Place mouse over 'Training' menu above to display extra options
 Page Location: Home > Training > Information Sheets > #24 Printing & Using Shrink Plastic
Related links
Inking techniques
Imaging with PG-5
Imaging with PG-11
Applying Ink Blocking
Print samples
Product links
PRINT GOCCO supplies
PRINT GOCCO homepage
PG-11 model
PG-5 model
Page links
Click to print this page Print this page

Shrink Plastic

Shrink Plastic is a craft medium which was designed for the rubber stamp market but which works very well with the PRINT GOCCO system.

 A design is printed onto a piece of the plastic sheet, cut to the desired shape, and then heated in an oven. The plastic shrinks to a fraction of its original size [about 40%] and thickens into a rigid shape which can be used for buttons, earrings, brooches, buckles, pendants, bracelets, key-rings, etc., or for decorative motifs which can be added to boxes, vases and other items.

Select a design of the right size for your finished project, bearing in mind the amount of reduction involved, e.g. a print 7.5cm wide will shrink to 3cm wide. [You can work out the exact size of the print you need by measuring the size you want the completed object to be and multiplying it by 100\40.] Choose a design which will reduce clearly without losing detail. Stencil type designs and embroidery outlines both work well.

Flash and ink up your screen in the usual way, but instead of replacing it in the machine, place it flat on the table with the inked side facing up

Cut off a piece of the plastic slightly larger than your design and rub the surface lightly with fine sandpaper or steel wool. [If you are making items which are part of a set, such as ear-rings or buttons, make sure that you cut the plastic in the same direction each time, as the plastic shrinks differently across the width and length.] Carefully place the plastic over the inked image with the roughened side face down, and, starting in the centre, gently rub outwards until the whole piece has been pressed into the ink. Take care that all air bubbles have been pressed out.

Gently lift off the plastic and set it aside to dry. Once the ink is dry enough to touch you can cut the design to the shape you want for the final product, and punch holes for buttons, key-rings, etc., using a 1\8" punch. [It is almost impossible to cut the plastic after it has been shrunk.]

Pre-heat a gas, electric or toaster oven to 150C [300F]. Place the cut-out pieces on a non-stick baking tray, spacing them well apart, and put them into the oven. After about 60 seconds the pieces will begin to curl up, and then shrink, thicken, uncurl, and finally lie flat. The exact time it takes will depend on your oven. It is best not to have the oven too hot as the plastic may distort if it shrinks too quickly.

When the pieces are flat, remove them from the oven. [At this stage the plastic is still pliable and can be shaped if you wish, but be careful as the piece will be hot, and the ink can still be smudged.] If some pieces are not completely flat, return them to the oven: you can't harm them by "over cooking" at this stage. If the plastic tends to stick to the tray, try using a sheet of baking paper or sprinkle the tray with a little talcum powder. Always wait until the tray is cold again before adding another batch.

If you are making items such as buttons which will be subject to hard wear, it is advisable to give them a second "baking". Arrange the shrunk pieces on a tray and place them in a slightly hotter oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size. The surface of the piece will melt and the ink will sink in and be completely and permanently set.

The finished pieces can be used as they are, or you can colour the backs with spray paint or permanent markers. You can also colour the plastic sheets before printing on them, but make sure the colour is not too thick as it will become denser as it shrinks. It is also possible to use embossing powders with the designs, either before baking, or applied later and reheated. Where appropriate finish the pieces by adding jewelry findings using super glue gel or Araldite. Pieces can also be given a three-dimensional effect by gluing two or more layers together.

[Products]   [Screen Printing]   [PRINT GOCCO]   [Ceramics]   [Training & FAQ's]   [Gallery]
[NEHOCdirect - On-line shop/ catalogue ]   [Find supplier]   [Feedback/Contact Us]
[ Terms of Use ]   [ About NEHOC ]   [ Privacy Statement ]  [ Contact Webmaster ]
Copyright 2007 NEHOC Australia Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.