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I want to share a weekend project that my son & I worked on together. We decided to try cutting shrink plastic with my Cricut machine.

The instructions for the shrink plastic said to draw your image on the front (smooth/shiny) side of the plastic, then color on the back (rough/frosted) side of the plastic. So, we placed the shrink plastic smooth side up on the cutting mat. Because I was worried about the marker smearing since it isn’t permanent ink, we cut the images out first. Then, without unloading the mat, we switched the cutting blade to the black marker to outline the image.

After the marker was dry (about a minute), we took the cuts off the mat to color them.

You can see the texture on the back of the ‘i’ & ‘u’ from the glitter in the Jacquard Lumiere (Halo Pink-Gold). The heart was colored with Tsukineko Impress Dye Ink Celeste Blue. Both products were diluted before being painted on the back.

We used a preheated toaster oven to heat the plastic. Following the instructions, I used a brown paper bag to make a liner in the pan. Then, into the oven… My son loved watching the plastic curl & shrink.

When the plastic started to flatten out, I had my son stand back away from the toaster oven so I could get the plastic out safely. I quickly transferred the plastic to my embossing mat and used a small wooden dowel to flatten the edges as it cooled. I rolled the dowel over the plastic like a rolling-pin. I was able to get the edges flat before they cooled.

I am definitely going to get a few more heat-resistant tools to work with before we do another shrink plastic project. I don’t like to use kitchen tools for crafts. It’s just my personal preference, I tend to be a messy crafter & I don’t like to worry about anything I use getting into food later.

We did find that ‘chunkier’ images worked better. Longer words tended to be a little uneven after shrinking and it’s a race against time (and heat) to get them into shape before cooling.

Below, you can see one of the words that I wasn’t able to get completely reshaped before it cooled. Because the connections between the letters weren’t very big, the word stayed a little stretched out as it shrank. I could reheat the word to reshape it again, but I actually like it all wobbly.

I used the Celeste Blue ink to do a color wash on the back of the plastic. A few areas of the marker outline did rub off when they got wet due to water drips, so that did make getting an even color variation a little more difficult.

Overall, my son & I had a great time experimenting with shrink plastic. I definitely plan on doing more shrink plastic projects in the near future.

Cuts:          [relative size cuts, real size was NOT on]

  • i ‘heart’ u
    • 2.5″ <Koala> (Phrase) Create A Critter pg. 49
    • 0.5″ <Accnt36s> (Shift) Accent Essentials pg. 67 [heart shape inserted in dot of ‘i’]
  • LOVE
    • 2.0″ <FlwrBdr1> (Phrase) Martha Stewart All Occasions Cake Art pg. 70

Supplies:

  • Gypsy
  • Cricut Cutting Machine
  • Cricut Marker
  • Shrink Plastic
  • Paint supplies (brush, water, paper towels, etc)
  • Jacquard Lumiere paint (Halo Pink-Gold) – diluted with water
  • Tsukineko Impress dye ink (Celeste Blue) – diluted with water
  • Toaster Oven (follow instructions for shrink plastic)
  • Oven mitts
  • Wooden dowel or other heat resistant tools
  • Embossing mat or other heat resistant surface for cooling shrink plastic
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