Introduction: Upcycle a Party Cup
Here’s a unique way to remember all the awesome parties your going to this summer. Because a party cup dramatically shrinks when heated you can use one to make high fashion jewelry. I made a seashell pendant and sea star earrings to go with it.
Step 1: Preparing Your Heat Shrink Design
Cut a smooth section out of the side wall of a party cup and take it to your computer desk. Find a design you like and paste it into Microsoft word or the program of your choice. You’ll paste the image 5 times. Four times stacking the image on top of itself and once with the image next to the stack. See the picture.
Stretch the image height until it is 4 times taller than it should be (now you see why your stacked 4 high). Delete the everything but the stretched image and print it.
Take your smooth piece of party cup and tape it to the computer paper. Make sure it’s taped directly over your reference image. Place the paper back through the printer. Now you should have a stretched printed image on the piece of cup.
Step 2: Heat Shrink
Remove the plastic piece from the computer paper. Use a heat gun to shrink the plastic. The image will skew back to proper proportion.
While doing this the plastic started to dance around my work surface. I just opened a pair of scissors and used them as a backstop to keep it in place.
Be mindful of anything that may melt or burn including yourself. Also use a well ventilated area. No visible fumes come about while doing this though it does release an odor. Good ventilation is never a bad idea.
Step 3: Seashell Pendant
Trim the excess off with scissors. Use files and rotary attachments to further shape the piece.
For the jump ring fashion a loop out of the same plastic and super glue it to the back of the pendant. Cotton cord makes for a good necklace.
Step 4: Sea Star Earrings
Prepare the party cup by cutting off the bottom. This helps to keep the cup flat while heating. Heat shrink the cup flat. Fold it over and heat until the cup melts together. You don’t need to get crazy with the heat gun it will bond very quickly.
While the plastic it still soft use a cookie cutter to cut out your earrings. The “cookie cutters” I’m using are actually used for polymer clay. You can find several different shapes at the craft store in the polymer clay isle.
Wait for the plastic to dry before you remove your creation.
Step 5: Finish the Earrings
I used hot fix crystals in the center of the stars. The silver backings were a little too big so I cut them down and filed off any sharp edges. I used super glue again for the backings.
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