Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shrink Plastic + Melting Pot?

I've been trying to keep this in, but I can't any longer: I've had the truly amazing opportunity to go to Ranger University. Besides getting to learn loads of really cool techniques from a few of the best designers in the business, I've met some wonderful people who have been in the business for years. I can't even begin to describe the awe I've felt in the presence of all of these masters, but I can share a few techniques with you!!

One of the things I didn't know much about before this experience is the Melting Pot.

I knew it melted things (go figure! hehe), but I wasn't sure how it worked and what other items it can work with. For example, did you know that you can use Shrink Plastic in the melting pot?!
Here's what Tim Holtz taught me:

1. It's good to work on a Nonstick Craft Sheet. Anything that might spill is easily removable from this surface (especially with a craft scraper!) and you can even pour directly on to it!

2. Plug in and turn on Melting Pot to the UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) setting. The pot heats up quickly. A rule of thumb: do not touch the silver parts!! They are hot. The black parts are safe to touch.

3. Cover and preheat the empty Melting Pot for 5-10 minutes.

4. Pour in Clear UTEE and place the lid on to allow to completely melt - this will take a few minutes and will work best with the lid on. The shallow end heats faster than the deep end (just like at the pool or beach). If you are feeling impatient, you can pull some of the unmelted UTEE to the shallow end with your Kool Tools spatula, but don't stir unless you want air bubbles in your finished product.

Note: Tim said that the longer the Clear UTEE is in the pot, the more amber it will turn in color. This is ok, but be aware of this effect (the amber color is pretty cool for a vintage project!).

3. Time for Shrink Plastic! Tim suggested creating a ruler out of Shrink Plastic so that you know what size things will end up. (Create a ruler by marking measurements on the Shrink Plastic with a permanent marker before you shrink it - line it up with a ruler for the measurements. Then put shrink it down to a mini ruler - this will help you decide what size piece to cut before shrinking to get the small scale that you want. Thanks for that tip, Tim!!! Brilliant!) Cut a strip of Shrink Plastic that fits your project.

4. Insert Shrink Plastic strip into the melted UTEE - it's good to use tweezers for this.

5. The Shrink Plastic will quickly curl up as it shrinks. Use tweezers to push the Shrink Plastic toward the deep end and unroll it (this looks daunting, but it will uncurl).

6. Carefully remove Shrink Plastic from the Melting Pot by grabbing with tweezers and remove from pot. Even though the Shrink Plastic is gooey/melted-looking, you will not indent it by gripping it with your tweezers.

7. As you remove the Shrink Plastic from the Melting Pot, quickly drag the piece across your Craft Sheet to remove tweezers while UTEE is hot (yes, they will stick together if you hang on for too long. If your Shrink Plastic & tweezers do get stuck together, just re-dip and try the drag technique again - no biggie.).

8. Allow Shrink Plastic piece to cool and trim excess UTEE with Craft Scissors.

9. Choose any paper/image you want. I've gotta say, Tim Holtz's Crowded Attic Paper Stash is pretty cool...but Papillon, Steampunk, and Oddities are the stamps sets that contain the images I used.

10. Apply Glossy Accents to the back flat side of the Shrink Plastic tile.

11. Press over the image and hold in place to dry.

12. Trim excess paper from the sides.

13. Done! Use tile as you wish! How cool is it to make a custom tile? VERY!! (or maybe I should say it's hot?)

14. Repeat or use the rest of the Clear UTEE in the Melting Pot for another project!

Happy Crafting!! Thanks for the fun project, Tim!

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  1. Wow, really cool, sounds like fun too! I had no idea you could use the shrink plastic in the pot!

  2. I have an unopened melting pot and maybe this week, I will play! Thanks for sharing!


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