Are you looking for the perfect necklace for a loved one? Do you need a funky new necklace for the party that's happening tonight? When you want things to be perfect, and you're running out of time, stores can sometimes be... unreliable. Nothing says "I care about you" more than an original, homemade gift. And if you want to express yourself, what better way than by wearing something YOU made?
Shrink plastic has been used by people of all ages. My grandmother taught me, and just the other day I introduced my little brothers to it. I've always enjoyed crafting, and when I rediscovered shrink plastic while volunteering with my school at Little E. A. S. T. , a million new ideas formed in my mind about the different ways I could use it.
This Instructable will be about how to use shrink plastic, and how to simply transform it into a necklace.
Step 1: Supplies
To get started, you'll need the following:
- Shrinkable Plastic
- Coloring Materials
Sharpies and Prismacolor colored pencils work best, but normal colored pencils work fine.
I used the art department's AMACO Polymer Clay and Craft Oven at my school this time around, but usually I use the cooking oven at home.
- Necklace Chains
Be sure to keep in mind the purpose of your necklace before deciding on what type of necklace chain to use. A ball chain would give a different feel than ribbon.
- Glue-on Pendant Bails or Jump Rings
- Hot Glue Gun
- Cookie Sheet
Use the tinfoil to cover the cookie sheet. You'll be shrinking the plastic on this, so try not to make many creases.
Step 2: Draw Your Design
If you're using a clear or semi-clear plastic, you might be able to trace an image. But either way, keep in mind that the plastic WILL SHRINK to roughly about a third or quarter of it's original size. Trust me when I say, PLAN ACCORDINGLY! (I'm speaking from experience.)
I've also found that after it has shrunk, the colors tend to be bolder and more intense than it originally appeared.
*If you're using a jump ring instead of a pendant bail, be sure to leave space for a hole-punch sized hole somewhere near the border of your design.
Step 3: Cut Into Shape
You should also keep in mind the shrink process when you're cutting. Make sure not to go too thin in areas or else it might just shrink down to practically nothing.
*If you're using jump rings, be sure to hole punch or cut out a hole for it during this step.
Step 4: Shrink It
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
While you're waiting, you can start to get ready for the next steps, and continue doing so once you've placed your design into the oven. If you already have all the supplies together, just plug in the hot glue gun, or select your jump ring.
When the oven is ready, insert your design on the tinfoil-covered cookie sheet. Once it starts to shrink, it will probably look like it's folding into itself, but don't worry. After a bit it should straighten out, then finish shrinking down. It should only take 2-5 minutes to shrink in total.
If it doesn't completely flatten itself out, you may have to manually help it out a bit. But be careful! It WILL be hot!
When it's finished, take it out and allow it to cool.
The time lapse is of another piece I made, but it's a great example of what you should expect to happen during the shrinking process.
Step 5: Attach Shrinked Design to Necklace
This is the magical step where your plastic becomes a pendant!
Apply hot glue to the bail, making sure to leave a border so the glue can spread, then place the design on top of it. Put a lot of pressure when holding the two together in order to ensure it won't just pop off once the glue dries.
*If you're using a jump hook, just open it and hook it through your design.
After that, string it on your chain and you'll be finished!
Step 6: A Different Material Means a Different Look
I originally used the semi-clear shrink plastic when making the gift because I was used to making pins with it. But because of the type of backing my bail had, I didn't like the look. I remade it with the solid white plastic and was much more satisfied with the outcome.
Experiment with the different styles of shrink plastic, because you never know what outcome you might like better! There's solid black, clear, and even some that you can print directly onto. Let me know what you create!