This month’s DIY is how to make My Little Pony shrink brooches and necklaces as I thought they would be a fun activity to keep myself busy this winter. Prior to making these I had never made anything with shrink paper or my own custom brooches so this project is very beginner level, even for those of us who have no idea how to draw (like at all, I am the worst at drawing). As well this doesn’t have to be My Little Pony, it could be any cartoon or characters that you love. Now the key to this project that makes it universally do-able is the use of a source material. For mine I used actual vintage Shrinky Drinks of My Little Pony, as well as vintage books and coloring books I had. Because shrink paper, shrinks (go figure) books are the perfect size to trace for brooches and necklaces. And if you don’t have any of those it’s easy to google in ‘chttp://blog.citizenerasedphotography.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=16592&action=edit&message=1oloring book [character name]’ and simply print off (or trace directly from the screen) instead. This project was so much fun to do and I can’t tell you how many times I stayed up late after work making these and try out new color combos. I’ve already gifted a few of them away and think this is a project I will keep doing using different characters over and over again.
- Shrink paper
- Markers/pencil crayons
- Brooch backs/necklaces
- Glue (E6000 is awesome)
- Baking pan
- Sealer (Modpodge, spray sealers, medium, nail polish…)
- Sand paper
- Parchment paper
- Hole punch
Price and Material Information:
$25 for all the materials if you are buying everything from scratch. The shrink paper which is the most important can be bought at most local art & craft stores for $8 for 6 sheets and the brand I use Grafix comes in various different types although my local art store only carries the clear and white (it also comes in pre-sanded, color set, and for printers). On that note you can actually just skip this whole DIY and just print the images you want onto the paper using a printer but to me that just isn’t as fun. For the markers you can use Sharpies, and any permanent and water based markers. You can also use acrylic paint, rubber stamps and pencil crayons (pencil crayons require the surface to be sanded first).
- Test your markers / pencil crayons using small stripes of your shrink paper.
*This is a great step to see how the colors will turn out and if you like how the marker goes onto the paper. As you can see the colors are darker after being baked and do appear differently on white paper opposed to the clear paper (keep in mind my clear strip is laying on the white counter top). With clear shrink paper you can get a translucent effect with most markers, and semi to full opaque with pencil crayons and some markers. You may notice that certain markers will be streaky and I noticed some of my metallic Sharpies changed when baked. The pencil crayons (not shown) are very similar before and after baking. This step also gives you chance to do a test bake before you do a more important piece.
- Figure out what images you’d like to use as your source material. Here is a look at what I used.
- If you are using pencil crayons you will want to sand one side of the paper first using 300-400 grit paper. I like to sand mine in both directions multiple times to make sure there is no smooth portions left as you don’t want part of your design to not accept the pencil crayon.
*using markers on sanded shrink paper is not recommond as the markers tend to bleed.
- Trace your source image.
*If you are using white or colored shrink paper you will need to also back light the image to trace it.
- Once the image is traced simply color it in.
- Using scissors or an exacto knife cut out the character making sure there are no sharp edges. You can have a border or do borderless. For a necklace you will want to leave some room to punch a hole on the top or base of the character.
*I find the white shrink paper looks better boarderless
- For necklaces you will want to make a hole using a holepunch either the standard size or 1/6th. Keep in mind this will also shrink and that it is extrememly hard to make any holes in the shrink paper after it’s been baked so you will want to make any modifications you want now.
(here is an idea of what the size of the hole will be before and after, left is 1/6th, right is 1/8th)
- Preheat the oven to 300-350 degrees F
- Prepare the baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper and place the cut outs color side up. Make sure none of the shrink paper is touching.
*You can place the shrink paper on top of velllum, teflon and cardboard as well but parchment paper and a baking sheet are more common. You can also cover the shrink paper with any of those on top to make sure it lays flat but I noticed that didn’t work very well with parchment paper as they stick and the color smears onto the parchment paper.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for roughly 2-3 minutes and watch them shrink:
*It’s really fun to watch them shrink, however unlike the video you want the oven door closed for the whle time. You’ll notice my end piece ended up with black soot on it from the smoke since the door was open.
- Working quickly take the baking sheet out of the oven and quickly using a flat surface squish each to make sure they will dry flat.
*I like using a glass cup w/ a flat bottom so I can make sure none of the marker rubbed off onto the cup.
- Wait for the shrink paper to cool and dry.
*I usually wait an hour to make sure the markers and pencil crayon is fully dry after baking.
- Now you will have to seal the shrink paper as the markers can still be rubbed off or be damaged by water. Wait for sealer to dry if you want to do multiple coats.
*You will want to test your sealer on one of your earlier tests to see if you like the finish and to make sure the marker/pencil crayon does not smear when sealer is applied. I found most spray sealers and nail polish will not work at this point (see above image) so you might have to seal the shrink paper using a medium like Modpodge. I like to use a glow in the dark Mod Podge for extra fun as it will make the brooch/necklace glow in the dark if it’s white.
Optional: You can add a top coat after the sealer has dried which I recommend as Mod Podge’s finish is not my thing. Since the shrink paper is already sealed the top coat could be pretty much anything, nail polish, Clear Coat, ectera. This is where you can add a little bit of embellisment to your brooch like glitter or sparkles. I played around with a few of my glitter nail polish and was pretty happy with the results.
*on the clear paper you can use the reverse side as the front of the brooch instead.
(Colored side up on left, reverse side on right)
- When the brooches are completely dry apply glue to one side and add a brooch back.
- When the necklaces are completely dry you will want to take a jump ring and use to attach the shrink paper to any chain. You can do the same for making earrings, phone charms, or keychains.
- Last step is to rock your new accessories.
I love these My Little Pony shrink brooches and necklaces, they are so fun and very addictive to make and you can just let you imagination run wild. I can’t wait to make more and really learn how to make the perfect brooch. This DIY is more aimed of those of us who can’t draw but for any artist I highly recommend to just grab some shrink paper and spend a night with friends drawing, painting and just experimenting. Who knows what you’ll end up, that’s the exciting part. Below is all of the My Little Pony’s I made and some other characters (including ghosts that I created). Let me know in the comments if you have any advice, or to show me your creations!
(a alien keychain I made for Victor for Valentine’s and an amazing necklace Starchild Stela gave to me)