Shrink Plastic Charms with Karen Ellis - Gel Press

Shrink Plastic Charms with Karen Ellis

Hello everyone, Karen Ellis here.

Before I begin, I just wanted to wish everyone a HAPPY 4th of July! I hope you’re spending the day with family and friends.


Summer is now officially upon us and I have a project you and your kids will enjoy creating. I’ve been having a TON of fun making charms with Shrink Plastic and my 5×7 Gel Press Printing Plate and I’m so happy to be able to share this with you.  You can use these charms in any number of ways — even make them 3D! I used them here in a necklace, bracelet and key chain combination but I’m having dreams of wind chimes and sun catchers...the possibilities are truly endless!


  • 5×7 Gel Press Printing Plate
  • Shrink Plastic (clear) – Ranger Ink
  • Pigment Ink (various colors) – I used Ombre Ink from Hero Arts
  • Foam Stamps (Misc) – ArtFoamies
  • Glossy Accents – Ranger
  • Die Cutting System – I used the Brother ScanNCut 650W
  • Oven or Toaster Oven
  • Hole Punch
  • Parchment Paper

I enjoyed the convenience of my Brother ScanNCut machine to cut the butterfly and flower shapes to make the charms but you can use any of your favorite die cutting systems to cut the shrink plastic or even a pair of scissors!  When you choose your shapes, keep in mind the plastic will shrink to about 40% of its original size and don’t be afraid to choose layering sets!

Ink your 5×7 Gel Press Printing Plate by tapping an ink pad across the plate.

Remove some ink to create a pattern on the plate by stamping a decorative ArtFoamies Stamp across the plate.

Place your cut Shrink Plastic shapes on the printing plate to cover the plate and using a scrap piece of paper as a blotter, press the shapes into the ink.

Remove and punch holes for jump rings.


Repeat the process with another color. Once you’ve removed most of the ink, ink up another ArtFoamies Stamp with a complimentary color and stamp it onto the printing plate. I added a red batik pattern in the sample shown above. Pick up any excess ink with all your pieces to add layered, marbled look.

Place your Shrink Plastic on a piece of parchment paper and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to shrink your pieces. TIP: Space your shapes far apart and “bake” similar sized pieces together (larger pieces will take longer to shrink than smaller ones). Depending on the number of charms you’re making, you could repeat this step a number of times. Don’t worry – it’s fast, VERY entertaining, and extremely satisfying to watch the plastic curl and shrink in the oven. Don’t forget to turn the oven light on and watch!

I have shrunk the plastic with a heat gun before but I don’t recommend it for these charms. The larger pieces make it very hard to get the heat evenly spaced long enough to shrink the plastic properly.

Once your pieces are ready it’s time to embellish and layer them.

Glossy Accents is an adhesive, clear, glossy lacquer – the perfect adhesive and embellishing medium for these charms. I doodled and dotted the charms with the Glossy Accents for a little extra fun. Make sure these dry completely before assembling your jewelry pieces. The thicker your application, the longer it will take to dry. Leave overnight for best results.

Your charms are ready to create something special for yourself or a gift.  With a pair of jewelry pliers, some chain and jump rings you can simply create your pieces ready to wear.  Have fun and wear art!

Charm Necklace Karen Ellis

HAPPY 4th!

Karen Ellis

Karen Ellis