My sister recently gave me a brand new toaster oven, not to cook food in but to make art in. I have tried in the past to recycle old toaster ovens into art ovens with limited success as twice I've had to throw smoking ovens out the door into a snowbank. This was quite scary and did not bode well for the creations inside! I do have a number of customers at Your Maine Stamper who LOVE shrink art, and my samples today are for Monday's All Things Floral shrink art class.
I like to use PolyShrink artist's grade shrink plastic from Lucky Squirrel. For this class we will mostly be using the white 8" X 10.5" 10 mil sheets. (It is also available in translucent and black.) They will first need to prep both sides of the sheets by sanding them vertically and horizontally--I use the Lucky Squirrel sanding blocks. This gives some "teeth" to the surface so ink and other colorants stick.
Part of our class time will be spent stamping floral images from the Memory Box collection on the PolyShrink. You do want to keep in mind that any image will shrink to about 45% of its original size. For my samples I used Flower Bundle (E1321), Vine Border (D1322), Leafy Shoot (D1325), Vintage Peony (E1341), and Create Art (G1330). There will be even more stamps to choose from during class. For inks I used Brilliance Gamma Green, Fabrico Green, VersaCraft in Peony Purple and Burgundy and Real Black, as well as Azure StazOn. I think almost any kind of a pigment ink will work. And there is no end to the art supplies that one may use to color on the PolyShrink--colored pencils, chalks, Sharpie markers, Zig Memories pens, other permanent markers, Pearl-Ex--I will have a wide variety for class participants to choose from.
Once the designs are stamped and colored, they will cut them out using decorative scissors or punches. They may punch holes in the designs to use them as charms or buttons or leave them as is to use as pins or card front embellishments. A corner punch is a good tool to help avoid sharp corners on squares and rectangles. Scallop punches also add a decorative edge to an image.
The real fun for me begins as each person loads up a foil-covered cardboard tray with her creations and takes a turn watching her pieces shrink. This is usually accompanied by lots of anxious cries as things begin to twist and curl. Once the pieces are flat, or nearly so, I will remove them from the oven (using a potholder!); and because the PolyShrink is still pretty pliable, I can flatten any pieces that need it with the back of a large wooden stamp block. (If you don't have a toaster oven, you can use a Heat-It tool to shrink the plastic, employing a bamboo skewer to keep the piece from blowing away, and that also works well.)
This is a really fun medium and another way to use one's stamps to create unique and interesting embellishments and jewelry pieces.