Shrink Plastic Fail

Crafting involves a fair bit of trial and error, which often means that for every great result there are a couple of misses. Here’s one of mine.

I recently purchased a package of BIC Mark-It Permanent Markers so when I had a free night I thought I’d continue my shrink plastic journey and see how they work.

Turns out the colour assortment is almost exactly what’s needed for Rainbow Dash.

I traced an image onto bright white shrink plastic, coloured it and cut it out.

Shrink plastic Rainbow Dash before shrinking

I wasn’t super thrilled with all of the marker lines but they were completely impossible to get rid of. My hope was that they wouldn’t be as obvious after shrinking.

Into the oven she went and here’s what come out:

Shrink plastic Rainbow Dash after shrinking


For anyone who doesn’t know, here’s what she’s supposed to look like:

Rainbow Dash

I definitely did not pick the right shade of blue. Mine looks like she’s been rolling in a blueberry patch for a month.

So what should I have done differently? Tested the markers before I started the project. I guess late is better than never. I took another piece of the bright white shrink plastic and added a coloured strip with each marker.

Shrink plastic marker test before shrinking

Into the toaster oven, and voila, a shrink plastic guide to my marker collection comes out.

Shrink plastic marker test after shrinking

Notice how the dark blue on the left turns dark purple. The second blue on the left (the one I used for Rainbow Dash) turns dark blue, the brown on the right turns black, and the red in the middle almost looks brown. Not at all what I was expecting. But now I know for next time.

Here’s the sample with the markers for comparison. (Yeah, there are a couple of Sharpies in the mix. The dark blue in my BIC set was completely dried up, but I threw the receipt away long before I discovered this. And the light purple was just too pretty to pass up).

Shrink plastic marker test with markers

What did I learn from this crafting fail?

  • Test your markers first to see what colour they will be after shrinking.
  • When colouring, let each colour dry before moving on to the next to minimize bleeding.
  • Let the whole piece dry before trying to cut it out to minimize smudging.
  • Brush strokes will still be noticeable after shrinking but not as noticeable as before.
  • Marker is easily scratched off the finished piece so seal it to prevent accidents.
  • If touching up outlines after cutting a piece out, be sure not to get any marker on the edge of the plastic. Or, intentionally colour around all the edges so you won’t have just the occasional spot of colour.

Unintentional spot of blue on edge of shrink plastic Rainbow Dash

(See the nasty spot of blue left behind by a post-cutting, pre-shrinking, outline touch-up?)

  • Rainbow Dash looks really silly in blueberry blue.

So far markers are definitely not my colouring agent of choice for shrink plastic. Does anyone else have any experience colouring shrink plastic with markers? I’d love to know how it worked out for you.

Shrink plastic Legend of Zelda rupee keychain

Shrink Plastic Rupees

My latest shrink plastic creation is a Legend of Zelda rupee keychain.

I started with this rupee image from Zelda Universe. I printed out the image, traced the outline of three rupees onto a piece of clear Shrinky Dinks shrink plastic (unsanded), cut them out, and used a 1/8-inch hole punch to add holes to both ends of two rupees and only one end of the third rupee (this will be the last one of the chain).

Pre-shrinking shrink plastic Legend of Zelda rupees

Into the toaster oven they went, and out came some lovely shrunken rupees.

Post-shrinking shrink plastic Legend of Zelda rupeesI painted the backside of each rupee with three coats of standard acrylic paint – one red, one green, and one blue. paintAfter these were dry I carefully scraped any excess paint off the sides of the rupees using a craft knife and off the front of the rupee using my fingernail. Be careful scraping the front as you can (and I did) accidentally scrape off some of the outline.

Once I was happy with the paint job, I added three coats of a gloss varnish and again scraped off the excess once they were dry.

The final touch was to colour the edges of the rupees with a black permanent marker to give them a finished look.

Painted shrink plastic Legend of Zelda rupees
Three jump rings and a keyring later I had a finished keychain.

Shrink plastic Legend of Zelda rupee keychain

If I were doing this again, the only change I would try would be to colour the edges of the rupees with black marker before adding the varnish, and to varnish the edges as well as the back to seal in the marker. I’m finding mine let off a bit of colour if I run a finger along the edge of a rupee. However, trying to seal the edges without gunking up the front could be a challenge.

I’m enjoying playing with shrink plastic and trying different techniques for how to colour it. If you have a favourite method I would love to hear about it.