Posts Tagged "accessories"

How I make shrink plastic charms for accessories & other stuff

Even before my BGC Art Mart day, I had a feeling I would get a lot of questions about what the kitty accessories I’m selling are made of and how I make them so I put a tutorial together and had it on display in a frame on my table. (You can see part of it in @firehailtree’s instagram photo.). It turned out to be a good idea because my customers were able to understand how much care was placed into each item.  Some even asked if I sold shrink plastic because they’d like to try it out themselves! 😀

Anyway, I’d also like to share the how-tos with you. 🙂
shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-1

1. I draw the illustrations individually on sheets of shrink plastic, mindful of the fact that the colors will darken and the drawings will shrink down to about 1/3 of its original size. This particular sheet is glossy so I roughened the surface with sandpaper so that I could draw on it with colored pencils.

2. I cut them to shape with a pair of scissors.

shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-2

3. I shrink the pieces individually using a heat gun. This is best for complicated shapes that you want to have more control over. Otherwise you can use a toaster oven to bake multiple pieces at a time.

4. Ta-dah! The piece is now smaller, thicker, and harder than it was. After it’s cooled down, I would usually spray it with a fixative to “fix” the colored pencil drawings, after which I would apply a glaze coating.

Here’s one of my cat pins in action:

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

* You may order these from my store. 😀

UPDATE (Oct.27, 2015)

I’ll be having a Shrink Plastic Crafting Workshop at Hey Kessy (Quezon City) on November 21! Please visit this link to sign up and reserve a slot.

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Keeping Busy + Adventures in Shrinking Plastic

What I’ve been working on:

1. New patterns for my Spoonflower store (these are still being proofed so this is a sneaky peek) —

surface pattern design by cynthia bauzon arre

2. A new wedding invitation set featuring stylish animals —

(You can see all the elements of the entire collection here)

3. More custom couple cartoons. (Nothing to show here yet as they’re still in the drafts stage but I’ll update the other blog once the drawings have been finalized.)

And as you may have seen on my Instagram feed,

4. Shrink plastic jewelry

I’ve been wanting to make accessories for the longest time. In fact I have an unused box full of jewelry findings hoarded from the Kamuning Market when we were planning our wedding… yes, it’s been that long! However, there’s so much competition and I didn’t know what I could do that would showcase what I can do best so i focused on other things. Until I discovered shrinky dinks — thanks to wedding blogging actually. Some of my brides would talk about shrinky-dinking stuff and I was all like “shrinky-WHAT-ing?”1 After much Googling and Youtube-ing I learned that specially made plastic can shrink into a harder & thicker version of itself if you stick it in a regular toaster oven. A little light bulb lit up in my head — what if I shrink my illustrations and make them into few-of-a-kind jewelry charms? Of course I still had no idea then that I was already late to the game and that there’s already a whole movement devoted to shrink plastic jewelry on Etsy. [insert embarrassed emoji here] Still, I ordered a pack of Shrinky Dinks sheets from Amazon. That would take at least a week to arrive and I couldn’t wait anymore so when I learned that I can also shrink #6 plastic (essentially, plastic used for take-out containers) and yay, we had one on hand2, I did this experiment, again documented on Instagram.

My shrinky dink-brand sheets (as well as a few unbranded ones) arrived in late December but I couldn’t play with them until this week. I got several types — white, clear, rough and ready – so I tried different combinations. Frosted sheets with colored pencils, white with sharpies. Here’s what came out of that experiment.

In the photo below you can see how big the original artwork is compared to the miniature version. You’ll notice that this time I printed my vector illustrations directly on the plastic sheet.

shrinkydinks jewelry

Some pieces already look good but I have yet to perfect shrinking the plastic without forming dents in the miniatures. This is all still a work in progress and I will update you once I come up with designs that I am completely happy with.

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  1. Not sure if art schools here are using it now but I’ve never encountered the stuff.[ back]
  2. it had cake on it which I quickly, um, got rid off [ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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