I recently acquired an upgrade to my Cricut – the new Explore Air! I am in so much love with this little crafty thing, that I’ve been doing tons of little crafts that allow me to use the die cutter.
I’ve done vinyl projects – monograms on drinking cups, images on plastic catch-all plates, cutesy silhouettes for my machine and a fun shrinky dink cat necklace.
The possibilities with this machine are truly endless, and after watching countless Youtube videos and reading other blogs showcasing how-to guides, I finally feel like I can take the training wheels off and just enjoy my crafting time.
The best part is that I can use the machine to cut out images on various mediums, including shrinky dink paper!
Do you remember shrinky dinks??
I am so excited by them!
Usually I share some amazing recipe, but this post I’ve decided to share my love of shrinky dinks and the little project failures that I (love) have created!!
I’ll also share some hiccups that I’ve encountered as well as the things that I’ve found have worked really well. Trust me, I’ve been playing with these for a while, and I think I finally understand how to get the best look.
First things first though, I bought the shrink film from amazon.com, but I didn’t get Shrinky Dink brand. I have the Graphix Shrink Film in white. I have “real” Shrinky Dink paper, too, but I haven’t opened it up to play with yet. When I do, I will report back on whether it’s very different from Graphix brand.
I don’t mind it so much, and I couldn’t beat the $2.99 price tag, but it does have its drawbacks. It’s fairly simple to use, but there are some issues. First, it’s glossy on both sides, so if you want to use pencils you will need to sand it. Some types of inks don’t work on them either – you will need permanent ink, not pigment. Don’t use pigment ink, period – it won’t dry and you will get frustrated. I’ve found that permanent markers and Staz-On ink pads work best.
I’ve also found that when trying for a solid color finish on a completed shrinky item, spray paint works best. I’ve used sharpies, paint pens and spray paint. In my fail and repeat opinion, spray paint gives a better coating all over versus the paint pens.
**As a note, I use the spray paint, paint pens and sharpies after baking the shrinky paper – but you can use the sharpies and the Staz-On ink pads prior to baking**
Sharpies are alright, but I’ve found that too much ink can erase itself out (I know, that’s so weird, right? But it does, it seems like it picks the color up instead of adding it on). Depending on the type of spray paint you use, it seems to dry faster than the markers, too.
I really wanted a shiny finish on my pieces so I played around with several different mediums before reaching one that I really like.
First, I started with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic – not too thrilled with it. So I moved on to Ranger Ink’s Glossy Accents. Once again, just meh.
Finally, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a spray acrylic gloss finish. Bingo! I definitely, once again, prefer the spray variety over the other options.The biggest downside to painting and finishing these is having to wait! I can be patient, but sometimes I just don’t want to be!!
Also keep in mind that you will want to punch your holes prior to baking. The shrink film gets considerably harder once it’s been in the oven, and that makes it difficult to punch holes afterwards.
Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, I thought I would share a small tutorial.
DIY Kitty Cat Shrinky Necklace
*please note that this project takes a few days to accomplish!*
What you’ll need:
- Cat image (My image is from the Cricut Design Space and is free for subscribers!)
- Scissors or die cutting machine
- Jewelry chain and findings
- Shrinky film
- Spray paint in desired color
- Clear gloss acrylic finish spray paint
What you do:
- Preheat oven according to package instructions.
- Trace and cut out cat image from shrinky film, or do this step with a die cutting machine.
- Using a hole punch, place holes in the cat based on where you want the necklace to hang – I chose to use a precut section of the ear and placed a hole in the tail.
- Bake shrink film for 3-4 minutes or according to package direction.
- Once cool, spray cat with your desired spray paint (in my case, black) and let dry thoroughly.
- Once dry, spray with acrylic finish and allow to dry for 24 hours prior to handling the piece.
- When the cat is completely dry, attach your jump ring(s) and chain.
- Take a million photos of your awesome handmade necklace and wear with pride! I would make sure to avoid long dips in water while wearing, just in case.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating jewelry with shrinky dinks. If you can think it, you can do it! I have a few necklaces in the works right now, one for my sister and one just because.
I am not selling them, so I’ve used inspirations from Pinterest as my first projects. However, from creating these, I’ve begun having ideas about my own projects. It’s pretty exciting!
The “just because” necklace I will share.
This is the inspiration:
These are the components I created for my version:
I fear that this post has gotten a bit long.
So I am going to leave you here!