Don't miss part one of Kerrie's (aka Antikva) great advice on shrink plastic buttons. Here is part two!
The higher grade of yellow/white sandpaper you use for sanding your shrink plastic, the better and don't try a sander, not even a small one ROFL! It tends to be patchy as it slides too much, has to be hand sanded. I wipe down the plastic sheets with a clean damp cloth after I've sanded them to make sure I've gotten rid of any dust.
They do look slightly scratched or scuffed after sanding but when it shrinks you can't see it even if you've used pastels or pencils, as long as it looks fairly smooth. I wear thin plastic gloves as fingers leave grease marks and affects the colours for both the pastels & pencils. Watercolour pencils don't have that problem once you've swished the colour around. I have used acrylics thinly but didn't really like the effect, but of course others might and of course they can use just sharpies but not all colours come out the same. Dark colours tend to go black. I've just found some perm markers here that are pastel colours, so this weekend I'm going to test them.
If the plastic pieces curl or go out of shape or stick together, just reheat them slowly, and they will come apart. Llong bamboo skewers or chopsticks are good for reaching into an oven to guide things along. Also, a heavy book plonked on top after heating will make sure they flatten if they come out slightly warped. I use baking paper underneath & on top (the top paper is folded a couple of times for weight to prevent them curling right over onto themselves) of the buttons so I can yank them out of my oven with an egg slice, flip without burning myself or dropping them or fiddling around with tongs. I use a small toaster oven now as the heating gun is not good for making multiples and can fit up to 8 but I stick with 6 at a time so I can quality check as I go.
LOL, yes, my kids tell their friends Mum's baking buttons.
You can make shapes & use scrapbook scissors to cut different edges but they can't be too finely detailed, eg, flowers with petals: the petals can't be cut too thin or they snap off or can be too sharp. I use an emery board to sand down any little edges afterwards before sealing. Oh, and for the button hole pieces, my daughter uses them to make snow globe type water jars!
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