Yo! If you wanna make your ass some fresh ice without having to drop some mad green, this bangin' Shrinky Dink tutorial is for you, kid.
Make Your Own Shrinky Dinks Bling
Or, how to Make (fake) Bling Without Breaking the Bank
You'll need the following materials:
Frosted shrink plastic - 1 sheet
Black permanent marker
Tacky glue (I used Aileen's Fast Grip)
Assorted plastic rhinestones (at Michaels, for $3 for a package of 144)
Jump ring (approx. 7 mm)
Ball chain necklace
Parchment paper or a non-stick craft mat
You'll also need access to an oven or toaster oven.
Draw your design on a sheet of scrap paper. I made a money sign because I'm so money, baby. You could also find a great free font online with Grafitti style lettering (mine's called Graffonti) and make a bling initial necklace. The size of my design is an 8.5 x 11 sheet of printer paper folded in half. Your design will shrink to about a third of the original starting size. (You'll see an example later to help you gauge.)
Once you have a design you like, trace the design onto the shrink plastic.
You can actually draw on either the frosted or the non-frosted side of the plastic, but I recommend the frosted because it smears less.
In order to converse your shrink plastic and have enough left to make another sick pendant, keep your design as close to the edge as possible. If you want to add additional colors to your design, you can use colored pencils or permanent markers to do so.
Next, carefully cut around the edge of your design. Be careful with corners, because it's really easy to break shrinky dinks. I tell my students to cut slowly and carefully to avoid problems. Cut fast at your own peril, yo.
As you can see in the picture above, I experimented with cutting out the interior of the letter (the bottom of the $). This did not work really well. You could certainly use an exacto blade and a cutting mat and get a perfect edge, but since this project was designed for middle school boys, I figured no way did I want to bring razor-sharp objects into the classroom. I colored the top of the $ black in the center, and this looked just fine, especially if you are wearing a black shirt.
When you are done, you will now use a regular old hole punch to punch a hole in your design. This is where you will use a jump ring to attach your pendant to your chain.
Don't be in such a hurry that you skip this step! Adding a hole after shrinking does not work. Shrink plastic becomes hard and rather brittle. You could try drilling it, but you'll likely ruin your piece. Punch the hole first and you don't have to worry about it. I use an ordinary-sized hole punch. Remember that the hole shrinks, too, so you don't want to use a small punch or you might find your hole closes right up.
Preheat your toaster oven to 300 degrees F. Place your pendant shiny side down on your non-stick mat (or parchment paper). Place into the oven and watch the magic happen.
Step 1: Your pendant will curl up all crazy-like and you will panic thinking that it's going to mess up completely.
Step 2: Your pendant will start to unfurl and flatten out again. You can breathe again now. When your pendant flattens out completely, count to 10 then remove the tray from the oven. Use an oven mitt, stupid!
Cautionary notes: I didn't want to tell you this earlier, in case you freaked, but sometimes, very rarely, your shrink curling into itself will stay stuck. If this happens, or seems to be happening, just pull out the tray, grab the shrinky and pull it apart. This might hurt your fingers, but will probably hurt less than having your design destroyed. This happens most often with larger sized shrinkies (1/2 of an 8x10 sheet or bigger; smaller ones usually don't have this happen.) If it looks all crazy bumpy after you do this, put it back in the oven, upside down, and shrink for a few more seconds. It will flatten out again.
Another note of caution: be careful not to overbake, especially if you are using parchment paper. If you don't pull out the shrinky soon after it flattens, it can get stuck to the parchment paper. This can be solved by running the shrinky under water until the paper softens enough to remove it. This is a pain if you have a class full of students though, so try to avoid it. I have yet to have anything stick permanently to my non-stick craft mat. It was $10 and well worth it! I can't remember the brand, but I found it at michael's near the embossing supplies.
Note the size difference between the starting design and the finished item. I'd guess that the finished shrinky is about 1/3 the size of the starting size, but I'm not exactly a math whiz, yo. With a little practice, you'll figure out the best sizes for your projects. You totally could measure your pre-shrunk and post-shrunk designs to come up with a formula that will tell you exactly how much your piece will shrink, but who has time for all that?
Now that you're shrunk, it's time to add your bling.
Working in small sections on your piece (on the front of the pendant, if you had any doubt), add a thick layer of tacky glue. Begin adding gems one by one in the design you like. For this pendant I completely covered the design in bling, but you could do only an outline or something else if you want. To place the gems, you could use tweezers or a special tool for gem-setting, but I found that for me, and for my middle school students, simply pressing your finger onto the top (sparkly side) of your gem will work. The gem will stick to your finger long enough for you to position it and press it into place.
Don't worry about having a thick layer of glue. The glue will dry clear, so you won't notice the thick parts when it's dry.
When the pendant is finished to your liking, put it away in a safe place to dry overnight. The next day, use a jump ring to attach your ball chain necklace, and BAM, you've got yourself some fresh bling, my friend.