I love making things for our dolls from supplies or objects that you don’t normally associate with dolls, but I don’t like to spend a lot of extra money on supplies if I don’t have to. I was recently given the opportunity to try out a new craft supply source, Consumer Crafts, and select some craft supplies to make something I hadn’t made before. Consumer Crafts carries a lot of the same supplies that your local craft store does, just at a much lower price. I was amazed at how many supplies I was able to get with my gift credit – enough to do quite a few more doll crafts over the next few months!
I loved Shrinky Dinks as a child and got way too much amusement watching the plastic shrivel up and transform itself into a thick hard shape. I was thinking that Shrinky Dinks would make great jewelry for our dolls but I didn’t really like the pre-printed designs I found and the thought of drawing my own designs didn’t sound too appealing either. Then I had an idea – what about printing images I made on the computer onto the shrinky material – could it be done? OF COURSE IT COULD! Easy, peasy!
Supplies needed for doll shrinky charms:
- Shrink Multi-purpose Plastic Shrink Film
- Sandpaper (the finer grit the better)
- Ink jet printer
- Hole Punch
- Parchment paper
- Oven (or toaster oven)
- Ribbon, necklace, yarn or embroidery thread
- Small Jump rings
- Jewelry tweezers or pliers
When you first open the Shrink plastic film it is smooth and shiny on both sides. This is fine for certain techniques, however, if you are going to run this through your inkjet printer like I did, you have to rough up one side so the ink will stick.
Step 1 – Using your sandpaper, sand the entire surface – first in a vertical stripe pattern, then diagonally one way and then diagonally the other way.
Step 2 – Wipe sanding dust off with damp paper towel
Step 3 – Create your images on your computer using any software you wish – Microsoft Word, Publisher, Photoshop, or what ever you can print from. If you are using words in your designs, flip them horizontal so when you have your finished product the words read properly from the shiny side (yes, I made this mistake as you will see below).
Step 4 – Look very closely at the diagrams on your printer so that you feed your Shrink sheet into your Ink Jet printer so that the ink will be printed on the rough side. This is extremely important! And DO NOT feed this through a laser printer – it will melt and ruin your printer instantly!
Here is what my Shrink sheet looked like right out of the printer. Notice the colors are a bit subdued – they will brighten up once they are heated. You can also see I forgot to flip my images over horizontally so that when the images are done you can read the sayings from the shiny side.
Step 5 – Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees (kids, please get help from a grown up for the steps involving the oven!)
Step 6 – Line a cookie sheet with Parchment Paper – aluminum foil will work in a pinch
Step 7 – Cut out your individual images and place them rough side up on the parchment paper. Be careful not to touch the ink – it will smear.
Step 8 – Use a hole punch to punch a hole for the jump ring or string to go through
As the charms heat up they will start to shrink. As they go through this process they will curl up, look deformed and be very entertaining to watch. I wish I would have been running the video camera last night when Natalie and I were making the practice round of these. She was hilarious – she just got so excited watching the transformation. It was a lot of fun. This would be a great activity to do with a group of friends or for a party.
Actually after I finished making this batch and doing the photography I thought of two more great uses for the Shrink film for dolls. You could put images of meals on plates in your document and print out “plates of food” for your dolls, cut them out and shrink them down. Now that would be fun. I have two more sheets left. I may have to try that later.
Step 9 – Once your charms have shrunk themselves completely flat (5-7 min.), remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Step 10 - Apply a light coat of clear nail polish or spray clear sealant on the rough side to prevent smearing or ink transfer. Let dry.
Step 11 – Using pliers or jewelry tweezers, open the jump rings and put into the holes left by the hole punch. If you don’t have jump rings, you can simply thread your ribbon or string through the hole.
Step 12 – Use one charm – or stack 2-3 charms – and thread ribbon, yarn or embroidery floss through the jump ring.
Step 13 – Tie around your doll’s neck. You can choose how long to make the necklace and it would even be cute as a choker necklace too. Get creative!
Natalie had so much fun making these that she made a whole set based on icons that represent her interests and she put them on her charm bracelet this morning. I was going to take a photo of it, but she wore it to school! You can see some of different pictures we used – everything from the Eiffel Tower to pictures of our favorite dolls and everything in between.
Consumer Crafts is also having a Refer A Friend contest going on now! You could win one of six $250 shopping spree prizes (trust me, that will get you craft supplies for the dolls to last a long, long, time!) – just click on the image for details.
Disclosure: This post was compensated by Consumer Crafts. All opinions are 100% mine.