Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Stenciled Shrinky Dink Cuff Bracelet

Hi, Linda Edkins Wyatt here, with a fun project using a children's art product...Shrinky Dinks!

About a year ago, my arty crew introduced me to Shrinky Dinks. I had vaguely heard of Shrinky Dinks but missed that childhood excitement somehow.

Artists Lynda Shoup and Jill McDowell gifted me with a couple sheets of Shrinky Dink film to try out, and my inner child immediately surfaced. I all undertook all kinds of experiments with paints and inks and stamps and stencils. I watched them shrink and curl in the oven, holding my breath and hoping that they would flatten out and turn into something usable. 

For the debut of my Lemurian Garden stencil collection this past summer, I made some earrings and a necklace.  But, I got busy with other projects, tucked the shrink film away in my art closet, and forgot about it for a few months.

To announce my stencil debut,
this shrinky dink earring was made with my Lemurian Spiral stencil.

The necklace, shown on my page of the StencilGirl website,
features the Lemurian Leaf stencil.

For StencilGirl's "wearables" project, I mulled over my many choices: paint some fabric and sew a blouse or skirt or apron; stencil my old clogs in a psychedelic way; or make some stenciled jewelry. I liked the jewelry idea so I started puttering with the shrink film again.

I had a square of hand needle-felted fabric that I made a couple years ago. After felting, I made a "quilt sandwich" of the felt, thin batting, and a pink and green millefleur for the backing. Next, I free-motion quilted the three layers of the "sandwich" with a variety of decorative stitches in an earth-toned variegated thread, with shades of dark brown, gray, and rust. 

When I held some of my previous shrunken pieces next to the felt, I liked the colors and textures together, and the cuff idea emerged.

I cut Shrinky Dink circles with a 2.5" round punch and small holes with a standard punch.

I painted the film white before stenciling and baking. (I discovered, however, that it is better to paint the back white AFTER baking.)

I cut 9 circles, 4 rectangles, and 1 moon shape from a sheet of shrink film.

After painting, I stenciled the film with Archival Ink.

Above are some previous baked creations
for comparison with the unbaked film.

I chose a section of each stencil for my buttons and charms.

Here's the stenciled button, ready to be baked.
It is important to punch the buttonholes BEFORE stenciling.

I stenciled sections of all five of my Lemurian Garden designs onto the shrink film, using both sepia and cobalt Archival Ink. I made circles with my 2.5" round punch, and with the leftover film, cut squares and rectangles.

I made both charms and buttons. For the charms, I used a standard small round punch near the edge, and for the buttons, punched two holes near the center so they could be sewn onto the felt.

I noticed that the stenciled and stamped designs didn't stand out next to the dark felt, so I tried painting the back of the shrink film white before baking. After baking, the white acrylic became gummy and thick, so I decided to paint the backs of the next batch after shrinking.

The stenciled shrink film on parchment paper, ready to bake.

The film curled and buckled in the oven, but eventually flattened out.

I used a spatula to flatten the buttons and charms that were a little buckled.

The section of felted wool was the right length for a cuff, but it was too wide, so I cut it in half. I stitched the raw edge closed on my sewing machine.

Here are the stenciled buttons and charms after baking:

I used a rotary cutter to slice the felted wool in half for the cuff.

I used a blanket stitch on my sewing machine to edge the felted cuff bracelet. 

I tested various combinations of button and charm shapes and colors on top of the wool, and settled on alternating circle and rectangle buttons of both brown and cobalt. For the cuff, buttons seemed more secure than the one-holed charms.

The rectangular buttons were a happy accident...
I intended to cut only circular shapes,
but had leftover film that was cut into rectangles.

I pinned the buttons onto the felt to position them for sewing.

For the closure, I debated the possibilities: velcro? a jewelry closure? a snap? A tied closure with fibers? A loop and button? Elastic? I settled on a giant vintage hook and eye, which would be durable and easy to use.

I rummaged through my new and vintage closures to find just the right one for my cuff.

The finished bracelet fits loosely at the wrist,
yet tight enough not to slide off.

After doing a little research, I discovered how I missed Shrinky Dinks in my childhood...it hadn't been invented yet...when Shrinky Dinks debuted in 1973 I was a high school senior! It took me 41 years to discover Shrinky Dinks...and I just might have a new addiction!

1 comment:

  1. Shrinky Dinks are so much fun to play with. AndI love the combination of the slick buttons, your organic Lemurian patterns, and you hand felted wool. What a fun project.


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