Tutorial! Shrink Plastic Charms

This is my FIRST EVER tutorial!  Let me know what you think, but be kind, please.  lol  Seriously, if I miss anything, or if there is anything I could do better, please let me know!

Supplies & Tools Needed:

Hole punch (I used Crop-a-dile)

Shrink plastic (I used Shrinky Dinks)

Stamps of your choice

Shape punch (I used Stampin’ up scalloped circle, and Marvy Uchida square scalloped punch)

Heat tool


Permanent markers for colouring/tracing (I used fine point Sharpies)

Solvent ink pad (I used Stazon)

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for shrink plastic.  However, I didn’t bake mine in the oven – I used my heat gun.   I have used the oven before, and didn’t have much success with it.  The charms would curl, and stick to themselves.

Step 1:  Punch out shapes.  You can stamp first, and then cut out the shapes.  I just prefer to punch first.  If you’re using Stampin’ Up’s punch, you can see where you’re punching, (the lever action allows you to turn it upside down and see the image) – so it does make it easy to stamp first.

Step 2:  Transfer images to shrink plastic – stamp with Stazon, or trace with a permanent marker.  Colour in images, if you wish.

You don’t need to be super-precise with your colouring – the shinking is very forgiving – when you shrink, the colours darken, and any spots you missed are barely noticeable.  Be careful not to touch the stamped portion of the image with your colouring marker – it will bleed into your colour.

3.  Punch one hole (for charm) with hole punch (Crop-a-dile).  I’ve made “buttons” by punching 2 or 4 holes.

4.  Shrink, using heat gun.  This is the tricky part.  I used a piece of corrugated cardboard, and secured the unshrunk charm with a pin.  Then, using tweezers, without touching the plastic too much (it will leave an impression wherever you touch), turn on your heat gun and hold it about 6″ away from the plastic, and keep it moving to distribute heat.  The charm will curl up – use your tweezers to keep it from folding and sticking to itself.  Keep heating until it curls, and then uncurls – remove the pin, try not to blow  your project around with your heat tool, using your tweezers.  Keep the heat gun moving, and don’t overheat – it will burn.  It takes about 10-12 seconds to shrink.  While it’s still warm, you can flatten it out, if needed, with an acrylic block.

It will shrink to about 1/3 of its original size.

There you go!  Give it a try!  Show me your creations – I’d love to see your results!  🙂



10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Dobbyn
    Apr 06, 2008 @ 16:02:04

    Awesome tutorial Kim!! These things are super cute!! Where do you buy the shinky dink plastic???


  2. kimmerbe
    Apr 06, 2008 @ 16:03:30

    I bought it at Michael’s – with a coupon. There are a number of different pkgs – I like the white, and frosted. YOu can also get some that are compatible with an ink jet printer.


  3. Linda SS
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 01:02:14

    Thank you for your tutorial. I will definitely have to try this one:) I love that you came up with an alternative from the oven!


  4. Patty W
    Apr 07, 2008 @ 15:29:47

    Great tutorial Kim ! I sure wish I had that Gruffie stamp! Man… I love those and the House Mouse and oh heck, all of them!


  5. Corinne
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 07:08:46

    Great tutorial, Kim !!! I’m gonna have to try this too 🙂 Love your new blog banner too !!!

    Have a great day and enjoy this gorgeous weather we’re having 🙂


  6. Jocelyne
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 12:26:58

    These are really cute!!! I’ve never used shrink plastic before. I’ll try to remember to find some when I get to a craft store. Thanks for showing!


  7. ellen
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 13:22:00

    is that awesome or what?


  8. Terria
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 13:32:24

    Oh ! this is so neat . Where can we find the shrink plastic?


  9. Sasha C.
    Feb 20, 2009 @ 18:25:01

    Thanks for this!Some people who make charms are stingy in fear someone will copy them and start a whole friggin’ business and they wont make ANY money.Does the ink bleed if you get it wet though,don’t you need a seal?


    • kimmerbe
      Feb 25, 2009 @ 10:41:40

      I have never had the ink bleed when it gets wet. I think the heat to shrink the plastic seals it somehow.


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