Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Beginner Techniques

There are a couple of different ways to heat shrink plastic. Either in the oven or with a heat gun. The oven is my favourite and, in my opinion, the easiest way to shrink you designs. The even heat distribution keeps the dimensions equal all over, and it also means you have more time to shape or flatten the piece after taking out the oven.
I've sprayed cream spray paint over this piece of lace trimming to show the change in size once it's been heated. The packet will usually give you examples of different pens, paints and inks that are suitable to use. I like to experiment with other materials as well. Sanding the sheet will help stabilise paints and inks that are not recommended, and once heated most substances should dry on. If your unsure just experiment with a small piece to see how it reacts. (Try not to poison yourself or set anything on fire when heating. Don't leave unattended and keep the room well ventilated!)
I use clean thick cardboard to place the pieces on in the oven. Again please don't leave it unattended because no one wants a fire in the oven. Especially not one that is burning all your new jewellery! Make sure you leave plenty of space around the edge of the cardboard and between each piece. (I've had pieces jump off the edge before and stick to the bottom of the oven... this ended in an  unfortunate episode concluding in fire men knocking some doors down... they did not see the funny side.)
There should be heating instructions that come with you shrink plastic. I usually heat the oven to 170 degrees (Celsius) and leave the shrink plastic in the oven for around 5 minutes. I actually never get bored of watching the plastic curl and shrink. Don't worry it should uncurl, but if it doesn't take it out, pull apart and reheat. You can reheat shrink plastic once it has cooled to reshape. Just make sure you don't leave in the oven too long as it will overheat, and more than likely stick to everything...

Once you've taken it out of the oven flatten between to hard objects or shape using a ring mandrel (more examples of this coming up in the next month)

So that's one way of heating shrink plastic. I'll be writing about using a heat gun to do the same thing next week. I'm off to get ready for the Cosmo Blog Awards tomorrow. You know, paint nails, shave legs etc etc.. It's the first time I'll have met other bloggers and I can't wait to meet everyone!

More on that later this week. Fran x

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