Guest Blog by Erin Meharg: Changing with the times by reverting to my childhood!

Erin shares with us her fun and creatively efficient project in this guest blog.  Enjoy!

Many jewelry artists are feeling the squeeze of the fluxuating price of silver. We’re all trying to come up with ways to make our dollar (and our clay!) stretch further. Here’s a fun ring project that uses less than 16 grams of clay and incorporates that beloved childhood craft product, Shrinky Dink Plastic!

I particularly like PMC Sterling for this project, as you will be rolling the clay out very thin. However, you certainly may use your preferred brand and type of clay!

*** Click any of the images below to see them larger! ***

  1. Roll clay out to 2 cards thick.
    (I designed my own pattern for this ring, but a QuikArt template like puffy triangles would work as well.)
    Roll or press in a skeleton leaf (SP823) for texture. Cut out two identical shapes.

  2. Use TL1388 QuikArt ring sizer to cut out the ring center on each textured piece.
    Go up 3 to 4 sizes to allow for shrinkage.

  3. Let the pieces dry and then refine the edges.
    Stack the pieces with the un-textured back sides together. Be especially careful to align the center ring holes and sand them evenly.
    I LOVE the 3M sponge sanders (TL339) starting with 320 grit.

  4. Fire according to manufacturer’s directions.

  5. Brass brush your pieces and use Black Max (SP088) or WLW Patina gel (SP534) to highlight the detail.

 

To prepare the Shrinky Dink (SD),

  1. Photocopy your fired ring and enlarge it 250 to 300 percent. Cut out the enlarged template and trace it on a piece of S.D.
    The plastic comes in a variety of colors as well as clear and frosted varieties.
    Be aware that if you use a sharpie marker on the plastic, your lines will still be visible on the reduced piece.
    I like to use a thin pencil mark and use “Frosted Ruff n’ Ready” S.D.

  2. Cut your shape out
    Alternately, you can simply cut a large square out of the plastic that your enlarged template fits within.

  3. Color the S.D. plastic with Adirondak Alcohol ink (SP293) by dripping several drops onto the plastic and then use a Q-tip to rub the ink all over the rough surface of the plastic.
    MAKE SURE to do this over Teflon (TL875) or several sheets of newspaper, as the ink will stain anything it comes in contact with!

  4. Let the ink dry, then “shrink” the plastic in a craft oven according to manufacturer’s directions.

  5. Sand the shrunken plastic to approximately the size of your rings.
    WEAR EYE PROTECTION (TL1232) and a mask (TL846).
    I use a flex shaft and Dremel sanding drums.
    Drill out the center and begin to enlarge the ring hole with the sanding drums.

Riveting the Ring:

  1. Align all of your pieces.
    Your S.D. piece should be sanded roughly to the size of your metal ring components, leaving about 1mm of overhang.
    I use masking tape or painters tape to hold all of the pieces together.
    Use a small drill bit (TL876) to make a hole through all three components.

  2. Using the wire of your choice, rivet the three pieces together.

  3. Continue to drill holes and rivet until all layers of your ring are securely attached.

  4. Use the sanding drum again to smooth the plastic until it is flush with the metal ring.
    Be sure to send both the outside and inside edges.

Wear your ring and enjoy!

By Erin Meharg – Wishlist

14 Responses to Guest Blog by Erin Meharg: Changing with the times by reverting to my childhood!

  1. I love this technique and can't wait to try. I've been "playing" with Shrinky Dinks for years as "do dads" on handmade greeting cards, luggage tags etc but find this much more interesting. Keep up the great work! JC

  2. Erin's blog has inspired me to look at shrinkies again after a hiatus of about 20 years! My daughter and I had creative fun with them when she was a teen. I love the idea of using them with silver.

  3. What a fantastic idea! It is really exciting to see the innovation all around us when we are forced to use new materials – even if it is to keep costs down.

  4. Yep, FUN is the word alright. Erin's blog has me figuring out how to make the ring for interchangeable shrinky dinks…. Hmmm…

  5. Erin,

    Thank you for sharing and for such detailed instructions. Like the others, my mind is whirring with ways to make this my own.

  6. I have some shrink plastic in my drawer left over from craft days with my kids….I can't wait to try this project!

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