Turn a human skeleton drawing into shrink plastic skeleton earrings
I have lost my old pair of long skeleton earrings, so I decided to make some replacements, using shrink plastic. More commonly referred to as "Shrinky Dinks". The ribcage is shaped like one from long term corseting. The rest is fairly normal.
This project can take a few hours, because of all the drawing, shrinking each piece, and attaching the joints together. Take your time, and the results will be worth it.
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You Will Need
Draw your design on the paper. Remember to make it 2x the size you want the finished piece to be. I used anatomical skeletons and skulls as a reference. I drew the skull, torso, an upper leg with patella, a lower leg with foot, an upper arm, and a lower arm with hand.
The photo shows what the skull looks like before and after shrinking.
Using the sanding block, sand the front and back of a shiny sheet of shrink plastic. Make sure there is NO SHINY AREAS remaining. If there are, the ink will smudge. This will take a while, but it's worth it. If you have a large design, like mine, you will need to sand two sheets or more. I sanded two.
Lay a sheet of shrink plastic over the design. You will notice the white plastic is see through. Using the super fine pen, carefully trace the design onto the plastic.
Lay the brown paper down on your work surface. You're work surface has to be able to stand high heat. A cookie sheet on your stove top would be good.
You will do the shrinking ONE PIECE AT A TIME! Using the small scissors, carefully hold the center of your piece down. Turn your heat gun on. Mine had a heat adjustment. I put mine down to 500 degrees, but less with work too. The higher the heat, the faster the shrinking. Too high, and you might burn your piece. You don't want to do that. You will have to start over again with that piece.
If your piece sticks together while shrinking, turn off your gun and quickly unstick the areas. If it hardens too quickly, reheat and try again. This part is very HOT, so you might want to use the pliers to undo the areas.
After everything is shrunk, it's time to seal them. Using the small paint brush, paint an even coat of clear varnish on the front of each piece. After they have completely dried (about an hour), paint the other side with the varnish. If you want to use the acrylic paint, this is the time to do this. Use the acrylic paint before applying sealant, so it will adhere better.
After the pieces have dried, it's time to make them into earrings. First, we need jump rings. Using the dowel rod or skewer, wrap the wire around it several times. Using the wire nippers, clip the wire from the spool.
Gently, pull the coiled wire off the dowel rod. Stretch the wire a bit, so the coils are spaced out a bit.
I had to do the jump ring making one at a time, because each set of skeleton joints fit together differently. Using the wire nippers, I cut different length rings off of the coil, and checked fit on different areas, until I figured out which size worked best for that joint. Use the pliers to form the cut rings into nice circles.