I am playing with some shrink plastic today and wanted to share a few tips for using this fun medium. I've been itching to color something with pencils lately and remembered how much fun it is to see colored pencil get really intense when it shrinks down.
It really is magical when you see how small a shrink plastic piece becomes after it has been heated - the stamped lines become crisp (and tiny!) and all of that color becomes really solid and vibrant.
(To view this video in HD click here)
If you haven't used shrink plastic before that's ok - it is easy to work with. The only hiccup that I have ever had is when shrinking it, occasionally it will stick to itself (watch the video for a tip on how to correct this). Otherwise, it is easy to do and the results are fun.
After scratching up the shrink plastic with sandpaper (you need to roughen the shiny surface of the shrink plastic in order for the colored pencil to stick) you will stamp the plastic with a permanent ink (I used Brilliance Graphite Black and made sure to let it dry before coloring). I used the heart from the Wireworks Heart Clear Stamp set - it is FULL of lots of little areas for adding color.
Once your ink is dry, you can color away! I used Prismacolor pencils - but any soft, wax based pencil will work. The best part? Shrink plastic is very forgiving! You do want to stay inside the lines - but if you miss covering an area completely, chances are that it won't matter because once the piece has shrunk down, the color tends to fill itself in a bit!
You can see on the heart above that there are some areas of color that are a little uneven - but don't worry, that will all go away.
Here's a closeup of the heart after shrinking it down - the color gets really dense! Any imperfections become so tiny that they aren't noticeable.
You can use these shrink art pieces a number of ways - as charms, buttons, or embellishments - I used them as art pieces on my greeting cards today. I stamped the sentiment from the Wireworks Heart Set and die cut the edge with the Poppystamps 1847 Dotted Border.
All of the little dots from the border add some activity to this simple card - I didn't want to have too much going on, there is plenty happening on the heart as it is!
I colored another heart - this time with shades that were a little closer to one another. I chose reds, pinks and oranges for a tighter color scheme, to see how that would look.
Here I took a picture of it before I started the shrinking process - and I stamped the "just because" on there so you could see how large the heart was to begin with.
And here it is after shrinking! I added Glossy Accents to the heart after shrinking - it makes it look like enamel! Again, those colors get really intense and seem to be bursting with vibrancy.
The 1997 Double Stitch Circle Frame makes a simple frame around the heart - my aim was to keep the focus on the heart piece.
I added a thick layer of Glossy Accents over the piece and the cool thing is that it levels itself and then naturally bevels at the sides. It is important to make sure that your piece is really flat after shrinking - I have tips in the video for making sure this happens!
It was now time to switch things up. I had been using white shrink plastic in the beginning - but decided that I wanted to try out the same project on black shrink plastic.
The prep is the same - but you will get a much different look with the black shrink plastic. The color intensifies once you have completed the shrinking process - but without the white base, the colors do not get quite as bright. This is just a different look - still quite beautiful as you will see.
Probably the biggest challenge here is coloring inside the lines! It is a little difficult to find the boundaries of the stamped image on the black shrink plastic - so you can see where some areas touch other areas when the heart is smaller.
I was really intrigued with the black shrink plastic after that first project. The black shrink plastic yielded a more distressed look - the colored pencil strokes showed up a bit more and because I was coloring outside the lines a bit, the areas of color were pressing against each other after shrinking.
I decided to try a different color scheme - this time with blues and purples - and also to try and stay inside the lines!
And I got another fun result! I wanted to make a little "scene" with this piece so I used the Poppystamps 2011 Little Hummingbirds on either side and framed the heart with the Poppystamps 2000 Double Stitch Square.
These are truly art pieces - your card recipient may wonder how in the world you got all of that tiny coloring into those little spaces!
Thanks for checking things out today - now, go make something amazing!