31 July 2013

How To Make a Retro Necklace Using Shrink Plastic

Hey guys! I have a serious throwback craft for you today. This craft is perfect for this time of year for two reasons: one, it can be done with kids if you have any of those to entertain or if you’re working at a summer camp, and two, it’s the easiest way to make jewelry from ANY fandom, making it perfect for convention season.

So, if you’re drawing with children, or if you need a new Doctor Who necklace for VidCon, here’s what you need:

-Shrink Plastic (available at pretty much any craft store)
-Colored Pencils. Crayons and Markers won’t work here, so bust out the pencils.
-Jewelry making tools. Jump rings, chains, earring hooks- whatever you’re making, & don’t forget the pliers and wire cutters.
-A hole puncher & scissors
-Something to trace, if you can’t draw.
-Access to an oven with a cookie sheet

Your first step is to draw on the plastic. This stuff has a shiny side and a rough side, and you want to draw on the rough side. If you’re using words, make sure that it will be right on the shiny side, even though you draw on the rough side.

I can not draw, so I traced this from a coloring book, but if you’re artistically inclined, go for it. Color it in completely. I went all out and did a bit of shading and all of that, but of course that’s all personal preference.

Once you have it all colored in, cut it out. Leave a little bit of a boarder. You also want to be really careful to not leave any sharp corners or jagged edges. When the plastic shrinks down, it gets thicker, and it will make the points even sharper.Then, using the hole puncher to put a hole wherever you want the jump rings to go.

Put your ready to be shrunk pieces on to a cookie sheet with the shiny side up. I recommend putting a piece of paper bag or cardboard on the cookie sheet too, just to prevent sticking.

The tray will go into a 350 degree oven for about 1-3 minutes, but keep a close eye on this! Every oven varies, so put it in and then watch it shrink up.

It’s going to curl up and look terrifying and you’re going to think it’s ruined, but it’ll flatten out almost all the way. Once it’s flattened itself back out, it’s done!

Take the tray out and using another piece of paper bag, flatten out any little details that may have stayed curled. Now is also the time to shape the piece if you want to. You’ll have about 10-15 seconds to do any bending or curving, so work very quickly.

Just for reference, here is the shrunken Spike next to the orginal image. It will shrink about 1/3 of the size. Also notice that the colors deepen up a lot too.

Finally, using jump rings, attach the charm to the chain, and add a clasp.
And that’s it, you have a completely finished piece to complement any outfit.

You can use this technique to make earrings, bracelet charms, keychains- pretty much anything, so go crazy with it! If you give this a shot, let me know! I’d love to see what you come up with, so send it my way- I’m @techni_moments on both twitter & instagram!

As always, there’s a video here if you’re more into that kind of tutorial :)

Good luck!

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