Shrink Plastic accessory tutorial

I finally got around to taking some photos while making some shrink jewellery to do a tutorial. This post is very photo heavy but I find that its the best way to describe 'How to's' & I also hate reading blog posts that only have words to explain a DIY :)

- Shrink Plastic
There is a few brands available, Shrinky Dinks is the most common. I use a brand called PolyShrink as I just find I like this better, but whatever you can get from your art supply or scrapbook shop is fine.
- Permanent markers, pencils or chalks
You do not need all of these, pick and choose what you would like to use but I recommend you always use a marker for your outline, whatever thickness you like  
- Scissors, hole punch (if making necklace, earrings)
- Designs
Draw up some designs on some paper or print them off from your computer. This can be anything you like, from a band logo to a cartoon of your dog. I just used old designs I had in my folder of some heart tattoo flash.
- Sandpaper, fine
You need this to lightly sand the surface to hold the colour
- Oven & old tray
- Jewellery findings
There is a large range of plastics to choose from. Above is the clear, white and black. I tend to like the white as I find it gets the best results for me with my techniques but I have seen some amazing things done with other colours including the clear.

Above is just some basic designs that I had stored away in an old folder. Please remember that you can do ANYTHING at all in the picture you use, have fun and experiment!!! The plastic shrinks approx 45% of its original size so make sure your designs are a lot larger than the size you want them to end up being (look at photo at the end to see difference in size)

Before you start lightly sand all areas on plastic you are going to use, I forgot this step and remembered to late to do it so my pencils & pastel chalks did not get the best result.

Above is using permanent markers on white plastic.
- First you trace your design onto the plastic with a black marker. 
If you can not see your design through the plastic you can use a light box.
- Colour in with desired permanent texters. 
The best results is when you use contrasting colours.

Above is using the chalks on clear plastic. 
I think if you are going to use the chalks I would suggest using the white plastics. I had not used the pastels in ages so forgot this but they really do look beautiful when used right.
I find that if I use a cotton bud and rub the fine powder into the plastic this way I get the best results and can bleed nicely. You can do chalks straight onto the plastics but I don;t really like doing it that way lol

Above is pencils on white plastic
Basically you do the same as with the markers, trace & colour.
When pencils & chalks go onto the plastic they are very light and you think that you need to get it darker... YOU DON'T! When the plastic shrinks the colour will go bolder and pencil marks should blend together.

Here is some more examples of what you can do with pencils.

Above is a silver marker on black plastic 
On the black plastic you really can not trace, so free hand drawing is the way to go. I just keep the designs simple on the solid colours. You can also use light colour pencils or chalks but I like the silver sharpie the best.

Now cut your little heart out!!!
Be careful around delicate edges as the clear can tear slightly. The smaller the scissors the better when cutting odd shapes. My scissors above are too big but again my child has lost my tiny craft scissors... I will not start ranting about that...... that is a whole new post lol

If you are using these for necklaces or earrings then use a hole punch to cut your hole to place your o-ring in when attaching to the chain etc..

Oven time!!!
- Place a piece of cardboard or cooking paper on an old tray and place cut out plastic on it.
- Put the tray in a pre heated oven. 
Oven temp would all depend on what brand you use so check the instructions
I had oven set at 150 degrees and placed tray on the middle rack.
- It does not take long to shrink (few mins) so keep an eye on them
when they have shrunk you will notice they are not flat, they may have a slight bubble. This is easily fixed. With a thick piece of cardboard press down the plastic and keep heating. Be careful not to burn yourself.
- Do not over bake as the plastic may stick.

Above you can see the final result and the difference in size from the original design and how much they have shrunk when cooked :) You can also see how dark the colours have become.

You can now use these in lots of different ways..... as keyrings, cute hair-clips, earrings, pendants, rings, brooches & even embellishments for scrapbooking/crafts

Here are some extra tips on using shrink plastic.

- Use a sealant on your design. Most colours will set and hold but a spray sealant never did no harm and it protects the design :)
- Earring designs work best when traced. You get the exact same design in the same size this way.
- The simple designs are the most effective. The more detail when large the more messy the design will look when it has got smaller.
- Solid colours work well with just cutting out geometric shapes with no drawing on them, quick and easy :)
- Stick these charms to brooch, hair & ring findings for unique gifts

I hope this helped everyone who wondered how to get a good result from shrink plastic, there is not a lot of tut's on the net that are easy to find :) I learnt by trial and error as when I started there was no instructions on the net, which kinda sucked but it did make me experiment and figure out what worked best for me so that's a bonus :D
Happy Crafting!

Share your designs with me.
Hashtag #nowthatspeachy or tag me @nowthatspeachy on instagram 
for me to see your own versions or post to my facebook page


  1. love it! exciting stuff i would love to make my own jewelery and your post is very clear for instructions :)

    Chloe xo xo xo

  2. Thanks dear, I'm Following you back Now!

  3. followed bk sweety... thnx for stopping by

  4. Had no idea how the shrink plastic works! Really enjoyed reading about the process!


    Holly Foxen Wells


  5. great post! Maybe we follow each other!? Let me know :) Greetings

  6. I might be wrong2 December 2013 at 17:12

    Love these!! They look so simple to make :)!! X