Thursday, January 28, 2021

My love affair with shrinkets

Long ago during the height of my bead career I toyed with shrink plastic a bit.  I had designed the dream keeper vessel ring and needed a material to put 'the dream' safely inside the ring.  It needed to be sturdy and at least somewhat water proof.  I hit upon shrink plastic being a good medium for that and developed a template that could be stamped or written on to reflect whatever sentiment was wanted.  Once tucked in to the ring it would not be seen, but the wearer would know what it said.  You can still purchase the tutorial and if you're into shrink plastic and beads it might be a fun bead for you.

It sure was a pretty ring and I had fun with colors.

I dabbled with some earrings in shrink plastic but that was the extent of my play until....

I met Julie Haymaker in Tucson last year and was introduced to her line of shrink plastic,  but much more importantly her line of silicone molds which made the warm plastic into 3d shapes.  Oh what fun I've had.

Julie has a full line of shrink plastic products on her website.  It's a reasonably affordable medium to begin to dabble in requiring some shrink plastic, a heat gun, a couple of molds and some type of coloration.  I've used stamps, prisma pencils, alcohol ink pencils and even printing in my inkjet printer although this takes some practice and a spray on fixative to make it permanent.

Be sure to check out Julie's videos as well, there is a lot of good information for learning to use the plastic in interesting ways.

The other thing I especially like about the medium is that it's relatively easy to develop one's own style.  I'm heavily inspired by Julie's makes, but have managed to eek out my own style of coloring to differentiate my flowers.  The finished shrinkets are fun to put into jewelry, or stack on top of bottles,  or put into a shadow box.

Since I used illustrator in my bead weaving career I decided to use it to make some shapes that I could cut out and shrink.  Julie reached out to me and now you too can use my shapes because Julie had them made into pre-cuts.  Pre-cuts are a great way to jump right in and get started.  It's one of the things available on Julie's site to make your journey easy to start.

Here are a couple of examples of my recent love affair with bottle top art!   The large flowers I ran through the inkjet to add the script of peace and love.  I sprayed it with krylon matte fixative before and after shrinking.

Here are some examples of my foray into pendants

and one of  a series of Peace and Love earrings I made, also using the inkjet printer and fixative.

Here is a larger piece that I did for a challenge in Julie's facebook group Shrinkets, shrink plastic beads and art.  If you're on facebook, it's a great group to join.  Lot's of inspiration and lots of information on how to get started.

I hope you're getting the idea of the versatility of the medium!