Use Shrink Plastic to create a fun woven artsy soap dish!
Step 1: Supplies
Two 8" x 10" pieces of shrink plastic, such as Shrinky Dinks
Exacto knife, or scissors
Acrylic paint, printer, colored pencils, or markers *
Oven mitt or potholder
Tape (masking/or painter's tape)
Self-healing cutting mat
Parchment paper, non-stick aluminum wrap, or brown paper
Step 2: Decorate the shrink plastic
You can decorate your shrink plastic before weaving if you like. We're going to use 2 sheets of plastic to create the soap dish. If you want, you can think of one sheet as your "warp", and the other as your "weft". The vertical strips would be your "warp", and the horizontal ones would be the "weft".
If you've selected the Ink Jet printable shrink plastic, you can print on both sides with your Ink Jet printer. Select and print any image you like. I've created coordinating prints on my computer, and printed both sides of 2 pieces of white Ink Jet shrink plastic.
Another choice is to use the Frosted Ruff 'n Ready clear shrink plastic, which can be decorated with acrylic paints, permanent markers, and colored pencils. There are detailed instructions inside the package. I've created an ombre effect by putting dots of acrylic paint onto the rough side of the plastic, and using a paintbrush to spread it thinly across the plastic.
Step 3: Cut the shrink plastic into strips
The plastic sheets measure 8" x 10".
1) For the Shrinky Dinks Ink Jet printable sheets, I cut strips about 3/8" wide lengthwise down the 10" side of both sheets of plastic. This gave me 3/8" x 10" strips to use for both the warp and weft.
2) For the painted Shrinky Dink Ruff 'n Ready sheets
a) Warp sheet: place in the 10" high x 8" wide direction on the cutting mat
b) Tape both the top and bottom edges of the sheet, overlapping the tape onto the sheet by about 3/8"
c) Cut strips 1/2" wide, creating 1/2" x 10" strips for the warp.
d) Weft sheet: place in the 8" high x 10" wide direction on the cutting mat
e) Tape both the top and bottom edges of the sheet, overlapping the tape onto the sheet by about 3/8"
f) Cut strips 1/2" wide, creating 1/2" x 8" strips for the weft.
Step 4: Weaving
3) If you have cut separate 10" long warp (vertical) strips, you will want to line up the top ends of your strips against a ruler or a line on your cutting mat, and tape in place before you begin weaving. Place a strip of masking tape over the top edge of the straightened strips, overlapping by about 3/8". This will hold the warp strips in place while you weave.
Take a "weft" (horizontal) strip, working it over then under each warp (vertical) strip across the row, pushing it up close to the top edge for your first row.
The next weft strip will be worked under, then over, alternating until you complete the row, pushing it up close to your first weft strip. This creates a basic weave.
4) When you are done weaving, you can still add further decoration if you like. I drew birds and leaves on mine at this point before baking. This is also the time to trim any ends, punch holes for hanging, etc. A basic paper hole punch works well for making holes.
Step 5: Baking and shaping
5) Remove the tape, place your woven piece on top of parchment paper, non-stick aluminum, or brown paper.
6) Place the tray in a pre-heated oven. Follow the instructions for baking. The Ink Jet printable sheets bake at 275-300 degrees. The Ruff n' Ready bakes at 325 degrees, with the rough frosted side up.
7) Your woven piece will curl up rather dramatically as it shrinks then will flatten out as the shrinking stops. In the event that it sticks to itself, you can put on an oven mitt to help flatten the plastic. Your piece should have completed the shrinking process within a few minutes and is ready to remove from the oven.
8) In the first 10 seconds after removing your piece from the oven, you can use your oven mitt to flatten further, or bend the edges up slightly. You can also wrap the hot woven plastic over a bowl, bottle or cup to give it a unique curved shape.
...and if you change your mind on the shape, just pop it back into the oven for another 2-5 minutes and re-shape it when you take it out.