Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Friday, February 29, 2008

For Sammi

Had a wonderful visit with Moonrose this week. I always miss her, darn that family and distance thing that keeps us apart for too long.

Well, she inspired me, she suggested I attempt something, since after all, ATCs didn't really have any rules other than size. Needle felt an ATC!

Well. Why not! All I can do is fail, bleeding miserably over shreds of my dignity and all over the felt ... but other than that, why not?

It isn't completely finished yet -- I've got to put the eyes on, figure out how to sign it, and maybe do a little more detailing, but I'm happy.

So Sammi ... thank you.

Weekender Preview

Since these have now reached their recipients, I figured it was time to post these here.

No, they are not ATCs. These are button boxes, which I use to hold ATCs to send to other people, sort of upping the gift by making the packaging just as pretty as what is inside.

So, for this weekend's Weekender, I'll be teaching you to make these boxes. I'll even upload a pattern you grab so you can make your own. Sure, you can buy pre-cut ones, or find a die cut machine somewhere that has the die ... but why, when you can have a template and make your own without leaving the house or spending money on someone else's work?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Weekenders -- Q&A

Question: RE: ATC book

What ARE "ATCs" anyway?


ATCs are Artist Trading Cards. The classic definition is a miniature piece of art that is 2.5" x 3.5", and is traded between artists, never sold.

Beyond that, there are really very few rules or regulations: size matters, baby! :D Anything you can do in a larger format -- paint, stamp, collage, draw, layer, scrapbook, etc, even quilting and felting! -- you can do on an ATC. Fibers, ribbon, buttons, flowers, mirror: there really are few "rules" to worry about.

As for trading them, you can find swap partners on various scrapbook and art forums, on swap sites, at conventions, and just among other artsy friends. Google can point you to all sorts of places where they can be swapped with others, and each hosted swap will have the rules they require. Some go by themes, or colors, or mediums, and the number of cards you make reflects the number of cards you'll receive back.

Give them a try! They're a lot of fun, and the tiny format can bring out creativity you didn't know you had.

Question: Re: ATC Book

If I have them, can't I just use a large single sheet, instead of gluing shorter pieces together?


Good question! You -can-, but I don't recommend it. For a different project, larger sheets would be fine, but for this one, the multiple sheets is your best bet.

The problem with a single sheet is weight, plain and simple. The plastic card sleeves are on the heavy side, and the weight of ATCs can add up fast. By adhering shorter sections of paper together, you provide extra stability and strength to support the weight that will be attached to the pages.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Weekender -- ATC Book

There are numerous methods for storing and displaying all of the ATCs (artist trading cards, for those not in the know) that you collect. I wasn't particularly fond of the idea of just putting them into the big binders with the trading card sheets: first off, that's how I store my Sizzix dies, so it might confuse me because I'm a dork, and second, because it puts multiple cards on a page, so that your eyes get distracted trying to figure out which one to look at. Also, it's just not as much FUN to look through them that way.

So, I went and did a bit of shopping, and figured out how to make a book to display ATCs so each gets its own page, and gives me a nice, small, portable album. What you end up with is a good-sized accordion-fold book.


--Mat board (my prefered -- you can get cheap sections in wonderful colors and textures at Joann's in the framing department, left over from them cutting custom mats, and they aren't that expensive: one $1 8x10 gives you a front and back cover with room to spare), chipboard, or some other sturdy material for the front and back covers.
-- Cardstock and patterned paper of choice
-- Adhesive (you'll want a particularly strong one to attach the pages to the covers)
-- Ruler
-- Paper trimmer
-- Scoring tool
-- SINGLE card plastic trading card sleeves (Walmart has a large pack in the front where the trading cards are)
-- 1/2" to 1" wide ribbon for closure
-- Xyron 500 or larger (optional, but perfect for adhering the sleeves)

Other embellishments of choice


1. Check the package of sleeves for size. Most are 3x4. You'll want to add at least 1/2" to it (3.5 x 4.5) for the pages so they're big enough for the sleeves. Add another 1/2" (4x5) for the cover measurements.

2. Cut your cover boards. If using mat board, a heavy duty craft knife works best: don't try to force it through all at once, you may need to make two attempts to get through it if you don't have a heavy duty blade.

3. Next, cut the paper to make the accordion folds for the inside pages to a height of 4.5". NOTE: 12x12 cardstock gives you 2 page sections, while you can only get one from 8.5x11. How many pages you cut depends on how thick you want your book to be. I kept mine to three sections, since most ATCs have some dimension, and the thickness can add up fast, especially with the sleeves. But these books come together so fast, it's easy to make multiples in a short amount of time. NOTE: Do not use light weight cardstock for the pages. The sleeves and cards will be a bit too heavy for flimsy paper -- you want the book to have some substance.

4. Measure out increments of 3.5" across the cut page sections. Score along those lines, removing any excess paper at the end. If you don't score and overlap the excess, you'll get a much neater two-sided book.

5. If you want, ink and stamp the pages now, before putting them together. It's much easier this way. Allow the ink to dry before moving on to the next step.

6. Fold at the score lines (if you've ever made a paper fan as a child, you know the basic accordion fold. If not, it's forward, backwards, forward, etc.).

7. At the last folded section, generously apply adhesive to the front of the fold. Attach to the back of the next page section. Repeat for however many page sections you've chosen.

8. Set pages aside. You won't attach the sleeves until the book is assembled.

9. Decorate the covers. Make sure that if you have any rough edges, they're smoothed out, or covered over with paper -- you can even use single-fold bias tape if you so desire. NOTE: The easiest way to do this with paper is to cut a long strip about 1 1/2" wide, put adhesive on either side of the long edge, wrap around the book, pressing the sides down first. Then work the folds into the corners. You aren't going to need to cut pages to cover the inside of the covers, because the folded pages will attach directly to it.

Alternate: Using either a paint pen, or paints (if you have a steady hand), color all the edges of the mat board so that raw material isn't showing.

You can stamp, layer paper, and add any embellishments you choose, and make a title to go on it as well if you like. If you're careful with how you decorate, you can easily make this album to where either side can work as the front.

10. On the inside of the back cover, attach two strips of ribbon, one on either side. This will allow you to wrap the ribbon around the book to keep it closed. Length is up to you, and whether or not you'll want to tie a bow with it, or use some other method of closing the ribbon (you can also use leather straps, and a buckle, just like a belt).

11. Using a sturdy adhesive (-not- a wet glue, Tacky Tape works great for this), adhere the very first fold to the inside of the front cover, and the very last fold to the inside of the back cover, making sure to cover the ends of the ribbon.

12. Time to add the sleeves. I recommend using a Xyron for attaching them, since like vellum, the sleeves are see-through, and in any areas the ATCs don't cover, strips of adhesive will be visible. If you do not have a Xyron, make sure you cover the back of the plastic sleeve entirely with adhesive, or use an adhesive recommended for vellum.

NOTE: Most plastic sleeves are equal height on both sides. If you want, to make it easier to remove and insert cards, you can -carefully- cut down the front, or use a circle punch and punch a half-circle into the front.

13. Skip the front fold that is attached to the front cover, and attach a plastic sleeve to the next fold, centering it on the page section. Skip the next fold, and on the next, attach another sleeve. (All even numbered pages) Continue until this side is completed.

14. Turn the book around, and work from the back side now.

15. When adding sleeves to this side, do not add them to the same fold where a sleeve is on the front. Alternate on the back as well. This will keep the book from becoming too thick and unwieldy.

16. Almost done! By skipping the inside front cover, this gives you a perfect place for journaling. You can put the date you made the book, if you made the book for a specific ATC swap, you can put that information as well, along with your name (or the name of the recipient if making it as a gift).

Now all that's left is to add your ATC collection, and close it up!

Here is the cover of my first one:

The flower stamp is from Queen Kat Designs March GET INKED kit. There are multiple flowers, plus leaves and the stem so you can build your own blossoms.

I used chipboard for this one, with mulberry paper around the edges. Both the front and back cover got a half-sheet of plain Grungeboard by Tim Holtz that I inked and distressed.

The closure ribbon, not visible in this picture, is a pale yellow grosgrain that matches the yellow in the daisy (which I made a Black-Eyed Susan, because of the obvious!).

This one is already full, so I'll be making another one this weekend!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekender -- Getting More Out of Your Stamps

If you're anything like me, or have been playing around with crafting for a while, you've probably amassed a collection of stamps, whether they're wood mounted, unmounted, or acrylic.
We've all done the basic stamping: ink stamp from pad, stamp on paper. And we've done the embossing powder routines. And we've all pretty much played around with using markers to color individual portions of our stamps for greater variety.

But did you know that you can make your stamping look like you spent a few hours with watercolors and a paintbrush?

Me, I blame Tim Holtz for this particular Weekender. I saw him do this on the Carol Duvall show, and was immediately hooked. In fact, once the show was over (I DVR everything), I got up out of bed and marched to my crafting space to try it. And try it. And try it. I must have gone through at least three sheets of watercolor paper, stamping and playing with this technique.

I learned a few things through this process, so I figure I'll share them with you guys.


Watercolor paper, or heavy cardstock (textured is best, to really do up the watercolor look)
Stamps (bold designs, detailed stamps don't work well)
Dye, waterbased inks (dye markers work as well)
spray bottle (preferably a mist sprayer)
heat gun


-- You definitely want a bolder stamp design. Anything with a lot of detail will turn to a muddy blur. And choose thicker lines over thinner ones.
-- Wood mounts or acrylic stamps work equally well.
-- Some pigment inks DO actually work with this, but they must be very juicy, and you must spray and print -immediately-.
-- You can get several prints out of one inking -- just spray more water. Each subsequent stamping will be fainter, of course, allowing a nice fade effect.
-- Neatness does NOT count with this technique. The water spray will allow the ink to bleed to fill in any spaces you may miss on the stamp.
-- Color color color! Shading really helps the watercolor look.
-- Make sure when you spray the stamp that you hold it flat: tilting it will cause the ink to really run (though this look can work, too!).
-- You can actually use your watercolor paints on this as well. The pencils don't really work, but watercolors from a tube, or a reconstituted dry cake are perfect: just apply to the stamp with a brush.
-- For a really dramatic look, do your watercolor stamping, then stamp over it, same image, with a permanent ink.


1. You can either work on pre-cut sections of paper, or work on a big sheet and then cut/tear the images after stamping.

2. Ink up your stamp. While neatness doesn't count, this look works best if you avoid single, solid colors. After all, you're trying to approximate the look of watercolors. Shade to your heart's content -- but then, don't be afraid of trying a few bold solids. This technique is FUN, so play with it!

3. Holding your stamp flat and level, mist with your sprayer of water two to three times. Test your sprayer first to see how much water it puts out. You might only need two sprays, or even just one.

4. Carefully flip your stamp, and press it to your paper. Lift off carefully to avoid drips.

5. Immediately use your heat gun to dry it. You don't -have- to use a heat gun, but a fast dry keeps the colors stronger and on the surface, instead of them soaking into the paper. However, it MUST be dry before you stamp again, or you'll get running of the image that you don't want.

6. If desired, spray the stamp again, and restamp, changing position of the stamping. You should be able to get two to four stampings out of a single inking, each lighter than the last.

Make sure each stamping is dry before stamping again.

This technique creates images with a wonderful watercolor look, without all the time and effort. And for those like me with precious little drawing talent, makes it easy to get an image that actually looks like something!

Try tearing the edges of the stamped image to further soften the look.

A random field of small or large images makes nice background paper.

Watercolor stampings can be die cut to create great matching embellishments to coordinate with a larger stamping on a project.

Large images, when matted, are even worthy of framing. You don't have to tell anyone you didn't spend hours painting it!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Queen Kat Designs CHA releases!

Okay, I am TOTALLY in love with this wing stamp!

Sure, it's not the first we've released at Queen Kat Designs, considering that I designed two of them, but this one ... YEAH! This is one of the Queen Herself's first hand-drawn sketch stamps, and it turned out utterly awesome. It's got some great flow to it, and is wonderfully inspiring.

Don't ask me where the winged frog came from. I picked up a set of the dies on sale from Sizzix, and when I got the heart ... well, it had to be done. I could blame the fever, but frankly, this is just too much fun. Now I have to figure out how to take some good indoor pictures without the freakin yellow cast to them. GRRR.

See? See? I can do SOMETHING normal, even when sick.

If you adore wings, and can't get enough of wing stamps, check out Queen Kat Designs for all of our fabulously fun sets of wings to complete your collections!

Double Tagged! Dogpile on the Pooka!

Yikes, girlies! Juliet and Suzann both pounced me!

Be warned -- influenza is still giving me the rampant giggly Stoooooooopids, so this could be quite a ride.

Suzann's Tag:

The Middle Name Game!

These are the rules:-You must post the rules before you give your answers. You must list one fact about yourself for each letter of your middle name. Each fact must begin with that letter. If you don't have a middle name, just use your maiden name. After you've been tagged, you need to up-date your blog with your middle name and answers. At the end of your post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and need to read your blog for details.)

Melissa ... yeah. Could I steal my daughter's and use Siobhan instead?

M - Mother. I'm Mom to two daughters, five cats, one dog, and all of my children's friends. I get as many phone calls from the eldest's friends as she does.

E - Eccentric. Oh yeah, that's me all right.

L - Lazy, Listless, Loopy, Lethargic ... can you tell I'm sick?

I - cuz it's INFLUENZA bringing me down, oh yeah, oh yeah, bayyyyybeee....

S - Sick, STOOOPID, Silly ... right, this is getting too silly. Stop it!

S - Strength. Survival. Whatever it is, I've been told I have it in abundance to continue to cope with my poor health. Me, I call it Stubborn.

A - I love my Animals. There's something wonderfully unconditional about their affection, even from the cats.

Jules' Tag:

The rules for this meme are:
(1) Link to the person that tagged you.
(2) List the rules on your blog.
(3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
(4) Tag 5 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
(5) Let each random person know they have been tagged.

Actually, this one is perfect right now, since fever makes me about as random as I can possibly get. You've been warned.

1 -- I have a habit of drumming my fingernails on any book I'm reading, driving my husband up the walls. I don't even notice I'm doing it.

2 -- My body may be a temple, but even goddesses feel the need to redecorate. I have no problems with body modification -- I've lost count of the number of tattoos that I have, I have 7 holes in my right ear, 2 in my left, and one in my nose.

3 -- I collect Techniques. I want to know HOW to do things. New techniques and skills thrill me, but then I have a habit of getting bored after I learn them and wander on to the next new thing. Thus, you'll often see spurts of one thing, then nothing on it for a while.

4 -- This is why I have a huge selection of Tools. I own 2 enkle looms, one of which I turned into a small tapestry loom, quilling tools, soldering iron, butane torches, propane torches, die cut machines, tatting tools, two sewing machines, knitting needles, drop spindles, felting needles, crochet hooks ... etc. I have tools in abundance, so many that I need a separate room JUST for my tools.

5 -- I can sleep when I'm dead. I've had chronic insomnia since I was 12. I turn 40 this year. That's a LONG time to not sleep properly.

6 -- My hair is currently Fire Engine red. Because.

NOW .... those who are to be tagged, I salute you!

Amyrantha, my Moonrose!
Cindy -- the Moonie One's partner in crime
Bev -- the Grannie with the mostest, who never posts enough anyway
Tanis -- twisted minds must stick together, bayyyybe -- for the monsters! Think of the monsters!
La Stephanie! I'm glad I found ya, lady. You're neat!

And I am SO not tagging one for Every Single Letter of my middle name -- that's my parent's fault, no one else should take the heat for that! :D

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Weekender -- Sick leave

Ain't happening this weekend.

I spent yesterday unconscious and incoherent, running between a 102 and a 104* temperature. It's already 101* today at 10 am. I can barely remember my own name or how to type, much less try to figure out a project for this weekend.

So the Weekenders will return next weekend, and cross your fingers that I don't end up in hospital with pneumonia.

This is Pooka, last survivor of the Nostromo ... signing off.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Random Babble-0-tron

So, for those of you that have spouses on the road, be warned. My husband works out on oil rigs, and apparently he's exposed to influenza strains that are not Strain of the Year in the flu shots. Cough. Hack. Wheeze. Whimper.

Despite the cold, my dog is out in the backyard trying to herd squirrels. You can't tell a Corgi that squirrels aren't herdable. She just won't listen.

First thunderstorm of the year last night, so spring in Tornado Alley looks to be a real doozy. Felimid is usually oblivious to thunder, but last night, he crawled up into my arms and whimpered. It was LOUD.

The new kitten is fitting in well -- perhaps too well. Last night, he even had my anti-social Siamese playing tag with him around the house. When all four of the boys got going, I considered locking myself in the bathroom. That's a LOT of feline weight for them to throw around, since Oz is a huge huge cat, and Felimid is Jabba the Butt. Everyone but the crotchety "Scrappy Squirrel" Manx plays with him -- and she hates everybody. Cranky old girl.

I know, I know, another post from me without pictures? I'll fix that.

Tag swap at The collar tags on the central cats are done in shrink plastic (and have a cat face on them, natch). The additional faces added are cut from a large cat collage stamp, and attached with foam strips.

More tag swap stuff. I need to get pictures of the last two sets.

Any "No Reservations" fans out there? I adore Anthony Bourdain (perhaps it could be called an obsession, after all, I own all his books, including the Mafia fiction), and he's way too entertaining on TV.

Last night, however, the show was rather emotional. Tony visited New Orleans, discussing the aftermath of Katrina. The only other show that had been this tense before was the Beirut episode. Even seeing Tony finally sit down to talk to Emeril, who has been the butt of SO many of Tony's jokes, wasn't as entertainingly fun as expected. Very serious show, but worth a watch.

Monday, February 04, 2008

QKD Round Robin Blog Party .... Prize!

We have a winner for my stop on the QKD Blog Party Tour!

ScrapAloha is the overall winner for my three days of the party. I will need to get all your contact information so that we can get your prize to you, and nice job, lady!

I have a condolence prize as well, for Effort Above And Beyond ...

Stephanie Earls, who, despite being on a trip, went out and bought shrink plastic for the last challenge, and tried everything short of the waffle iron at her hotel to try to make the stuff work. That's some crazy crafting there, that's for sure! I'll be sending you a little something special, since anyone who goes through that much effort deserves a warm fuzzy!

Congratulations to our winner, and thank you for playing along. I really enjoyed seeing what everyone came up with.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Weekender -- The Great Shink!

Shrink plastic -- it's not just for kids!

For those of you that haven't played with the stuff since you were a child, you'd be amazed at what all is out now. Shrinky Dinks is no longer the only company producing it, and frosted white is no longer the only colour you can get, oh no.

There's now black, completely clear, a very white white, and even some earth toned shrink plastic.

And you don't have to use an oven anymore, not with heat guns being sold everywhere. They're faster, more efficient, and make it easier for the plastic to still be warm enough to shape and mold as you like.

You can use your laser or ink-jet printers on shrink plastic! There are, however, a few tricks to doing it (unless you spend more money on printer-friendly plastic):

-- Use a very fine sandpaper, and working in only one direction, sand the slick back of the plastic, otherwise, it won't feed into your printer.
-- Make SURE you put it in the right direction -- if it prints on that slick back, it will never dry and will rub right off, making cutting it out impossible.
-- All colours intensify when the plastic shrinks, so you need to alter chosen images in a program like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop. Increase the brightness of the image and lighten it, or the end result after shrinking is mud. Try to avoid overly complicated images for the same reason.
-- Make sure you let it dry after coming out of the printer, and do not touch it for a while, or it will smear.

One thing to remember when working with shrink plastic is to always read the instructions. Each brand shrinks a bit differently, so for some, you may have up to 75% shrinkage, others only 50%. This can affect your final piece. If you aren't sure, you can make your own scale to determine the final size. Take a ruler, and copy the marks out onto a strip of shrink plastic -- make sure you get inches and half-inches. Then shrink the strip, and use that against the original ruler to figure out your size.

Another important detail is corners. Sharp corners get even sharper once it has shrunk, which can make for uncomfortable jewelry. Try to round all corners, even slightly, to prevent this. When cutting your piece, make sure that you cut evenly and smoothly -- any tears or angled cuts will be overly obvious after shrinkage, and some will even become dangerous if you aren't careful.

And if you plan to string it in any way, PUNCH YOUR STRINGING HOLES BEFORE YOU SHRINK IT! Yes, you can TRY to drill holes afterwards, but chances are the piece will just shatter or crack. The hole will shrink as well, so use a larger punch to make the hole.

Cutting can be done with scissors, or you can use large punches (remember, they shrink), and even some die-cut machines to cut your shapes. I don't recommend a craft knife, because of the potential for tearing and slippage. Shrink plastic definitely cuts differently than paper.

Can't find shrink plastic locally? You can actually make your own. Many clear plastic take-out containers (especially from salad bars) that have a 2 code on the bottom can be used to create shrink plastic shapes. However, because of the plastic fumes, I do NOT recommend doing this in any oven not dedicated to crafting, and you have to work in a very well ventilated area. A heat gun used outside is far safer.

More Tips for using shrink plastic:

-- Always work on a heat-proof surface (I have a huge marble tile I picked up cheap at a home improvement store that I use for my heat gun, soldering, and even torch work on PMC), because these things get HOT.
-- If you sand the slick side, it will help prevent sticking. You can also use cornstarch or baby powder. Big pieces do have a tendency to stick, but most of the time, if you just keep heating it down, it will even out.
--You can get creative and make a frame that will stop any of the flipping around by taking some metal screen mesh, attaching it to a frame of cardboard, and cover the cardboard edges with aluminum foil. Make sure you have a thick layer of cardboard around the frame, two pieces thick is perfect, and just place that over your piece and heat it through the mesh. There won't be any flipping around. Me, I just make a small aluminum foil "box" and heat it in there -- the foil makes it shrink faster, and the sides of the box keeps the piece from flipping around all over the work surface.
-- Do not use a metal tool, like an embossing stylus, to hold the piece still through the hole. The metal will get hot, distort the hole, and the plastic will stick to it. Also, do not use a large tool, like a thick paintbrush, because the hole will shrink around it and be impossible to remove without distortion.
-- If you heavily sand the slick side, you can easily colour both sides to match, creating a more even look in the final piece.

I've tried just about every method possible to colour shrink plastic. Some work better than others.

-- Permanent inks will dry, making it easier to cut the piece out without smearing.
-- Pigment and dye inks don't like to dry, but if you give them a VERY quick and gentle heating, from a distance, it should dry it enough for you to cut them out without a problem.
-- Alcohol inks work great on shrink plastic! This looks particularly nice with pieces that have been die-cut.
-- Markers work, but again, permanent markers are best for a speedy dry that won't smear.
-- Coloured pencils are always your friend. Even watercolour pencils will work. However, metallic pencils can end up with a muddy look, so use sparingly.
-- Paint pens generally work well, and a white fine-tip pen is great for adding detail over coloured areas, but paints that will bubble with heat can cause a nasty look on the final piece -- test first.
-- I have some permanent pearlescent liquid acrylic calligraphy inks that work nicely on shrink plastic.
-- You can even use mica powders/pigments like Pearl-Ex or Perfect Pearls dusted over the plastic. Colours do intensify, so you don't have to really slather the stuff on heavily.

Now, while you can rubber stamp onto the surface BEFORE shrinking, did you know you can do it afterwards while the plastic is still very hot, and get a look similar to stamping into embossing powder? Yep! The look is more subtle on shrink plastic (and looks fabulous on black), but you can rub metallic rubons over the raised areas to bring the image out further.

Colouring books and clip art books make great sources for images to trace onto the plastic. Embroidery pattern books work well. If you are feeling really brave, or have the patience, some clip art books of large, intricate ornaments can be absolutely stunning.

Shrink plastic images make great custom dimensional charms for scrapbook pages, cards, and ATCs. They make fantastic custom buttons, not only for paper projects, but for use on purses, bags, and clothing. Once shrunk, they are really quite sturdy, and even work as pet tags on collars -- and then you can make another for the pet's pages!

You can also make some creative, custom jewelry using shrink plastic and some imagination -- and planning. Charm bracelets, earrings, pendants -- there's no limit, and multiple pieces can be glued together (I use E6000 or two-part epoxy) for layered effects that make gorgeous pendants.

The Project -- Spiral Earrings


Shrink plastic
Heat gun
Rubber stamps, or images of choice (optional for this project)
Coloured pencils, markers, mica pigments
2 jump rings
2 earring hooks or posts with loops
A thick-handled paintbrush, or mandrel


1. Cut two long strips of shrink plastic, approximately 1 1/2" wide, and 6-8" long.

2. Colour as desired -- keep in mind that the final piece will be a spiral.

3. Punch a hole in the top of each strip.

4. Work with only one strip at a time -- you can't do this well in an oven, I recommend a heat gun, because once the piece has shrunk, you have to work fast.

5. Unless you have asbestos fingertips like I do (from years of wire-work and working with hot glue guns, PMC, polymer clay, and soldering), some sort of heat-resistant glove will be helpful. Keep the heat gun on the piece (you can't over-shrink it) until you are ready to wrap.

6. Leaving the very top with the hole slightly above the end of your chosen mandrel, QUICKLY wrap the rest of the strip around the mandrel. It must be still hot to do this -- but you can always use the heat gun to soften it again if it cools too much while you're wrapping.

7. Repeat with the other strip.

8. If desired, use a metal leafing pen to gild the edges of the spiral (try to match the metal of the earring findings, or get creative and do gradations of metal colour down the edges).

9. Attach a jump ring through the hole on each piece, and attach to the earring finding.

This same project can be done with strips of metal (copper is nice, especially if you suspend it over ammonia for a while to change the colour, or use heat to alter the copper's surface), or even polymer clay, but shrink plastic makes a very fun custom spiral.

You can do this project with your kids -- have them do the colouring, you handle the shrinking and wrapping -- and let them have a great handmade pair of earrings. This is a lot of fun at girls birthday parties, and gives them something they made to take home.

If you haven't played with shrink plastic in years, I hope this inspires you to give it a try again!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Weekender -- pause for Station ID

Since the Queen Kat Designs blog party is in its last days here on my blog, I'm postponing the currently scheduled Weekender project.

I will announce winners of this stop on the blog tour Monday, after all of the last entries come in tomorrow, so be sure to check back to see who won the stamp set (and possibly other goodies!).

With any luck, I'll get the Weekender project up tomorrow. The supply list that you may need to get ahead of time is simple:

Shrink plastic.

How's that for a preview hint? :D

Challenge Three: Shrink it!

Since I am a little late getting this last challenge posted, I'm giving you till Midnight on February 3rd for entries for this one.

I love shrink plastic. Adore it. Have probably more of it than any one person should. But that's not the point.

Your challenge here is simple:

1. Use shrink plastic in a project. At least one piece of shrink plastic must be stamped before shrinking and attaching it to your piece. (extra point for QKD stamps).

2. Finished entries must be linked here by midnight, February 3rd.

Simple, huh?

It could be a mini-diorama, a card, an ATC, a scrapbook page, even jewelry! The point is to play and have fun with this.