take it out of the oven so don't be scared if it curls up, it almost always flattens out if you're doing a particularly long or large piece it might get kind of stuck and all you want to do is very carefully pull it out of the oven and kind of help it apart and be super carefully you're not doing anything like that when it's hot but you can also lay a piece of parchment paper on top it will it from sticking to itself when it curls up, you just need to be able to see what's going on, so that you can see when flattens back out usually only takes a few minutes for the whole process also said now that you have your pieces of shrunk plastic out of the oven you can see on both of these that they're shiny and they don't necessarily come out both sides shiny it depends on how you treated it when you did the coloring you can see this one is matte on the back and that's because sanded the back to use the colored pencil on it the front side if u left it alone will most likely still be shiny as you can see on these earrings I have both sides all I did to this was I used diamond glaze one side at a time and made sure I tried not to get it in that hole and I just put it on a thin coat and let it dry flipped over and put it on the other side on this piece before I coated it I'd just sanded the edges gently and I just took the piece and you can see the little they almost look like pencil lines that's just for me running the edge along the sand paper because I cut out a straight square with sharp corners and I didn't want it to be too sharp so all I did was sand the edges down and if you have sharp corners it's a good idea to go ahead and sand them just gently with fine grit sandpaper and I also put diamond glaze on the top of this one to give it a shiny front you can also put resin on the top if you want a really nice high gloss dome surface that'll make your piece look really pretty and finished you could also use a spray sealant on there you're gonna wanna seal it with something for the most part just to keep your your color and whatever you used for the design a little bit more permanent and it's important also to note that you really don't want to get these wet even after you do seal them so don't wear them in the shower or the swimming pool but as long as you seal them up they should be relatively vast and they're pretty durable too, it gets really thick so you can do a lot of other techniques such as bending the plastic right when it comes out of the toaster oven. You do need to be really careful with that because it is hot, that's a little bit more of an advanced technique and for now I'm giving you basic an overview but you can see that the possibilities are kind of endless there's also many other things that I'm not including here so don't feel like you can't experiment and try new things or if you see something different somewhere else you can definitely do this other ways I'm giving you some of the the most common techniques used and that is an overview of shrink plastic in jewelry making. Go to to purchase beading supplies and to get design ideas!

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