Hi! I just sent all 9 packages to their recipients of my swap group today (Phew!) and decided to post the tutorial here as well. It's a christmas ornament made out of shrinkable plastic and adorned with my favourite itsy bitsy buttons. But first, download the template here.
STEP 1 : DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE. This is how the template looks. I've not included the patterns, you may want to decorate them as you like. Digitally or with sharpies/colour markers. I've used quilting textile patterns and put in the recipients name with Adobe Illustrator. If you need the illustrator file, just e-mail me.
STEP 2 : DESIGN YOUR ORNAMENT & PRINT. That's my work table with all the printed shrinkable plastics. Choose shrinkable plastics that allow you to print on your inkjet printer if you intend to do this digitally. Read instructions on shrinking percentage and enlarged as you seem fit. Bigger ornaments need bigger graphics (you may try out one first.) Usually shrinkable plastics will shrink about 50% tp 60% from the printed size. Some may even shrink horizontally more than vertical. For mine, the rounded ornaments started as perfect circles, but when they're heated it shrunk vertically more, so they now appear oval like.
STEP 3 : Remember to print at 50% lighter shade. Because of the shrinking that will take place in your ovennete, things will appear very much darker.
STEP 4 : CUTTING OUT THE PIECES. All arranged out. I'd advice you to cut 1 set at a time and punch the holes as soon as you do. Make sure the punches are on the same direction for all the pieces. If not, you will have the holes in the wrong edges.
Step 5 : PUNCHING THE PIECES. Only punch the edges where you will sew the pieces together. Always remember to punch before heating, if not it will be too late to punch once it is shrunk! Too thick and too damn hard! Oh yes, a bigger punch is used if you need a bigger hole. Too small of a hole will not be effective once it is shrunk. (I hope that makes sense.)
Step 6 : HEATING THE OVEN. Please use the oven. NO MICROWAVE OVENS (unless you want a Chernobyl incident here!) I use a simple toaster oven. You need very low heat (follow manufacturer's heating instructions). Pop them two at a time on top of foil. Watch them shrink and curl. Don't worry about the curling, it will naturally uncurl once it is ready to come out. This will take less than 30 seconds or more depending on heat. When there is no more movement or shrinking, pick them out with wooden chopsticks onto a wooden board and flatten while still warm.
STEP 7 : Place on wooden board to cool. Do the rest. It's quite automatic after awhile. If you notice unsightly dents in the middle, it means that your piece needs more heating. Do not overheat though, it will take a lot of heat to melt it again and it will be disastrous.
You can pop in The big pieces on at a time. Don't be in a rush, I know you'll get excited watching it shrink and dance but you need to control the curving when it comes out from the oven and you need to flatten it immediately.
Check out the shrinking.
Laid out to rest.
STEP 8 : VARNISHING. I used Modge podge to varnish and waterproof the pieces. You can also use aerosol sprays but Modge Podge is way cheaper. Let dry overnight and away from busybody 4 year olds.
STEP 9 : ATTACHING THE PIECES. Select matching buttons. Size of buttons depends on how far the holes are from one piece to another ornament piece. I tie a knot to secure the button first before sewing onto the pieces.
Select the last piece and sew to the upper one.
To knot off by going around a few times and knotting at the back to properly secure the button to the piece.
Sewing the upper pieces together depending on how many layers you want your ornament to be.
STEP 10 : ATTACHING THE RIBBON. Assemble the ribbon and buttons for the upper ornament.
STEP 11 : ATTACHING THE RIBBON FOR THE TOP MOST ORNAMENT. With the same method, attach the topmost ornament with a ribbon for hanging. Select soft ribbons for this.
Do the bow for the middle. You can opt for felt cutouts or maybe lace, there are many possibilities. Use your noodles!
Step 12 : ATTACH THE RIBBON to THE MIDDLE.
Knot off with the same method for a neat finish.
Tada! The finished ornament. This is for Melissa of Group 17.
All in a row. I even made one for myself. Now, remember to write to me about your creation this Christmas.
Merry Christmas Everyone. Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year. Do write and keep in touch.