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Shrink plastic easy & fun

Published June 28, 2017, by Ann-Charlotte Geissler

I have to confess, I love plastic! I love how it looks an I like to use it in different crafts. I´ve seen shrink plastic around, but never tried it. So when Stina suggested shrink plastic for our crafting session, I said YES!

Now I know what it´s like. It´s fun!

The supplies I used

  • Transparent and white shrink plastic
  • Sharpies and other permanent pens
  • Embossing tool
  • Oven
  • Scissors
  • How was it to work with?

I tried both transparent and white shrink plastic. The colours are sharper on the white background. But it´s much easier tracing on transparent. I also tried printing with an ink printer. It works but you get smudges from the printer and from your hands. This doesn´t work if you want a white background, but if you colour your motif and cut it out, you get a great result. I did some googling and found that you can buy shrink plastic for your ink printer or plastic with motives like monsters, animals, etc.

  1. Put the shrink plastic sheet over our template. I chose a drawing my daughter Nancy made.
  2. Trace the outline with a water-resistant pen. Then colour it any way you like.
  3. Cut out the figure with scissors. Shrink it in the oven or with an embossing tool.
  4. Flatten it with a book while the plastic is still warm. Done!

I’m usually not too worried about a perfect result but the finish of shrink plastic actually gives you this with not too much effort.

I tried shrinking the plastic in the oven and with an embossing tool. The embossing tool was easy to use but you need to hold the plastic down since the embossing tool blows warm air. The advantage of the oven is that you can shrink several pieces in at once. You put the plastic at 130°C for 3-4 minutes. The plastic will first curl up. Don´t panic! It will flatten out again and when it does you take it out and put a book over it to make it perfectly flat. Done!

The most fun I´ve had with plastic! And the result was above my expectations. Perfect for all ages. The trick is to come up with more useful areas, I mean how many pins, charms and key rings can one have? – Stina

Useful tips

  • When you write words, remember to mirror them. If you don´t the wording will end up backward.
  • When you have cut your shape, fill with colour all the way to the edge. It will look nicer when it shrinks.
  • Dark colours get really dark when the plastic shrinks. So use the light palette.

What will I try next time?

I will use a scalpel to get details more precise next time. That will make the finish even better. I would also like to try to make a small plate or bowl by bending the warm plastic.

– I had a great time drawing and cutting plastic. It was meditative and I got absorbed. Easy and quick to make and the finish is great. I would definitly do more. I would like to explore more ways to use it. – Ann-Charlotte


Have you tried shrink plastic? Did you like it? And if you do have any tips of what to do with shrink plastic, please share in the comments.

// Ann-Charlotte

Ann-Charlotte Geissler

Ann-Charlotte Geissler

An openminded “yes-woman”  who enjoys learning new things. Her mission is not to die curious, and she want's to learn tech-crafts.