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Wed 17

Shrink Plastic Wireworks Heart with Colored Pencils
by Dave Brethauer

Hello everyone!

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I added the heart as an embellishment to the 30116 Wrapped Stitch Hearts and glued the Poppystamps 1825 Big Luxe Love to the side for a simple collage.

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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!

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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.

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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!



Wow!!! Neat . Looks great. A new area for me to investigate and try! Thanks for sharing!!!

Always love your videos....great tips for the curling....has happened to me many times with poor results. Now I know what to do. Thank you.

Can't you also die cut shrink plastic?

Thanks for the inspiration....my mind is racing now. LOL

Beautiful work - I like your die cuts very much!

So glad to see shrink plastic is back ! Used it years ago and it and kinda went out of style ! Loved this video and hope to see more ! Thanks so much !

Oh my goodness ! This is such a fun technique ! And I would never have expected such an intense result !!

I love shrink plastic and these are really pretty. Never tried black so that was interesting. I used shrink plastic on the project I entered for the challenge this month. Hugz

This is so pretty, Dave! I can see adding a pin back to the heart to make it a little gift along with the card. Thanks for sharing!

love how intense the colours become and some fab cards once again thank you.

Dave, thanks for bringing this fun and creative technique to the forefront of my brain! You always make things look so easy. Loved the tip on how to uncurl the shrink wrap. Im going out now to buy some shrink wrap!

This brings back some memories! An oldie but goodie. I'd forgotten how fun this was. I'll have to bring this back into my work. Thanks,

This is wonderful! I don't even like coloring much, but this makes me want to!

Pre-sanded shrink plastic is available by Grafix and maybe other companies. I wonder if it works as well?

Thank you!

Fabulous. I have not used shrink plastic in years but loved it back then. Funny how fun stuff recirculates itself. Dave I have always enjoyed all your work and always think back to the first time I met you. I still enjoy your book that you autographed. Thanks.

VERY PRETTY! Your cards are GREAT, Dave! LOOOOVE that heart & LOOOVE those VIVID COLORS!!! ;)

I used a couple pieces of card stock that have a piece of screen glued between & then place my shrink plastic under it & heat it up that way. It keeps the plastic from curling up on you!

That is really cute and fun. I will try it with my tea cup and tea pot dies!

You're right, Dave. Each is an art piece! Love them all. Thanks for the video...

What a fantastic idea!! Two of my favorite things, shrinky dinks and cards! What's not to like?

Wow, that really is the stamp for that technique. It also looks like a fun stamp to color. Great job as usual!!

so cool. thanks for the tips with the tape roll.

Wow I always thought shrink plastic had to go in the oven. I will try to follow your directions, what fun. Thank you.

Michaels sells the Shrink-a-dink brand and they have clear, black and rough & ready which is a cloudy rough white or frosted shade. This product shrinks down 8 times from the original size...You can also punch a hole in your project and loop a charm onto the project! Thanks for sharing....brings back memories! :)

Wow--these are wonderful! Can't have everything, so I drew the line at shrink plastic, but love seeing your projects!

Great card, love the heart die. I will have to try the technique.

It's been quite awhile since I played with "Shrinkydinks"! Thanks for reminding me how much fun it is. Love your hearts.

I have some, I will have to give it a try again, these look great!

Again Dave, you never disappoint! The coloring in this heart is truly eye catching and the process is a breeze. The possibilities are limitless; ie. fun charms for jewelry, using pin backs to create pins, and of course charms for your cards. If creating charms to be strung, be sure to punch the hole in the charm before shrinking or it will shrink closed or or too minuscule to be useful. Good video and it's fun to bring something from the past to the forefront with a fresh take on it. Enjoyed!

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