Sara Sandberg 2018

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Shrink  plastic is one of my favourite things! you can have such fun with it.  

Sometimes you need to know just how big your work will be when you have shrunk it.  I have a strip of shrink plastic which I marked off in centimetres.  I then shrank it and so now know exactly how big things will be when shrunk. Different makes of shrink plastic may not shrink to the same size though!

How much will it shrink?
What shall I colour it with?

Shrink plastic is, surprisingly, plastic!!  So things that work on non absorbent surfaces work on it really well.  For stamping images you are going to colour in, Stazon is excellent.  I use brilliance pads a lot too – but be careful not to smudge your image as it doesn’t dry until you heat the plastic.

Colours really intensify when shrunk, so colouring pencils, chalks etc really become strong and bright.  Alcohol inks look lovely applied either before or after shrinking.  Sakura jelly roll pens are lovely for any writing on shrink plastic, the writing is really sparkly when shrunk.

You can do the shrinking in the oven, or with a heat gun.  If you have large pieces it will probably be easier in the oven – pop a wire cooling rack over them to prevent them from curling up and sticking to themselves.

If your piece has a little bobble in the middle – keep heating it!  It will disappear!

When it’s flattened out stop heating, and quickly shove something like a book, or a big wood mounted stamp wood side down on it.  This will make it completely flat.

Now to shrink!

Using a krylon pen on the edge finishes embellishments beautifully.

When using a heat gun, I hold a metal skewer over the piece to stop it curling up.

A tip given me by the lovely Liz Gale – if your shrink plastic rolls over and sticks to itself, wait until it cools, and pull it apart – it will come apart with a loud crack!  Don’t panic!  Just reheat it and it will shrink normally.

What to do if it’s stuck together!

Shrink Plastic

The shrink plastic is pliable until it cools – on the right here I have twisted it to make a mini wind chime shape.  Mind you don’t burn your fingers doing this!!

As soon as you stop heating the shrink plastic, throw it onto a Fiskars texture plate and press the shrink plastic into it for a textured effect.  This method is guaranteed to burn your fingers though!!

A far easier way is to heat the shrink plastic, and then press a rubber stamp into it.  No burnt fingers here!!

Tip 1

Tip 2

Tip 3

Here I have printed off some wording as a mirror image and am tracing it, writing on the rough side of frosted shrink plastic with a Sakura Gelly roll pen.

You can make great embellishments with your die cutter and shrink plastic.  This is a Sizzix handbag shape.

Remember to punch the holes before baking if you want to hang embellishments from your work!

Although if you forget to do this, a Cropadile can go through it – do it gently or it will shatter!

Tip 4

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These flip flops were stamped with a large flower pattern in Brilliance ink, then once shrunk alcohol inks were dabbed on the other side.