Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First adventure into shrink plastic world

I wanted to try this wonderful material for so long now, I can't even remember.

A long time ago, I had received a clear sheet of plastic from a swap partner. It was a piece of shrink plastic and I had no idea what to do with it.

After researching a bit online I decided it was something worth exploring, and, as it wasn't expensive material, ordered some online, both the clear and the white type. The one I use is called Shrinkles. I like is a lot, it doesn't seem to distort or ruin the drawing in any way after shrinking.

I know there are so many online resources that offer tips and tricks about it, so I'll stick to sharing what I've found out from my own experience:)

First of all, the plastic I use shrinks to about 41% of the original drawing, so you need to take this into consideration when deciding what project to make.

The white sheets of plastic come already roughened on one side, so you would want to use this for coloring. Be careful though when using markers, as these will bleed through the small scratches of the surface. It is fine for one color design, because when you cut around the edges of your drawing you can  remove the bleeding color that exceeds these limits.

For a more complicated design I'd recommend using colored pencils. I use some old ones I've had since childhood and it works great. Only tried using pencils on the roughened side as I don't think the color will adhere on the shiny side.

These cute mushrooms are entirely colored with pencils. I like using a marker for accents and a more tridimensional look. I think the texture created by the pencils on the plastic surface is really neat! Love this rough, rustic, handmade touch:)

Be sure to use clear varnish to seal the design after baking:) I use a solvent free varnish, the same one I use for decoupage technique. Already tried the one I use for Fimo and it smudges all the marker away:(

Another "problem" I stumbled upon is that some markers will leave strikes of excess color when used on the shiny side of plastic.

For me it is not exactly a problem as I like the handmade texture that this adds to a design, but just in case, test your markers on a scrap of plastic before. Don't worry if the marker leaves a bit of stroke marks, I've only been able to see these in a very zoomed-in picture.

Regarding acrylic paints, from what I've experiences, they don't work. They rub off quite easily after baking, like sunburned skin:)

Ok.....when it comes to cutting, I recommend using a sharp detail scissors and try to rotate the plastic to cut the desired shape rather than the scissors. In really narrow angles try to achieve the v-shape by cutting from both directions till the cuts meet. Think the girl's above underarm v-space.

Careful! If you try to make this kind of cut from a single move, most probably the plastic will crack in the tip of the angle:(

Or use the same technique for the sharp v of these speech bubbles. Aren't these the cutest greetings?

If you have only clear plastic, you have two options: lightly sand it on one side for a frosted look (see the speech bubbles) and for better adherence of color, or use it as it is. If you take the second option, you can use the finish result with the right side being the uncolored one, by this giving it a glass 3D effect.

I have no example of my own for this but I hope you get what I mean:)

One last thing...when using pencils, always color with them as step one and add the marker details after, to prevent smudging. When using only markers...mmmm.. haven't decided yet, I guess you'll have to try and decide for your self :D.

As glue for adding jewelry findings I got best results using a glue called Poxipol, I don't really like the E6000. You have to try see what works best for you.

Well, that's it for now, hope you find my tips useful and please check out my handmade goodies in my Etsy shop (top right of page:).

For more infos on using shrinkies, here are some useful links:

I would love to hear about your adventures with shrink plastic, have you tried it yet?


  1. Hello!
    Interesting blog. Welcome to http://filmandotherstories.blogspot.se/.
    :) Take care!

  2. I'd love to try using shrink plastic. Your tips are really useful. thanks for sharing! :-)

  3. Love the tips on shrink plastic! I have just started teaching at a craft workshop and I am on the lookout for new ideas and shrinky-info! Keep creating and keep posting!!!!!


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