Tutorial: plastic keychains

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.

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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.

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You’ll also want to lighten the opacity to about half. I go somewhere between 50-60%.

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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.

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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!

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Cut out your design, leaving the amount of border you want.

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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.

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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.

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Put them in the oven. Remember to keep track of time! I leave them in for about a minute and a half.

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After time is up they should be super small! Magic!

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If your charms are not flat, put something heavy on it right out of the oven when they are still hot and malleable.

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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.

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For lariats, you can use jump rings or lobster clasps.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Well, there ya go! Have fun making your own keychains!

tagged as: tutorial. how to do stuff.

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3/14/2013 . 60,008 notes . Reblog
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