Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shrinky Dinky do!

As my first post, I planned on introducing myself, the kinds of crafts I do, why I started this blog, all about me, blah blah blah… but then I got too excited about a possible project so I'm going to tell you all about why this craft idea has me awake at 10:00 am without sleeping since the night before and starting a blog for the first time so I can talk about. I can bore you with all that in another post when I can't sleep again and find myself watching infomercials whilst eating entire pints of Ben and Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie… not that I ever do that…

I don't remember these Dinks at my daycare…
Shrinky Dinks. I think, or hope, we all remember them from our distant childhoods (yes, as 25 my childhood is still pretty distant!). We colored them in with crayons and colored pencils, stuck them in the oven, or in my case, the toaster oven at daycare, and delighted as they curled and shriveled and finally settled down and lot and behold! Tiny little versions of what we colored in! If you were anything like me, the "dinks" were not too spectacular. Just some pre-stamped outline or cartoon that you hastily colored in, probably not even in the lines, sloppily cut out, but it was more the fun of watching the thing shrink up like a plastic Benjamin Button that drew us to choose Shrinky Dinks during crafts time. And of course, being kids, we threw them away or stuffed them into our cubbies along with the rest of the projects we didn't care about. If it was lucky, the dink joined our keychains (if you were into that kind of thing), but in the end, nothing really came of these afternoon-at-daycare creations. And that's all that Shrinky Dinks can ever expect to be, right?


I never gave a thought to this activity that I was once enthusiastic about until I stumbled upon a package of shrink plastic at one of the many craft stores I frequent and thought, "oh yeah, I remember those, haha, what would anyone do with shrink paper as an adult?" and went along my way. But as I browsed the aisles I got thinking. And then when I got home and continued my current project at the time (custom Christmas cards, but that's another post) I really got thinking. What could I do with shrink plastic? I wondered what anyone els did what the stuff, too, so I got to googling. Oh dear, shouldn't have done that. The possibilities are surprisingly endless. Some people make adorable custom buttons. Many make fun beads. The great thing about the stuff is that you can make anything that you use made of plastic totally custom. You can make the perfect buttons to match that blouse you're sewing. Beading a necklace and want a pendant with just the right colors and size?  Want to make a little sticker charm for your scrapbook, but don't want to pay $5 for those expensive, albeit adorable, stickers they sell at the scrapbooking places? Well, Shrinky Dink that shiz up!

When I first discovered Shrinky Dinks had not indeed gone out of existence, I was on a time crunch to get my cards to friends and family before Christmas and thus far to busy to bother myself with another project. Apparently when I got the great idea to make  handmade cards I forgot they need to get to loved ones before the 25th and I have yet to hone my teleportation skills and still relied on the good people of the United States post office to deliver said cards. Anyway, the dinks were put on the back burner for a while. In fact, after I finished the cards, crafting in general was kind of disregarded. You see, I had not crafted in months, years, in fact for a myriad of reasons and had only made the cards out of shear boredom and a chance encounter with a bucket of Christmas-themed foam stickers at Target and it kind of snowballed into a rather time consuming project. And since I had not crafted in so long, once that task was completed I put my supplies away once again and returned to boredom. But the craft bug bit me and I started getting antsy… and inspired. I saw the TOMS flag that came with my new shoes and saw it was just itching to be made into a wallet. And then my poor laptop has gone months without a safe mode of travel and was begging for a sleeve to be made for it. Sigh. I guess I'll have to whip out the ol' '76 Singer sewing machine and get started (again, a topic for its own post).

This all brings me to Shrinky Dinks. After months of spiritual awakening and finally quenching my soul's yearning for arts and crafts, I finally find myself back to the topic of shrink paper. I bought some on one of my bi-weekly pilgrimages at Joann Fabrics in a haul of beads, fabric, wire, cork, paint, you name it, so it didn't get the attention it deserved at the time and ended up, once again, in my "to craft" pile. My original intention for the plastic was scrapped, but now, I finally find myself in the position to use it to its full potential now that I'm back in the land of jewelry making.'

But what to do with it? I could make a pendant, but on its own it's nothing all that special; it'll look like I bought a colorful bead at the store. How to make it shine? I've decided on some mixed media sort of application. Since all my metals are currently taking over my craft space it seems the perfect opportunity to explore what I can do with metal sheets, wire, beads, and the star of the show (finally!) drum roll please Shrinky Dinks! I've been having fun with rivets and eyelets, as well as hammering low gauge wire and using it as a frame so I think I'll try to combine those elements with sheet metal into a pendant or maybe even a funky cuff. Best thing about the endless possibilities of shrink plastic is that it gives me an excuse to return to the craft store yet again to get even more supplies. I'm hoping to find a nice sampler of acrylic paints so I don't have to rely on boring old colored pencils to decorate the plastic.

I'll keep you posted on the what becomes the official Shrinky Dink project and how it turns out! Thanks for reading!

Diabeatles Out

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