Remember Aims of Big Blue Barn Designs? She is a great friend of mine who lives in Alberta, Canada, who wowed many of us with her unique mobile jewelry design shop a while ago. You can read my post on how she single-handedly repaired and repainted an old fibreglass trailer of hers to use for her summertime outdoor craft shows. She also sells through her online shop as well as her local hair salon. 

Aims was wondering what her next collection would be when her husband suggesting drawing on shrink plastic because she so enjoyed painting her trailer!

She was initially skeptical about using shrink plastic, such as the Shrinky Dinks brand. She said:
The whole shrink plastic experience was an eye opener. At first the name 'shrinky dinks' threw me off. To me it seemed 'cheap'? But when that plastic shrinks up and becomes thicker I was truly amazed. Then the resin on both sides makes them seem well worth the prices I put on my pieces and got orders for immediately at the salon.
Aims went back to my blog to look up the tutorials I wrote about (they are linked at the end) especially the one on easy charms and pins. 

She so enjoyed the technique that she created dozens of designs, and not just of her little trailer! Some of her designs have been photographed for her website. The rest are quick photos she sent to me. 

Most of her designs were drawn using Prismacolor pencils
She was so excited to find a green which matched her trailer! She much prefered the results over using marker pens. The colors have to be lighter as they darken when the plastic is shrunk down. Also note that a test of whatever shrink plastic you use should be made to determine what the shrinkage will be. If it shrinks by 3 times, then your original drawing should be 3 times larger. 

I haven't had much luck with alcohol inks on shrink plastic. Aims says she used these on her bee wings and dragonflies. Her advice is to go very slow using a straw to blow the ink around gently. A hair dryer on cool to dry each alcohol ink drop works well before layering with another ink drop.

She used her Cricut to cut out the trailer shapes but otherwise scissors should suffice. You can sand the edges of the shrunk plastic if you have too.

Aims has a unique problem in that her attic studio is too cold to cure epoxy resin in the winter time. So she used UV resin. She used the JDiction brand which she says has no odor. As you know, ventilation is key for working with resin (see my past post on safety precautions). She has a fume extractor in her studio and she cures it several feet away from her desk i.e. she is not working right over it while it is curing. She coats her pieces front and back. 
And one of my happiest moments was discovering I could make my own earring post findings. That was truly exciting for me. I'm only going to be limited by my own imagination when I make earrings going forward. I even had a good look at some of the findings I got which I thought I was going to use in making polymer clay earrings.
She is also intrigued with the possibility of molding shrink plastic after she went back to the post about ArtMaker58's shrink plastic molds

Thanks Aims for letting me share your adventures with shrink plastic and your lovely designs. It's pretty clear that you are not yet done with this technique!

Before You Go :

jewelry making supplies


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM