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Old 12-08-2008, 10:23 AM   #1
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Question How do you keep your shrink plastic from curling?

I followed the directions exactly and my scallop circle is now a curled up blob. It said to take them out and put something on top of them so they stay flat, but when I took them out, they were already hard?! Did I leave them in too long?
I am trying to make key chains for my daughters friends for xmas and it's not working out!
HELP!
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Yes, you probably left them in too long or had the oven too high. They are supposed to curl, but will flatten out as they shrink. Which kind did you use? The directions should be pretty clear. Maybe you got a bad package or something. Sorry....HTH
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:05 AM   #3
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I set the oven to 325* per pkg. instructions and it said it would take between 1-3 min. Well, it took just over 1 min. and they all curled inward and by the time I got them out, they were hard!
I just bought the pkg. so I am hoping it wasn't an old one...
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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they do curl- perhaps they needed a little longer. i don't think you can reheat and fix em but on the next ones maybe watch them and let them stay in the oven after they curl too.

do you have an embossing tool? i think this method is much easier. you can help them uncurl if you use an embossing gun...
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:30 AM   #5
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I have created necklaces (much larger pieces) and various other things with Shrinky Dink material, but I altered the directions a little.

I heat them on some sturdy cardboard (side of a shipping box) like the instructions mention. I set my oven at 300 deg and let them stay in for about 10 minutes. (Stay close to the oven since you do have a piece of cardboard in there.) They will still be slightly curled on the edges when you take them out, but just flatten them with another FLAT piece of cardboard. This must be done immediately after you remove them from the oven.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-08-2008, 11:39 AM   #6
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The curling is natural....you don't take them out when they curl....that's the problem. The longer they're in....they will flatten back out. HTH
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:15 PM   #7
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I had the same problem and found that holding a piece of sturdy mesh just above the shrinky dink and heating with my embossing tool, forcing the hot air through the mesh, kept it from curling so much that it touched and stuck. It turned out a lot better then before using this method.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:31 PM   #8
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Another question...is there a right side and a wrong side? The sheet I have looks the same on both sides. Could I have had it on the wrong side and that's why it curled too...other than I cooked it too much???
I will have to try again tomorrow.
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Old 12-08-2008, 03:46 PM   #9
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I use the "Frosted Ruff N' Ready" by Shrinky Dinks, and there is definitely a difference between the sides. One side has a shiny finish, and the other side has a matte "sanded" finish (which is the side you stamp on.) I use my heat gun to shrink my pieces, and have never had a problem. However, as soon as the piece has shrunk, I immediately cover it with a wood-mounted stamp (wood side next to the Shrinky Dink), and that flattens the piece.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:06 AM   #10
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None of the stuff I use has a right and wrong side. The only time I use the oven is for very big pieces, normally I use my heat gun. And yes, it will curl, and if it curls a lot it can stick to itself. Then all the instructions say to let it set, snap it free and heat it again? Never worked for me. So, I heat with my gun and hold a knitting needle over it to stop it curling up too much. (I've heard of the mesh solution mentioned by PJill, but I don't have any heatproof mesh. Once it's curled and more or less uncurled itself, I used the back of a stamp block to press it down flat. You can get cool effects by using the actual stamp, too, pressing it in Versamark first. Love the effect this gives.
Back to your oven, most domestic ovens have quite inaccurate thermostats, so it's quite possible that your oven could be either too hot or not hot enough. But I think a heat gun is a much easier way of shrinking most things.
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Old 12-10-2008, 02:13 AM   #11
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Don't throw those out yet.....if you have the heat tool, heat them up just a bit and flatten with a stamp block, as Sabrina said, or use the smooth bottom of a glass.
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:39 AM   #12
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I find that my toaster is the best way to shrink the plastic. You do have to wait until the plastic uncurls and lies flat. Sometimes it still isn't completely flat, so I have an acrylic block (or the back of a wood-mounted stamp) ready to flatten it down as soon as I take it out of the toaster oven.
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:44 AM   #13
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I have to agree with most of the posts about heat gun VS oven. Every time I tried shrinking in the oven I got mixed results. I only use the heat gun now and a homemade tool to hold the piece. I took a sponge brush, wooden handle and tore the sponge and plastic off drilled a tiny hole and inserted and glued a needle into the hole. The needle is strong enough to hold the piece while melting and small enough not to leave an impression and the wood handle keeps it from getting too hot. The shrink plastic will curl first, you have to keep heating it until it flattens back out. Most will lay flat but there are always a stubborn few you have to smoosh (technical term) flat. You have to do this while it is still very warm so have something flat and heat resistant standing by, like mentioned in other posts the back of a large wood stamp is good. Shrink it will not flatten once it's cooled off so you may have some luck reheating and smooshing.
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Old 12-10-2008, 09:50 AM   #14
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Kimberli---325 degrees is too HOT even though that is what the package directions state. I've since reduced the oven temp to 275 degrees and have gotten much better results. Also...initially the stamped image will curl as it shrinks ---this is normal.
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:07 AM   #15
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I will have to try it at a lower temp. and maybe even try it with my heat gun (but I don't know what to hold it down with?).
I bought a new pkg. yesterday but haven't had a chance to try it out yet. Maybe tomorrow.
I will go over everyones responses again before I try it. I hate to cut it out and color it all if it's not going to work, yah know? Maybe I will just try a blank piece in the oven at 275* and see how that goes.
Wish me luck!!!
Thanks everyone! I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 12-10-2008, 10:32 AM   #16
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You can use a knitting needle, or I use a couple of bamboo skewers. I lay the piece to be shrunk on a piece of heavy cardboard covered with foil (shiny side up and smooth). I haven't had any problems doing it this way.
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:37 PM   #17
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I prefer the toaster oven to the heat gun. I think they come out flatter and more even.
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Old 12-10-2008, 05:47 PM   #18
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I use my heat gun and my paper piercer to hold it. I love shrink plastic! and I think you probably need to heat it a little longer to get the curl out - good luck!
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Old 12-10-2008, 08:06 PM   #19
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Shrink plastic has a mind of its own. There's great advice here. Donate at least a half sheet cut into pieces the size of your key tags and just play with them first to get the hang of it. Turn the phone off and hang a *Do Not Disturb* sign around your neck! Ya gotta stay right with it from beginning to the very end. THEN, go stamp and color your real tags and you'll have great results.
I use my heat gun, an old over-sized pair of tweezers and popsicle sticks while heating. HTH! Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 12-11-2008, 05:39 AM   #20
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Well, I think it worked. I think my problem was that the oven was too hot and I think I panicked when I saw it curling...I guess I didn't realize that it needs to curl and then it will flatten back out. I didn't give it enough time.
The directions on the pkg. are not quite accurate though...I cooked it at 300* but it took about 6-8 min. instead of 1-3 as the directions say.
I think I am good to try and color some and then bake, bake, bake!
Wish me luck (AGAIN!!!)!!!
Thanks everyone for your help! XO
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Old 12-11-2008, 07:04 AM   #21
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It always amazes me on all the different results. I get best results in my oven at 325 for about 5 minutes. I put them on a cookie sheet lined with foil on the middle rack in my oven. I've tested my oven temp and it's right on so I know it is 325. When I take them out I flip them over with a spatula and press down to flatten them.

The toaster oven I bought especially this reason always "toasted" my shrink plastic and a heat gun took too long.

On a rare occassion I use my heat gun instead of the oven, I put the cut out pieces in a shoe box and then heat them with my heat gun. The pieces fly around the box but I just keep my heat gun on them until they start to flatten out. Then I use my tweezers to hold in place until they flatten out. You will hear a "snap" when are through shrinking. I don't like doing it this way because you have to be careful not to burn the image and not to get tweezer marks. I really like using the oven, easier and l have can have a cup of coffee while I wait.
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Old 12-11-2008, 09:57 AM   #22
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I'm making the prettiest snowman pins, if I say so-- and my friends (several at work are wearing the pin I gave them today) agree! That being said, I agree that the package directions must be altered to best fit how you "bake" your shrinky dink items. In my case, using my regular oven, I must bake them at 275 degrees for several minutes. I keep a close watch on them after the first 3-4 minutes, to see how they are progressing and go from there with the process.
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Old 12-13-2008, 05:42 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellegirl View Post
I'm making the prettiest snowman pins, if I say so-- and my friends (several at work are wearing the pin I gave them today) agree! That being said, I agree that the package directions must be altered to best fit how you "bake" your shrinky dink items. In my case, using my regular oven, I must bake them at 275 degrees for several minutes. I keep a close watch on them after the first 3-4 minutes, to see how they are progressing and go from there with the process.
Would love to see what you're making
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Old 12-14-2008, 03:44 AM   #24
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I saw a lady once take a piece of screen (like you would use for your screen door) and made a paper frame around it - to give it more weight) and then put the screen contraption on top of the shrink plastic before heating it with a heat gun. The screen allowed the heat to flow through and kept the plastic from curling up. I haven't actually tried it, but it worked for her.
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Old 12-14-2008, 04:16 AM   #25
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For small items I just hit them with my heat gun Usually I have a hole of some sort for lets say making earrings and that is where I hold my piercing tool so that they don't fly away. I am getting a total kick out of the plastic curling up into a blob and then to flatten out neatly into the shape, amazes me every time. I don't do many at a time, so the heat gun really is quicker and better to control for me than the oven.
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Old 12-16-2008, 12:19 PM   #26
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you can also lightly sand the shrinky dink material front and back and/or rub cornstarch or baby powder on it before you stamp it and heat it. this helps prevent it from sticking together when it curls up.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:14 PM   #27
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I also use my heat gun and it work fine. Once in a blue moon it doesn't come out flat but I just use a large block then to flatten it.
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Old 12-17-2008, 09:11 AM   #28
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I always use my oven (never thought to use my heat gun but I guess that is because I usually am doing 30 or so at time and an oven is much faster). I put it at 325-350, the temp just makes it go faster but if it shrinks too fast there could be a problem. I found that dusting the cookie sheet with flour helps the shrinky-dink (that is what we call shrink plastic here in Canada) from sticking and helps when it is curling. Every so often one doesn't curl right and is a blob but this rarely happens. I freaked the first time when it curled and took it out but it wasn't ready so yes it does curl and then flatten out, and sometimes they need a little more help to be perfectly straight.

At Halloween I made shrinky-dink skeletons with my girl guide group (same as girl scouts) and the girls were amazed about how small the pieces of the skeleton shrank.
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Old 12-22-2008, 06:59 PM   #29
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you can also lightly sand the shrinky dink material front and back and/or rub cornstarch or baby powder on it before you stamp it and heat it. this helps prevent it from sticking together when it curls up.
I was having the worst luck shrinking some small pieces with names on them to personalize ornaments. Some would curl and the edges stick to each other and I couldn't separate them, so I would have to throw them out and do it again. It then dawned on me to use my Embossing buddy over the plastic before I shrink and I didn't have any more problems with its edges sticking together.
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