you asked for it - a shrink art tutorial

Let me walk you through the latest batch of charms I made - these ones are for Loopy's birthday party this weekend. First, gather your supplies, including a package of these (readily available at Michaels... but make sure you use a coupon, they are a little pricey at $17.99 for a package of six sheets). Oddly, they are found in the scrapbooking supplies.


You will also need to gather: plain brown kraft paper, good quality craft scissors, manicure scissors, nail clippers, a clean cookie sheet, a single hole punch and some clear (top coat) nail polish (I like Sally Hansen brand best). You will also need access to a computer with photo-editing software like Photoshop and a colour inkjet printer.


Browse the internet for the images you would like to use as charms... or you may have photos of your own. Whatever you like. For this project, Loopy and I visited Photobucket for a plethora of Juicy Couture images to turn into theme charms for the party. Click and save the images you like onto your desktop. Open a new document measuring 8 inches wide and 10 inches high (check the document size if you have a different brand of shrink art material).

Using layers, drag and drop the images into your new document... now keep in mind that you will be shrinking these images so make them about 40 - 50% larger than you
would expect them to be when finished... you will have to eyeball this. I have a general rule of thumb that most charms fit four across and five down on the document page.
.
The next step is very important, and you can do it in one of two ways. The saturation of the images needs to be reduced significantly... the reason made perfect sense when The Secret Weapon explained it to me:

You see, the shrink art material is actually special
ly stretched or somewhat "extruded" plastic. When you expose it to heat, it wants to shrink back to its original size. Therefore, if you don't reduce the intensity of the colour you will end up with a pretty dark and not very pretty image when it shrinks. Some images will just look like a black, smudgy inky mess. I usually reduce my saturation by 50 - 60% depending on the original image and how much dark pigment is in it.

You can reduce the saturation by clicking "Image" on the menu and selecting "adjustments" and then "hue and saturation". Click on saturation and use the tool in the dialogue box to reduce the saturation. It's that simple
.


Otherwise, some printers have the option in the print queue to reduce the saturation before you send the document to print. This will also work.

* Before printing, ensure that you load your paper feeder so that you will be printing on the correct side. It is the side that has a slight textur
e and emulsion on it that will allow the plastic to "grab" the ink and prepare for shrinking. The correct side will appear slightly scaley or look like it has little ripples. It's easy to determine which is the wrong side, it will appear completely white, pristine and glossy.
After you print your pages, allow them to dry completely before handling. This might take up to ten minutes if you have saturated colours or black details.

Time to carefully cut out each of your charms. I like to use manicure scissors for the little details that some images have, but most of the cutting can be done nicely with smooth, sharp paper scissors.


It is also very important at this point to punch a hole into the shrink material BEFORE you bake the charms. After baking, the material is just too hard to punch and you will snap the charms into pieces. Trust me on this. A regular hole punch will do the trick - be sure you leave a good amount around the perimiter of the hole so your charm is sturdy.

Now, line your cookie sheet with the brown paper. Make sure it is flat and smooth and doesn't have folds and wrinkles in it. Lay your charms on the paper leaving ample space between each piece.

Your oven should be preheated to 275 degrees F, or whatever your package instructions indicate. Set your oven timer for five minutes and pop those bad boys onto the middle rack of the oven.At this point, be prepared to have a mild freak-out. Your charms will behave like Mexican jumping beans and pop-pop and flip over, turning into all sorts of shapes resembling exotic flowers, footwear and avante-garde ceramics.


Resist the temptation to open the oven and manipulate them with your hands. The oven needs to be at a constant temperature... you'll just have to trust me and leave them be.

You might want to avoid hovering and get your oven mitts ready and locate a nice spatula. Pace the kitchen and check the progress occasionally. Feel free at this point to phone the craftiest person that you know and express your feelings of anxiety and ask for reassurance... it will all work out.

Before you know it, you will look into the oven and the charms will be flat. After the final charm unfolds to its perfectly flattened stage, keep the tray in the oven for another 15 seconds... this ensures that the charms will be completely hardened when they cool.


Immediately after removing the charms from the oven, I like to use my metal spatula to lightly "flatten" each piece of plastic while it is still slightly warm. If there is any slight bend in the charm, this will take care of it.

Allow your charms to completely cool on the brown paper. Gently slide them onto the cool countertop or a flat surface.

I like to place the charms on a piece of the silicone parchment paper from the Dollarama... because the next step is to seal the printed side of the charm with at least one coat of clear nail polish, and that stuff won't stick to the silicone parchment. When the nail polish is still wet, you can sprinkle super-fine glitter to the charms for added sparkle.

When the nail polish is cured, you can add jump rings through the nice little holes (see how they shrunk?) and your charms are ready to use! You are now only limited by your imagination and the cost of the shrink-art material.

42 comments:

limefreckle said...

Thanks so much for the tut! I bought some shrink paper ages ago, planning to do this, but never sat down to figure out exactly HOW to do it. The info on the saturation levels etc. was great, I'm going to give this a try this weekend!

limefreckle said...

Thanks so much for the tut! I bought some shrink paper ages ago, planning to do this, but never sat down to figure out exactly HOW to do it. The info on the saturation levels etc. was great, I'm going to give this a try this weekend!

Jane said...

This is wonderful! I've always wondered how you made the charms. You are so clever and talented! Tnanks so much for the tutorial!
Jane

KAGS Herself said...

Thanks for that Saucy - now I feel brave enough to try it myself. Watch out Easter charm bracelet party!
Thank-you, very belatedly, for putting on such a wonderful charm party again.
Good luck with the cake today can't wait to hear how it all goes.

Annette @ Designs By A Rose said...

Thanks so much for the tut. My daughter's birthday is coming up and we'll be having a slumber party. These will be wonderful for the girls!

Annette @ Designs By A Rose said...

Thanks so much for the tut. My daughter's birthday is coming up and we'll be having a slumber party. These will be wonderful for the girls!

sassy studio said...

you are the godess of shrink art...i bow to you!
ps - pies are ready! they smell soooooo yummy!

Jennspiration said...

Oh.My.Gosh. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was when I saw that you were doing a tutorial for shrink art. I didn't even know they made shrinky-dink paper! How exciting! I will definately be cruising over to Michaels to buy some...I've even got my coupon!

Lisa said...

WOW, THOSE CAME OUT GREAT!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING THE INFO.

HUGS FROM MAINE

http://sophie4me.blogspot.com/

Grace said...

Thank you this was so fabulous! I cant wait to do something with it! LOL! Those bracelets will be so cute. Cant wait to see how the party looks and turns out...Hugs Grace

Sandra D said...

Thanks Saucy for the excellent tutorial. My mind is spinning with the possibilities. Luckily I haven't used my Michaels coupon this week but am on my way now.

Christine said...

I always wondered how that was done. Thanks for the lesson.

e.m. said...

Thanks so much! I love following your blog! I have four daughters and totally plan on stealing some of your GREAT ideas! (Shamelessly, I might add!)
Thanks so much. I am a Warrior Mother too as my son had autism a few years ago. Go Jenny! Go Saucy!
Have fun this weekend..can't wait to see how it turns out!

Junipers Jules said...

YAY! I've been wanting to do this, especially after I told my 11 year old about your 13 (almost 14) year old's Jonas Brother charms bracelet. She has bracelet envy!

Pam said...

too cool!!!
I can't wait to see and hear all about the party!!
How is the cake???

The Vintage Kitten said...

Fab tutorial, I love shrinkies! X

Wendy @ The Shabby Nest said...

Thanks for this great tutorial...and thanks for letting me know that the shrinky dink paper is in the scrapbook section...I combed the Michael's near us for this stuff a couple of months back and couldn't find it...and the salesperson I spoke with didn't even know what I was talking about. HELLO! Cute charms!

Janeen said...

That was awesome! Love it, love it!

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

I am so very happy & grateful that you shared this excellent tutorial with us. Just in time for me to try a little bracelet or earring love for my granddaughter for Valentine's Day!

Thanks again ever so much!!

Big TX Hugs,
Stephanie
Angelic Accents

Saskatchewan Scraps said...

have an awesome party Loopy!!!!the charms look great Sasha!

MJ said...

Oh, oh, oh! Please put this in your favorites on your sidebar so that I can readily find it when I need to make charms!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Oh WOW Saucy! I was hoping you'd tell us how you made those. These are fantastic, what a great, customizable idea. I'll be linking to this.

Saucy said...

It is 3:30 in the afternoon and I have been working on this cake since 9:00 a.m... it's going well thanks to Angela, who has been sending prompts and hints via email or I would most likely be lost to drink already.

The cake has it's pink fondant cover... now waiting for it's chocolate handles and decorations - the fun part!

Tamara Jansen said...

Now that is the COOLEST! I'll let my girls check out this post and see if they want to try it out for themselves :)

Candace said...

Fantastic! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I do love shrinky dinks, etc. and am always looking for such "helpers".
This is so clear I bet I can do one by next Saturday (The Big VDay.)
Love your blog and your kind wit.
Have a great weekend.

Suzy said...

Have a fun time Loopy! Oh, how I remember these well, Shrink a Dink first came out in the 70's in a christmas ornament kit. They were all the rage, and now because of your gorgeous bracelets, they are coming back...
Have Fun,
Suzy

MamaJenn said...

Thanks for sharing this! Loved this stuff as a kid, but it looks like more fun now. So many great ideas.

3rdEyeMuse said...

you can seriously write an easy to follow and most useful tutorial! I swear I'd like to dash off to Michaels right now! Not going to happen as they close in 30 minutes and I'm 35 from the store ... but soon! very soon. :)

thanks!

ps - the JC charms look FAB!

The Inept Aspirant said...

You almost talked me into trying it...although it would be much easier to just win one of yours. Maybe next time!

Gail :) said...

You give such great tutorials. We use a 1/8" hole punch for our charms. I Love your glittler suggestion! SUPER! Thanks for sharing :)

Rosa said...

Oh my! I haven't seen shrinky dinks in years!!! Those are fabulous!!!! WOW!! Love them!!! The girls are going to love YOU! xoxo

Angela said...

Very nice Saucy!

I hope that I can get a chance to do those some day! Thanks for the great tutorial!

Angela

CrystallineTulip said...

I came across your site from a link provided at craftershock. I just love how your Juicy party came out! I will have to try out your shrinky-dink tut very soon. What a cute idea to make your own bracelet charms!

Jamie said...

I so want to try this! Love your blog!

Rhonda said...

I love these skrinkie dinks. I copied my boys pictures and made Christmas tags this year. I copied the picture on the wrong side of the paper the first time. Now I mark the page first and see if the ink wipes off. hee hee

Yin said...

OMG! uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... drool... [speechless w/ awe at your talent!]

Rosa said...

I'm trying your tutorial today! Fun!

michelleb. said...

We love shrinky-dinks in our house. Thaks for all the extra little tips. Like using clear nailpolish on the finished product!

mblaise29@yahoo.com

mblaise3 said...

Thanks im going to try that!! my mom and i use decrotive hole punches like a rabbit and butterfly. then we make them pretty with colored pencil!!

mblaise3@yahoo.com

Christine said...

When I read the Shrinky Dinks thing it reminded me of those people that we used to draw in school using stencils where they had the giant heads and you could make them into whatever they want. Then I realized that Shrinky Dinks have nothing to do with charms so it had to be different haha. I've never even heard of those shrinky dinks though so this was pretty interesting to read. If I ever need to make charms you can definitely bet I'll be coming back here to reread this.

Christine Bruce
crispy_crunch05@hotmail.com

MJ said...

Found it! I don't think iMac's iPhotoshop will do this trick; Photoshop is needed for greater control of the image! Great instructions!!

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