How To Make - Shrink Art for Inkjet Printers

Also known as Shrink Art, Shrink Plastic, Poly Shrink or Plastic Shrink

After you have created the image print it on the practice paper, cut it out as you would the Inkjet Shrink Sheet and estimate whether 40% shrinkage will work for the piece you have in mind. 

You may want to experiment with lighter prints on Inkjet Shrink Sheets . Depending on your printer, lightened images show up more vividly. The "Adjust Brightness" and "Enhance Color". 

Make sure you like the image, placement, image shape, color, clarity and content before you print on the Inkjet Shrink Sheet. Make any necessary adjustments. 

When you have the image you are happy with, you are ready to print it out on the Inkjet Shrink Sheet. Feed each sheet individually, as you would paper.  

Print on either side of the shrink plastic sheet both sides of the shrink plastic are inkjet coated.
If you do not like your printout just wash the printed side and let the sheet dry and it will ready for printing. 

Once printed, place the Inkjet Shrink Sheets on a flat surface overnight to let the ink set. To prevent images from becoming smeared, do not stack or touch printed sheets until they have set. Handle the printed material from the edges.

Once images have set you are ready for the final step.

Bake your Inkjet Shrink Sheets and Decorate!

The final step is the assembly of the Shrink Art.

Using household scissors, cut out the printed image(s).

If your shrunken image will require a hole. Now is the time to punch one out. A 1/8" hole punch is ideal for this purpose. Make the holes before baking!

Place on a flat surface we suggest a nonstick baking tray

Bake 4 minutes in a preheated 300°F oven.

Each object will shrink to about 40% of its original size.

After 1 to 2 minutes, the piece will slowly begin to distort and curl. It will then uncurl, shrink, thicken, and lay flat.

When the shrink art piece is completely flat, remove it from the oven.

If you remove the tray too soon and the piece is not completely finished, you may place it in the oven again for a few more minutes until it lays relatively flat. However, over-baking after the shrink art object is flat may dull the colors and cause the edges to become irregular.

Occasionally, the shrink art object will shrink unevenly or not shrink smoothly. The larger the size of the original sheet, the higher this possibility. Prompt attention immediately upon removal from the oven, while the object is still pliable, usually will allow you time to address these irregularities by pressing upon the material with any flat-surfaced household object. We recommend a thick hardcover book.

Remember, the shrink art plastic is HOT! Use an oven mitt to immediately place the shrink art object on a flat surface to be flattened. The hotter the shrink art object, the more pliable it will be.

If you don't succeed the first time, you can place the shrink art object back in the oven and repeat step five.

Because of shrink's pliability while it is still hot, you may want to form portions of your object into shapes. You can use a pencil to curl edges or other household objects to create dimension.

As a final step, you can embellish your shrunken shrink art image with dimensional paint, beads, sequins, charms, glitter glue, buttons, permanent markers, ribbon, feathers, or craft foam.

A few extra holes at the bottom of your shrink will allow you to hang additional beads.

You can add a ribbon bow or bead directly on the shrink by placing just a dab of glue on the embellishment and then pressing it onto the ornament.

Using super glue, you can layer shrink plastic objects.

You have now created fun shrink art keepsakes that will keep memories alive for years to come. Enjoy!

Shrink Art Facts

Experienced inkjet shrink plastic crafter's know that shrinking is an inexact science. But that's part of the fun! By noting these tips and carefully following these instructions, you'll ensure your chances for successful shrinks the first time.

Inkjet Shrink Art cannot be used in a microwave.

Baking can take place in gas, electric ovens, toaster or shrink ovens.

All Inkjet Shrink Sheets , regardless of brand or manufacturer, do not shrink evenly. This means they will shrink a little more in one direction than another. The distortion can be reduced by carefully following these instructions and by only baking objects less than a sheet. If you must shrink objects greater than 1/2 sheet, see the "Large Objects" section.

Nonstick cookie sheet or matte board is the best baking surface.

An oven thermometer is advisable to ensure you have the right temperature. Remember, ovens provide uneven levels of heat.

If time permits, experiment within the 275-325° range to determine the best temperature for your designs.

It is best to bake each item separately.

You can twist and shape your shrink art creations once removed from the oven for even more creative results.

Large Object Shrink Art Tips

As is universally common with shrink plastic, the corners of objects larger than 1/2 sheet occasionally stick together as they shrink. This can be addressed, as required, by carefully watching the shrink process and quickly removing the object, straightening it out, and placing it back in the oven. Alternatively, we've found a preventative technique. Try encasing your shrink creation in aluminum foil. This usually prevents the object from curling upon itself.

To make an aluminum foil envelope for your pre-baked shrink:

Cut off a sheet long enough to completely wrap your preshrunk object and fold it in half.

Lightly dust one side with talcum or baby powder. Thoroughly shake off all excess. In fact, only a slight trace of powder should be seen on the foil. It is best if you can barely see the powder.

Place the non-printed side of the shrink onto the dusted side of the foil. Be careful not to get talcum powder on the printed side.

Place in a preheated 300° oven with the print side down.

Full sheets will take about 5 minutes. Smaller sheets will take slightly less time.

We obtained best results by placing the envelope directly upon the oven shelf, rather than the baking sheet.

Occasionally the shrink art object will not be completely shrunk, but will have shrunk beyond the point where the potential for sticking edges is possible. If this occurs, take it out of the aluminum envelope (being careful not to get powder on the print side) and place it on a baking sheet.

Observe the shrinking process and remove as soon as the object is relatively flat and has stopped shrinking.

Caring for your Shrink Art Objects

Ink from inkjet printers is not waterproof.

However, there is a way for you to care for your shrink art objects to prevent them from smudging when becoming wet.

Your shrink objects can be treated with waterproofing agents.

To assure color fastness, plan on applying at least three coats. Allow ample time between coats for the overcoat to dry.