hey there, pretty lady ;))
I know a ton of you have been waiting for this one. Teaching you to make your own plastic keychains!
To start off, I think the biggest question everyone has is what I use to make them. I work with shrink film. You might be familiar with Shinky Dink brand shrink film as a kid. I use Grafix brand white inkjet shrink film. The inkjet kind is relatively pricey compared to the regular kind. If you’re using regular, I don’t recommend you stick it in your printer. Sharpie markers would be good for that.
Alright, now open up the file with the images that you’re working with. Make sure your images are a lot bigger than you want your finished product to be since they shrink significantly.
You’ll also want to lighten the opacity to about half. I go somewhere between 50-60%.
Now print your image out! I’ve found that it works best for me when I have it at the plain paper setting, and standard print quality.
Holepunch with a 1/4” holepuncher BEFORE you shrink them. It’s so much more work to have to punch holes when your plastic is thick!
Cut out your design, leaving the amount of border you want.
Set them on a tray for convenience. An aluminum foil sheet works too, but I recommend cookie trays because they are easier and quicker to get out of the oven.
Preset heat. Your shrink film package will tell you what temperature to set it at, but I find that it isn’t always accurate for me. I generally set temperature to 350 degrees or so.
Put them in the oven. Remember to keep track of time! I leave them in for about a minute and a half.
After time is up they should be super small! Magic!
If your charms are not flat, put something heavy on it right out of the oven when they are still hot and malleable.
If you’d like to, you can seal them now. In my last two batches, I used clear topcoat nail polish. The problem with that is that I need between 3-5 coats of it, and it takes a while to dry. I’ve been experimenting with modpodge.
For lariats, you can use jump rings or lobster clasps.
Here is one that I made that wasn’t sealed. The finished texture after shrinking is a little bit rough. There’s nothing wrong with leaving them unsealed, but because they are inkjet printed, the colors wash right of without protection.
This is one that was sealed with modpodge. The colors become a little more vibrant and smooth and water resistant. Things often get stuck on when applying or drying so be careful.
These ones down here were sealed with clear nail polish. They come out shiny if you put enough coats, but the grainy texture will still be there.
Well, there ya go! Have fun making your own keychains!
Wang Yue, a senior at Dalian Industry University, uses her paintbrush to turn ugly tree holes into lovely views in Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei Province.
Wang Yue calls the tree-hole paintings “meitu” which means “beautiful journey.” The paintings on the trees have brightened the city during the dull, grey winter.