I was delighted when Claire from Beads Direct contacted me to ask me to review a new book on shrink plastic called ‘Fantastic Shrink Plastic, Jewellery and Crafts’ by Natalia Colman. She was also kind enough to send me a shrink plastic starter kit so I could get inspired by the book and have a bit of a play. You may recall I have played with shrink plastic once before when I made my own buttons.
Shrink plastic has long been recognised as a craft for children but its possibilities go way beyond the obvious. Author Natalia Colman has pushed shrink plastic to its limits with a variety of techniques that focus on making beautiful jewellery from this versatile medium.
This 89 page paperback book covers different techniques for using shrink plastic including decorating with pens, rubber stamping and embossing, moulding and shaping plastic, creating layered pieces and jewellery just for fun. Natalia has captured each project with easy to follow, step by step photographs to make jewellery making with shrink plastic accessible to all. Templates for all the main projects are included at the back of the book to make sure you get the right size and shape every time (this is really handy).
If you’ve not used shrink plastic before then the video at the top of this post will show you how it’s done. Claire and Natalia make a gorgeous brooch.
So what did I think?
The book is really good value at £9.99. There is lots of inspiration in there. I had a go at using my rubber stamps on the shrink plastic, which was good fun. It was particularly effective to use gold ink on black plastic. Most of all I enjoyed tracing shapes and lettering onto the plastic using a Sharpie marker and keeping my designs nice and simple. I had a go at adding colour using pens and coloured pencils, but I couldn’t quite get the knack, it takes a little practice. With books of this type, I don’t tend to pick a project straight away and make it. I let myself read about the techniques and then just… well… play. And that’s what I did. That being said, I think that the projects in this book are well photographed and each step includes clear instructions.
I photographed the first item I made (at the top of this post) – a ‘Knitters Rule’ badge. It’s not exactly my best work!! But I wanted to demonstrate that even on first attempt, you can have a little fun. To make the badge I put together an image and some text in Photoshop (although you could do it easily in Word) and printed it off. I traced it onto the plastic and then trimmed around the image using a paper trimmer. I also rounded the corners using a punch. It then went in the oven (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this and be careful with hot stuff!) I then super-glued a badge pin to the back of the finished item and attached it to a card. I thought this was a nice idea for a birthday card for a knitter.
I had lots of fun playing with shrink plastic. The starter kit is ideal if, like me, you want to ‘play’, although it is quite expensive at £24.97. It wouldn’t take long to get through the amount of shrink plastic included. If you are project orientated then I would recommend buying the book first and then deciding on the supplies you need (all available from Beads Direct). The kit is for people who like to experiment.
So to conclude, this is a great book if you want to learn about and play around with a new/different medium. The style of the jewellery/crafts in the book isn’t really ‘me’. Most of it is quite cute, bright and glittery, with the exception of the painted flower bracelet, which is really very nice. But if that’s your type of thing then you will LOVE this book. I can definitely see myself using shrink plastic again. I like the idea of making little plastic cupcakes and attaching them to cards with a glue dot. I can also see myself using it for gift tags (this project is in the book). Thank you Natalia and Beads Direct!
I’ll leave you with another great project video from Beads Direct…