Shrinking shards

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Create this colourful necklace quickly and easily with the supersimple and versatile Shrinkles shrink plastic. By Clair Wolfe

Clair is a designer based in Wales. She enjoys all forms of jewellery making and especially enjoys the challenge of working with different materials. Shrinkles shrink plastic is perfect for creating large statement necklaces due to its affordability and its lightness, even when using lots of it within a design.


4 x Shrinkles® frosted shrink plastic

Sheet of Shrinkles® black shrink plastic

2mm leather cord

Selection of findings


Heat gun or oven

Metal rule

Letraset® ProMarkers

Scissors or craft knife

Hole punch

Steel blocks (if available)

2 x pairs of flat nose pliers





Designer tips:

Buy the pre-coloured sheets to make this an even easier project.

After shrinking, place the strips between two heavy objects to flatten and cool easily. 

Use just black and white for a fashionable monochrome look.



Step 1

Place the Shrinkles sheet onto a cutting board or another suitable surface, and cut it into strips using a metal rule and craft knife. The width of the rule is an ideal size, so use that as a guide. Repeat on all of the sheets until you have a stack of strips. 


Step 2

Colour in about a third of the frosted strips with pencils, watercolours or felt-tips. ProMarkers work well on shrink plastic, as the alcohol-based ink tends not to leave any colouring-in marks, so producing a lovely rich finish, once shrunk. 


Step 3

Place the strips back onto a suitable cutting surface and use the craft knife once again to diagonally cut across them. Cut pairs of strips the same length so you have matching strips. Continue to work through all the strips, cutting longer sections for the centre of the necklace and shorter ones for the ends.


Step 4

Use a hole punch on each of the strips at the uncut end. Measure the centre point of the strip where the hole will be punched out. Use a hole punch that will still allow a 2mm leather cord to be passed through once it has been shrunk. Punch all of the strips in the same way.


Step 5

You can use a heat gun on each of the strips. Hold the strip in place with a metal rule, rough side up. Position the heat gun over the strip, slowly moving the gun until the strip has finished shrinking. Shrink plastic can be shrunk in a domestic oven. Lay all the lengths flat on a baking tray lined with foil and follow the shrink plastic instructions.


Step 6

Lay out all the strips into the order they will be threaded. Take approx. 18in (46cm) of 2mm leather cord. Cut off the end at an angle, making it easier to pass through the holes in the strips. Add all of the strips to the leather and then finish by cutting the necklace down to the desired length and adding cord ends and a clasp.


Extra projects, make a different necklace and earrings


Different Necklace

Create a smaller version of the necklace in the same way as the main project, but space out with colourful beads and add a silver-plated beadalon.




Earrings can be made simply by adding a small selection of the strips to a large jumpring and earwires.

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