This is a tutorial for how to make plastic earrings using shrink film.
I have to admit, I originally bought this shrink film for my kids. And then I got bored and decided to do a more adult oriented craft while they were messing around with their own projects.
I experimented with different markers and then used my Cricut cutting machine to do the drawing and cutting. The whole thing turned out way better than I thought!
As far as the markers go, I tried sharpies, Cricut medium tip metallic pens and sublimation markers.
Sharpies worked the best on shrink film which I knew already given that’s what the instructions recommended. However, I didn’t feel like undoing the cap holder on my Cricut so I wanted to find a Cricut pen that worked on shrink film.
As it turns out, the Cricut metallic markers work great. The only problem is they are not as a permanent as the Sharpies so you will have to apply a layer of sealant or nail polish afterwards if you intend on touch them a lot.
I thought I would give sublimation markers a try since there is heat involved and it is on a non-porous surface. They actually worked just find, I just didn’t like the aesthetic as much.
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Materials for shrink plastic earrings
Templates – I’ve included this set of floral shrink film earring templates in both SVG and printable formats for free in my resource library.
How to make plastic earrings using shrink film
Step 1: Draw and cut the earring pieces from the template
I would recommend using a green standard grip mat for shrink film. The light grip mat is not enough to hold things in place.
In terms of sizing, the film will shrink to about a quarter of the size. Just keep that in mind when you are drawing. It seems huge to me at first and then turned into this little dinky piece.
One of my branches broke. This is fine, I just glued it back after it baked.
Step 2: Color in the cutouts
If you didn’t use the Cricut to do the coloring and drawing, color the pieces now. As you can see, the sublimation markers are a bit streaky so I didn’t like them as much.
Step 3: Bake the shrink film
Different brands have different instructions. I just baked mine at 300 deg F for a few minutes.
After first, the film will curl. I took out some of the pieces in this curled state because I thought it looked better in this state.
If you wait another minute, the film will flatten back out at which point you can take it out.
Step 4: Optional sealant
At this point, if you want to get super fancy, you can seal your earrings in resin. An easier alternative is clear nail polish. If you have acrylic spray, that works too. If you just used Sharpies, no sealing is necessary.
Step 5: Glue the pieces onto earring backs
If you’re interested in using Alcohol Ink to color your shrink film, check out my tutorial here on the easiest (least messy) way to use alcohol ink: