Make Photo Necklaces, Earrings, Magnets and More Using Shrinkable Plastic

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Seems like everything keeps getting smaller these days: computers, dogs, headphones

And now even photographs are joining in the smallness, thanks to the magic of biaxially oriented thermoplastic polystyrene (that’s Shrinky Dinks to you).

You can print photos on plastic using your inkjet printer, and shrink them down small enough to make into necklaces, fridge magnets, earrings, or practically anything you can think of.

See? Just like that, the world is your bivalve mollusc of the family Ostreidae! *


Photo credits: city: Christopher & AmyCate, giraffe: milkfat, tree: left-hand, bird: lucianvenutian

What You’ll Need

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  • Inkjet-printable shrink plastic (clear or white)– Michael’s and Pearl usually have it
  • Oven or toaster oven
  • Cookie sheet
  • Parchment paper — check the grocery store next to the plastic wrap and tinfoil
  • Scissors and/or X-acto knife
  • Hole punch (optional)

Choose Your Photos

Your pictures will shrink significantly, so choose ones that will be easily recognizable at a very small size.

Since the plastic may not shrink proportionately, cut the photos into shapes that can stand a little wobbliness. Ovals and circles are pretty forgiving; squares and rectangles will come out off-kilter and drive you up the wall. Crop them into the shape you want in the computer, or do it by hand after they print out.

Print on Plastic

print-smResize your chosen images in Photoshop/ GIMP/ whatever. Make them 2-3 times larger than you want the final pieces to be.

Arrange the images so they will print on letter-sized piece of paper. You can fit several images on a sheet so you don’t waste materials.

Since the colors will darken and saturate as the plastic shrinks, adjust the output on your printer to nearly the minimum color intensity. All other printer settings should be the same as printing on plain paper.

Print the images on a sheet of shrink plastic and let it dry for a minute or two before handling it.

Don’t Make Me Cut You

cut-sm2Cut the images out using scissors or X-acto knife. You can cut the pieces into generic shapes like ovals, or cut out the silhouette of an object.

If you need to have holes in the final piece (for attaching to keyrings, chains, etc.) punch holes in the piece before baking it. A standard hole punch works fine, but if the final hole needs to be really large, you should cut it out with a knife.

Preheat the Oven

bake-smPreheat the oven to 300º F — toaster ovens work just as well as big ones for this.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and arrange the plastic pieces on it so they’re not touching each other. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top.

Don’t bake the plastic on bare metal — it’ll stick. If you don’t have a cookie sheet, a piece of cardboard will work instead (just don’t forget about it and burn your apartment down).

Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot

Bake the wee plastic-y beasties for approximately 2-5 minutes. It’s best to turn on the oven light and watch to see when they’re done (also it’s kinda neat to watch). The plastic will curl up, then flatten out.

Don’t remove the baking sheet until the pieces have flattened (and don’t forget to use an oven mitt). If they’re still a tiny bit curled when you take them out, you can flatten them with a spatula if you work quick.

Use gloves if you handle the plastic pieces before they’re cool.

How to make magnets

magnets3-smFridge magnets are probably the easiest thing to make out of little plastic photos.

Make a few round or oblong-shaped photos, bake them as described above, and glue magnets to the back of them. Totally easy, but totally useful.

How to make a zipper pull

zipper3-smFabulous sweatshirt, boring zipper: the age-old dilemma. Fix it by making yourself a clever new zipper pull!

Choose a tall, narrow photograph and crop to make it even longer and thinner. Resize the photo (a 2-inch long zipper pull will have to be printed at least 4 inches tall) and print it out. Cut it out and punch a hole near the top of the picture.

When baked and shrunken and done, attach the piece to your zipper using a metal jump ring (or bend a paper clip and use that). Voila! One-of-a-kind sweatshirt, all for you.

How to make earrings

earring-smEarrings: holy freaking moley are they easy to make. Make two round photos and punch a hole in the top of each one.

When they’re done, slip them onto a pair of hoops and you’re finished. Try big hoops with tiny little discs or wee little hoops with big ol’ plastic discs: they’ll all look good.

How to make a necklace

model-smTo make a horizontal necklace, make a wide oblong photo and punch holes in each side.

Once it’s baked and finished, thread a fine chain through the holes, or attach jump rings to the holes and thread the chain through those.

To make a vertical necklace, make a tall, narrow photo and punch a hole in the top. Attach a jump ring and slide it onto a chain. Done!

More Ideas

  • Make a keychain by cutting an extra-large hole in a piece before baking it, then attach a keyring to it when it’s done.
  • Bend long thin pieces into custom-fit rings as soon as they come out of the oven!
  • Let us know about the clever stuff you come up with!

Photo credits: owl: brendan.lally, bird: lucianvenutian, giraffe: milkfat, tree: left-hand, city: Christopher & AmyCate, Vespa: jorge.correa, partial tree: sudhamshu, Mt. Fuji: skyseeker, “Cash” graffiti: Franco Folini, “What?” graffiti: fabbio, soldier graffiti: anarchosyn, girl graffiti: unusualimage, road: newtype2011

You love love, and you love it big time. So, go BIG this Valentine’s Day.

Print up a 3 foot x 4 foot Engineer Print to show your love BIG time.

Read along to see three fun ways to spread the love to friends, crushes and soulmates using photos!

 

1. Mailbox Surprise

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Just fold up your Engineer Print, pop it in an envelope and mail it to your long-distance love.

Parabo Press’s EPs (as the cool kids call ‘em) are printed on extra thin paper, perfect for easy hanging and mailing too!

Yeah, your print will get creases in it, but we just love the idea of your giftee unfolding and unfolding and unfolding to reveal the biggest Valentine they’ve ever received.

 

2. Pin the Heart on the Babe

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We may have spent a bit extra time on this part of the photoshoot in the Photojojo Office … this game is serious fun! Everyone gave it a go.

Print up a photo of your favorite heartthrob, cut out some hearts, procure a blindfold, give the first contestant a good spin, and watch them just try to find their way to that cutie’s heart.

It’s the perfect pastime for a Galentine’s Party or a cozy night in – just you, mood music, a box of chocolates and an EP of Michael B. Jordan.

 

3. Surprise! I love you!

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Engineer Prints (available in color and B&W) are the perfect width to tape in your
standard door.

Tape your face looking into a room with an inward opening door to give your favorite someone a BIG surprise.

Just make sure your intended recipient is in the room when you stick up that print.

 

 

What are you waiting for?

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gifts

#DIY
Three Lovely Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Using Photos

We get it. You need the perfect costume idea.

Whelp, if you like snapping photos and having fun (you sound like our favorite kind of person) look no further!

Check out four easy costume ideas that’ll get you all the best candy (full size only).


Inspector Gadget

before
Fill a trench coat with gizmos and give your friends a fright followed by relief when they realize you did not dress as a streaker.

YOU’LL NEED:


Instagram

before
Hang the Photo Rope from your neck and use magnets to hang your favorite photos. You’re everyone’s favorite stream of photos. *Liked*

GATHER:

  • A Black Outfit
  • Photo Rope
  • Square Prints (get ‘em free from Parabo Press)


A Beautiful Unicorn

before
Throw magical colorful clouds around, wherever you go! The more color you fling the more colorful your costume will become.

INGREDIENTS:

A Real-Live Photo Booth

before
Document your favorite costumes and hand out prints as you go. You can even charge your pals for print … just like a real photo booth.


JUST COLLECT:

Do you have a super photo-related costume idea? Tell us over on Instagram – we’re @photojojo. Or, show us with #photojojo.

#DIY
Simple and Silly Costume Ideas for Photographers

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