Friday, April 12, 2013

Jewelry Making from Recycled Plastic (Fun with Shrinking!)

 We have discovered a new fun and free craft at our house: Shrinky Dinks - except using containers that would have otherwise been trashed. I found the idea on Pinterest with a link to Rust & Sun and thought it looked fun and after I discovered that we had a container on hand that would work then Mara and I (with others soon joining in) gave it a try.

This is a very fun and easy way to make very personalized jewelry. We have also made buttons, zipper pulls and beads and are trying to think of other fun ways to use this.

 Here is what you need:
  • Plastic containers that are #6 plastic. Where you will often find this is to go containers that you get at a Salad bar, or store bought cookies, etc. Clear plastic works best we have found.
  • Permanent markers. Lots of colors is fun.
  • Scissors
  • Paper Punches are good for making holes.
  • An oven (or toaster oven).
  • I also read (and plan to try) that sealing with clear fingernail polish or polyurethane is good.
  • Cookie sheet with paper on it.

 Cut whatever shapes out of plastic that you like. Then design as you like with markers. If you want to use it for a necklace or something like that then punch a hole in it with a paper punch (the hole shrinks to pretty tiny- which is rather fun!).
 Lay them all out on a cookie sheet and then bake for a minute or so at 350 degrees. They will curl up and shrink and kind of wiggle around and then most of them will lay flat and at that point they are done and ready to come out.

 Some of our first projects where bracelets for two of my sisters for their birthdays. Mara put together the one with a chain and I made one using elastic and beads.
 This one that I made for Anna I had fun making with little squares that I had drawn all the members of her family on and then I put their names on them as well. It was a pretty fun project.
 I thought I would mention a couple of things that we tried that didn't work:

We tried using black #6 plastic and it simply didn't shrink like the clear stuff did. We had thought it would work great to make a lot of buttons but that project went into the trash.

We also tried #5 plastic - It looked a lot like #6 so we thought maybe it would work - it didn't. The clear stuff did turn white and It may have thickened just a tiny bit but not much.

  We also tried using plastic cups that were a translucent white and #6. That had various results. The round flower above was from the bottom of the cup and worked pretty well. Some of the sides of the cup kind of worked too (they didn't shrink in a consistent manor though) and a lot of the ones from the side simply curled up. We think there is potential to use them in other ways.

When you make these they will shrink quite a bit, something like 4 times smaller. So prepare for that when making your projects. You want to make them big enough to be useful but not to big as several of the bigger things we have made have curled up and have never flattened out again.

 For more instructions on doing this you can visit Instructables.

  We very, very rarely buy anything that comes in containers like this but we were happy to find that I had saved a couple in the craft area that had in some way made it to our house. Then one day when Mara was cleaning Ken's office she found that his employees got them and she was able to salvage some and then they offered to save them for her in the future. Yea! We also thought we would keep our eye open for them when we help clean up after potlucks.

 Have you ever made anything like this? What do you think you would do with plastic that shrinks?

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Anonymous said...

oh my gosh... how fun is that? I always wondered if there was some sort of plastic you could use in the shrinky dink manner... thanks for sharing. I'm posting! Little Bit

Kerry H said...

Thank you for stopping by Old Fashioned Girls! Looks like we have a lot in common for sure!

Tammy M said...

How Fun! Can't wait to try this with my boys! Thank you for posting this!

Melissa said...

I've wanted to try this in the past but like you we simply don't get the right kind of foods in our house (or maybe I should say wrong). I've tried with other things and like you we've found that it just doesn't work. I found it disappointing but at the same time, I have no intention of eating what comes in those containers so... :)


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