What is shrink plastic?
Shrink plastic is plastic stock that is heated and stretched in two directions until a thin sheet is formed. When heated again, the plastic returns to its original dimension and overall thickness.
For creative uses, the plastic sheet is usually sanded and design is applied using a wide variety of art supplies. Scissors are used to trim and shape. Holes can be punched using an ordinary paper punch.
When finished designs are baked, the plastic shrinks to approximately 45% its original size and returns to its original 1/16 inch thickness. During the shrinking process most art materials are permanently bonded to the surface.
Why is it good for creative projects?
The shrinking process has a wonderful effect on the design and color that's applied before baking. Simple designs become crisper, elaborate designs look amazingly detailed, and colors look rich and vibrant.
No special tools are needed. Before baking, the plastic is thin and can be cut with scissors. Complex cut outs that couldn't be made using scissors at the baked thickness are easy to make before shrinking.
How is PolyShrink™ different ?
PolyShrink is made to our specifications, and is tested for even, reliable shrinkage. PolyShrink also gives you the creative versatility of 4 different types. Each type has its own special visual quality, so you can choose just the look you want for any project.
Great for see-through techniques where color is applied to the back to be viewed through the front of the finished piece. Color seen through the plastic is extremely vibrant and gives a feeling of depth. Also use Clear PolyShrink when you want a glass-like effect or look.
There's an appealing soft look to Translucent that suits certain images and themes. It's also the type that many people prefer for simple designs with large areas left as is, without any background color.
· Canvas White
For designs where you want crisp color and high contrast, choose Canvas White PolyShrink. Even extremely detailed drawings or stamped images read well and keep their visual impact.
Black PolyShrink provides a dramatic backdrop for many of your favorite art and stamping supplies. Use colored pencils, stamping inks, metallic markers and rub-ons for beautiful, rich effects.
What baking method is best?
You'll get good results using a conventional or toaster oven. The even heat that an oven provides is a plus, especially when baking complicated shapes or pieces with interior cut outs, such as frames.
You can also heat PolyShrink with an embossing heat tool. The maximum temperature of different models varies up to 300º F. If you're having the feeling that the shrinking process is out of control and happening too fast, move the gun 4 or 5 inches back to slow things down. Keep the heat tool moving to heat the PolyShrink as evenly as you can. Being directly involved in the shrinking process is fun, and it's easy to see how the shrinking process is going. You can even flip your piece over to help it heat evenly.
Heating PolyShrink with an embossing tool is the method of choice for the Intaglio technique. Please see the PolyShrink General Instructions for details.
Should I use a separate oven from one I prepare food in?
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for PolyShrink describes it as non toxic, even when heated to hundreds of degrees beyond normal baking temperature. Heating PolyShrink itself is safe. But since we can't verify the safety of the enormous number of art materials that might be used with PolyShrink, we recommend using a separate oven for baking.
Follow any directions your art supplies have concerning adequate ventilation. When baking, some artists opt for the ultimate in ventilation by placing their toaster oven on an outside porch or patio.
What is the best way to cut out complicated shapes?
Small scissors with narrow blades are easier to maneuver than larger scissors. To make cutting sharp inside corners easier, cut to the corner coming from one direction, then turn the PolyShrink around and finish the cut from the opposite direction.
For pieces with interior cuts, like picture frame style designs, make an opening for your scissors by punching several overlapping holes with a paper punch, or cut an X using a single edge razor blade or exacto knife.