Using shrink plastic to make brooches

The brooch packs include sheets of shrink plastic. We used it to make brooches, Christmas decorations and even keyrings at the offline craft group for people with learning disabilities. It became quite an experience as we could make it is so that everyone could see the plastic curling and moving as it shrank.

We put it in a halogen oven that was effectively a large heated glass bowl. The cooker then went on a projector stand that we could move around the room.

Shrink plastic

Shrink plastic does what the name implies it shrinks. The idea is that you cut it into the desired shape then put it in a moderate oven for a few minutes. When you take it out it has shrunk dramatically. If you have an oven that you can see into it you will see it moving and curly as it shrinks.

This is amazing stuff that can be used to create some lovely brooches. We have managed to get hold of seven colours i.e. clear, frosted, white, pink, yellow, blue and black.

Each pack contains three sheets all different colours. Part of the excitement of opening these packs is finding out what colour of shrink plastic has been included.

Making the brooches

The packs contain 3 pieces of shrink plastic, a wooden shape to draw around and 3 brooch pins.  The shrink plastic has a rough side and a glossy side. The rough side can be drawn on with a pencil or even coloured with pencil crayons or gel pens.

Let’s get started

Take a piece of plastic and place it rough side up. then take the wooden template and draw around it with a pencil.

Move the template to make sure that you have a good outline that you can use as a guide when cutting out the shape.

Cut out the shape. It is a good idea to take some care with this as it has a considerable impact on the finished article.

It sounds daft but the next thing you need to create a good finish is an ordinary pencil rubber. The chances are that there will be traces of pencil left around the cut edges that can be removed by a rubber.

The next part of the process to decorate the shape. As I said at the beginning you can use ordinary pencil crayons or gel pens to do this. You could add facial features to make the creatures more realistic or add patterns to make them anything but realistic.  Or you could just leave it plain the choice is yours. If you are using black shrink plastic a white crayon is a good way of adding extra detail.

Time to get cooking. Put the plastic shape on a foil lined baking tray and put it in a moderate oven., or more precisely 175C (350F) or gas mark 3.

It will only take a few minutes to shrink the plastic so check after about 5 minutes if you are not watching through the glass..

The plastic stays flexible for a minute or two after it comes out of the oven. So if it is not lying flat then put it back in the oven. Go and get a book or a table mat. Take the plastic out of the oven and put the book or mat on top of it.

The final task is sticking the pin to the plastic. This can be done with superglue. By the way you can choose which is the right and wrong side. When one of your principels is instructiosn are not chains then that is not a problem.

One of the things we did in the craft group was to enable people to add one or two of the stick on jewels that can be bought from craft shops. White jewels on a black crown looked fantastic.

Scroll to Top