Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shrinky Dink and Minwax

Pin cushion I made for Star Bright's birthday last year, with Shrinky Dinks of butterflies we have around here.

Shrinky Dink

I don't know what else to call Shrinky Dink, so I'll explain what it is for you crazy for'ners. ;)

It's a common item found at hobby stores. The packaging is geared toward kids, but the baking definitely requires adult supervision. It comes usually 10 sheets of plastic in an 8 X 10" package. There are several different varieties available, each with its own qualities -- kinds like frosted and another kind for printing on your printer. You draw on it with a pens, colored pencils, and I suspect water color would work although I've never tried that.

You cut out your drawings, lay on a cookie sheet, pop into a preheated 325 F (163 C) oven and -- the best part -- watch it shrivel, twist, straighten itself out through the oven window. In just a couple of minutes your pieces have shrunk to 1/3 its original size and is now much thicker. You can make key chains, Christmas ornaments, and all sorts of do-dads. If you want to hang it, remember to use a hole punch before baking.

Here's a tutorial with pictures of making pins.

MinWax's Polycrylic


And now for the mysterious Minwax. This is the stuff I use as a finish on a lot of things. You can buy it easily at the hardware store, typically around the paint isles, a pint for around $5 USD. It comes in a matte finish as well I believe. It's probably intended for use on finishing wood, but I use it to finish collages, instead of ModPodge which I don't like because it stays tacky. I'm certain there are other brands of this kind of product and I suspect they would work just as well.

After several coats of this stuff, maybe ten, it gives your collage a smooth finish and intensifies the colors. It becomes a clear, thick sealer enabling the collage to be handled pretty roughly without damage -- an important quality for things like the collaged luggage I made for Kitten. I've also used it to finish acrylic paintings to give them a protective coat as well as bringing out their colors and giving a nice finishing sheen. It doesn't have an odor, is not sticky, and water wash-up is a snap.

I love this stuff so much I even tried using it as a glue, but it didn't work. Oh well, I'll keep using my kid's white school glue with a paint brush.

Oh, and here's Minwax's page about this product. They say to let dry 2 hours in between coats. Um, I'm not that patient. I wait only until it's dry to the touch. And sometimes not that long.


Frances said...

ooh - I like the sound of Shrinky Dink
I have no idea if we have anything like it here, but am going to check online.
I have never used anything like that.
Now Rima and I can stop being childish about the name...

Frances said...

I should have guessed
In the UK the only links I get are for dubious websites - but will try to find out whether there is anything like it here.

Rima said...

Pssstt, Frances!(Can you tell I'm whispering?) She said "lewd", not "childish"...

The butterflies are adorable, and so is the sewing pumpkin (?)

Bobbie said...

I love this pincushion you made for Antigone. It is truly a work of art. And I love the one you made for me with the chinese faces. Beautiful!

I went to Wal-Mart after I talked to you for a few groceries and guess what was there in the paint aisle: Minwax Poly....... just like you told me to get. Next project will be better for it. Thank you for sharing.

Rima said...

Debi! You made the pincushion??!! Is there no end to your talents? Now that I know it's handmade, and by you no less, I find it even more beautiful (and adorable). Very, very nice. My mom used to be quite good at sewing but alas, that particular did not get passed down to me -though I did gain a keen appreciation for this very fine art.

Debi Cates said...

Yes, I sew. I don't particularly like sewing custom-fitted clothing (especially for myself), but I like to sew in general. And I adore sewing supplies.

My Mom, now that's a seamstress. Part of my childhood memories are going to the fabric store, picking out patterns and material, and watching it all, under my mom's talent, magically come to life into one-of-a-kind outfits for the school year.

By the way, thank you, Mom.

Frances said...

SHOLY NOT - Rima - do we have dirty minds on this blog reading caper?
hur hur ;-)
As for Debi, she can do everything, I think - all round clever and nice with it - seems to be inherited from Bobbie.
Looking at the other connected blogs, she has passed it on to her daughters and granddaughter too, strong distaff side.

Debi Cates said...

Frances, that is really nice of you to say. I'm lucky in that now I have more time to make stuff as I have always wanted to do. And yes, we are a family of artsy-crafty women. My Grandmother was the Queen Bee of us all! (Hope she's in heaven making everyone paper flowers to decorate their halos.)

P.S. I looked up the word "distaff" and I love it. I need to find more opportunities to use it.

Neda said...

I LOVE Shrinky dinks! Thanks for the ton of info. I have my work cut out for me (no pun intended) when I get back to Austin (in mid-Aug), I will have to devote 2 months to go back to all your techniques and try them. Can't wait!