Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Homemade Shrinky Dink Luggage Tag

It's my great shame to admit that, even though I was born in the 80s, I don't remember trying Shrinky Dinks as a kid. I know, I know . . .but better late than never, right?

I did a bit of online research on homemade polyshrink plastic. Since I wanted to buy lots of fun markers and colored pencils, I wanted to save some money on the shrink plastic. According to many of the sites I came across, #6 clear plastics could be used as homemade shrinky dinks! Recycled bakery containers, what what!?! Be sure to look for the little triangle on the plastic--there should be a 6 in it. Don't be fooled by the #1s!

#6 clear plastic
Fine sandpaper (I used 220 grit)
Sharpies (I haven't tried colored pencils yet, but I know many crafters use them for Shrinky Dinks)
Chalk Ink
Parchment Paper
Baking Sheet

Once I washed and dried my plastic, I cut a tag shape from the smooth lid of the bakery container. Through trial and error, I learned that the plastic shrinks A LOT. The tags I made shrank by 50% along each side. So keep that in mind when you're trying to figure out the initial size. I sanded each side with fine sandpaper (220 grit) to help the color adhere to the plastic. I used a black Sharpie to put my design on the tag--the address went on top, the other images went on the back side. I like the layered effect it made. Once the markings dried, I used chalk ink to create a parchment-esque background on the back surface of the tag.

While the chalk dried, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F. I put my tag, chalk side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put it in the heated oven for about 2-3 minutes. It's terrifying to watch! The tag curled up into a plastic mess, but eventually flattened back out.

I decided to seal my tag to prevent the color from rubbing off. This is by no means a perfect process, but I decided to spray clear coat on the tag first, then apply a thicker glaze. I used Rustoleum's acrylic clear coat in a matte finish. The key is to hold the can far away from the piece and spray in short bursts. Allow to dry, then repeat until the piece is well-coated. Allowing the sealants to pool on the surface could cause the ink to run. Once the clear coat was dry, I put on a triple thick crystal glaze. It dried into a transparent, hard coating. A halo formed around the images on the back of the tag (maybe from the chalk ink?) But otherwise I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, especially for a first project.

Hopefully I'll find some time in the next week to do more shrinking. I'm thinking zipper pulls and barettes! Be creative and enjoy!

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