Working with shrink plastic material is so much fun, and today we wanted to share all the tips we have about working with the shrink plastic material. To do that, we will show you how to make a shrink plastic dog tag.

Supplies Needed:

1. Open or create your designs in Silhouette Studio®. Resize them. Keep in mind that a baked piece will be approximately three times smaller than a printed one, as shown below.

2. Add a circle to each design for the jump rings to go through. If you are using shrink plastic for the first time, add a couple of extra designs that you can use as test items. Also, make sure to turn on the registration marks (found in the Page Setup panel).

3. Feed the shrink plastic sheet into your home printer. If you are using the white shrink plastic, print on the matte side. If you are using the clear shrink plastic, print on the side with no Silhouette watermark. (Tip: Print your design using the low-quality printing settings to prevent the designs from printing too dark. After baking the plastic, the printed colors will be a couple of shades darker than what was originally printed, so for the best results, the colors of the design should be lightened. Another way to make your image lighter is to change the image transparency, which you can change using the Fill panel. For more accurate colors, change the transparency to be between 30% and 50%. However, this method isn’t the best method if your image has overlapping details. If you do have overlapping details, changing the transparency could alter how some of the layers are printed.) 

4. Place the printed sheet on your mat and feed it into your Silhouette machine.

5. In the Send panel, choose Shrink Plastic as your material type. Make sure your Silhouette machine will just cut out the outline and the inside circle of your shapes. Adjust your blade if necessary and send your cut job to your Silhouette machine. (Tip: If your machine is having trouble reading the registration marks, try manually moving the blade over the black square by using the blue arrows in the Send panel.)

6. After cutting the designs, remove the designs from the cutting mat.

Step Two: Baking the Shrink Plastic

1. Preheat the oven to 290–325° F (140–160° C). We suggest testing your oven first by using a test piece to find the right temperature to bake the shrink plastic. For some ovens, 325° F (160° C) is normal for shrink plastic baking, but for other ovens, 290° F (140° C) is the perfect temperature because it’s not too hot.

2. If you use the clear shrink plastic, remove the Silhouette-branded liner and place the shapes printed side up onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. If you use white shrink plastic, place the printed shapes printed side up onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Tip: If you are using shrink plastic for the first time, we recommend baking one piece at one time.)

3. The baking process takes approximately two minutes. Watch as the piece shrinks (it will curl and move and then lay flat again). The shapes will be much smaller and thicker than the shapes you started with.

4. When you see that your piece is flat (or almost flat if you bake a bigger piece), quickly but carefully remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Right away, gently press the piece flat using a flat tool. You have a couple of seconds to flatten the piece because the plastic cools down pretty quickly. The piece may stay slightly curled if you don’t flatten it fast enough.

5. Remove the piece from the cookie sheet, and repeat the process with each piece you have.

Step Three: Assembling a Dog Tag

1. Add the jump ring to the tag using plyers.

Now we have a nice dog tag. Using shrink plastic, you can make all kinds of different projects.

Tell us about the projects you’ve made with shrink plastic.