My photos are, once again, dark, but several of these projects are gifts that are going out the door first thing in the morning, so nighttime photos were the best I could do. (Excuses, always excuses.)
Finishing the two bracelets pictured above tonight nearly killed me. I only had three sheets of printable shrink plastic, I needed these done by tomorrow, and I had mishaps with the first two sheets–one misprinted when my printer reset the paper size away from what I’d selected, and the second batch curled up irreparably in the oven. For the last attempt, I had success at keeping them flat by sandwiching them between two pie tins while baking. I think my shink film was just old and poor quality–but I didn’t discover that in time to replace it before tomorrow.
These are gifts for Rose and Henry’s teachers, and although in the end they turned out cute, I want to make some that are more wearable (with flowers or something else pretty) when the school does a teacher appreciation day in the spring.
Oh, I did have a stroke of genius to help me use the sheet of ink jet shrink film efficiently. I punched a bunch of the flowers out of white paper and then arrayed them on a piece of colored paper and scanned it. Then I used that as my template in Photoshop, and arranged all the scanned drawings to fit into the flower shapes. When it was time to print, I made the template layer invisible, so only the drawings printed, placed correctly. Then I followed the array of my template to punch out the shapes from the printed film.
My template with images in Photoshop. The pink background and flower cutouts were a separate layer that I hid for printing. Next time I won’t space the cutouts quite so closely, since that did make it tricky to punch out the shapes.
Here’s the rest of what I’ve been making. I borrowed the idea for the forget-me-not bracelet from my friend Trina. For the other cupped flowers, I again used Just Something I Made’s idea of wrapping the flowers around the end of a paintbrush while they’re still warm, only instead of placing them on a piece of craft foam, I just held a hot pad behind them. (With this method they tend to end up a little lopsided, but I like them that way.) I haven’t made anything out of the pink cherry blossoms yet, but I know my mom will want to see them anyway.
Next-morning update–here are a few things I’ve learned from trial and error:
My non-printable shrink plastic sheets didn’t come with a surface designed to be drawn on (although I’ve heard you can buy that kind). The instructions say to lightly sand the plastic in a criss-cross motion to prep the surface for coloring with pen or marker. This does work and is necessary with pencil, but you can see the tiny grooves in the beads, so I decided Sharpies on unsanded shrink film are easier and get a nice result. My sister Lili says that in ones she’s made in the past, the marker will tend to chip off fairly quickly, so when I’m patient I’ve been spraying the beads with clear shellac–but sometimes I don’t bother.
It’s only necessary to color one side of the clear film since the color shows through, but both if you want both sides of the opaque stuff colored. And colors will always be twice as intense after shrinking. Of the forget-me-nots pictured above, the ones that are almost turquoise were colored pencil on sanded plastic, and the darker ones were a single coat of a pale blue Sharpie–it’s much more pale before baking.
For a couple more hints, see this previous post.