As an artist, I can safely say I love every medium. Now, I’m not saying i have every craft supply completely figured out or the end result will be a masterpiece, but a love just the same. In this past year I have experimented with embroidery, rediscovered my excitement for printmaking, and even tried to sew a summer dress for my daughter. Not everything has worked out as planned, and I am well aware that I have no business touching any 3-dimensional material such as clay, ever again.
Today I found a new craft material which I foresee a lifelong love affair with. Shrink plastic. You might remember shrink plastic marketed as Shrinky Dinks from when you were a child. A thin sheet of plastic which can be drawn or painted on, cured in your oven, and resulting in a shrunken, thicker, and more vibrant version of your work of art. Shrink plastic has since grown up and many adults see it as a medium for scrapbooking, decorations and jewelry.
On almost every website that offered a shrink plastic tutorial, testing a square before your actual design was highly recommended. But guess what? That’s not exactly how I roll. I lieu of my sister’s upcoming birthday, I decided to make her a necklace featuring her beloved Great Danes, Abby and Emma.
As it turns out, I was completely thrilled with my first attempt using shrink plastic. I chose to use only standard black Sharpie markers, instead of getting all crazy with color for fear of making a muddled mess. Some of my sister’s Facebook photos of “her girls” were used as reference. I ignored the enclosed instructions of an oven temperature of 325 degrees Fahrenheit and decided to play it safe at 275. I did however, seal both sides with clear glossy varnish as suggested by many. Overall, I see a lot of shrink plastic in my future.
I bought my shrink plastic from Artistic Supplies on Etsy.
I’m the first to admit that I haven’t been feeling all that festive for holidays this year. Between running an Etsy shop and our house been taken over by the terrible two’s, if there is any sort of celebratory decorating happening, it has to be quick. Today I made a simple hanging heart garland using craft eco-felt and baker’s twine. Once you have all of your supplies in order, it seriously only takes a matter of minutes to add a hint of romance to any of your household spaces.
You will need:
one piece of scrap paper, any weight.
a thin sharpie marker
sheets or scraps of wool felt, various colors
contrasting bakers twine (I used a black/natural twine I got from KNOT & BOW)
a large sewing/embroidery needle
You could go ahead and free-style your felt hearts if you desire, or make a simple template like I did. Just like you might remember from some sort of grade school craft assignment, fold your paper in half and draw one half of a heart shape against the folded edge. After drawing two types of hearts, I chose to go with the more stretched out heart look. I made my hearts approximately 4 inches square. Cut paper heart out.
Layer your sheets of felt in a neat stack and scotch tape your paper heart to the top sheet. Cut out using very sharp scissors, making sure to firmly hold stack of felt in place. There is no science to this step, you will have some wonky looking heart on the bottom of your stack. Simply shape that one (or two) separately, using your scissors. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This is just a time saver, believe it or not.
Take your time and thread your baker’s twine through the eye of your needle. Keep in mind, your chosen needle’s eye has to be quite large for this to work. I bought a standard package of embroidery needles and used the largest one. Then, hand sew a running stitch along the center of all of your felt hearts, alternating in colors. This last step really flies by, so it would be almost effortless to make a super long strand of this garland.
When you have sewn all of your felt cut-outs, make sure you leave a good amount of twine on either end to tie a small bow or for hanging.
As I mentioned above, if you are looking for a great place to find baker’s twine, KNOT & BOW on Etsy has some pretty good deals from time to time. Eco-felt can be found at any craft supply store or at shops such as Felt For Less on Etsy. This project cost me about $2.50 in supplies and only 15 minutes of a very much needed toddler-naptime.