Countdown Day 10 - Pray for a Buick
Countdown Day 11: Dance, Sugarplum Fairies, Dance!

12 Tags of Christmas - Tag 11

Am I channeling my inner Tim or what?! Today's technique is shrink plastic and I totally used shrink plastic on two previous tags! And this thrills me because, yada yada, I had the same idea as Tim and that makes me totally cool, whatever, but more importantly - NONE OF IT HAD BEEN PUT AWAY YET!!!

Do you see how being messy is a gift? 

Could you explain it to my husband?


Here is my Tag #11:

Now I know what you're thinking: "That looks not a bit like Tim's, Karen. And didn't you say, Karen, that you were trying to duplicate his designs as close as possible without going shopping? Didn't you say that, Karen? Hmmmm?"

OK, yes, I said that.

Let me just explain. . . 

No, it is too much, let me sum up . . .

It's like a fire has been lit inside me, (thanks, Tim!) rekindling my love of stamping techniques from days of yore, and, well, I just gotta be me.

So now, since I went all rogue and such, I have to explain how I made this tag.

I decided to make a snowy scene for my tag, so I used my Pop-up Snowflake die (retired) and cut it out of white shrink plastic. I dunked it in the melting pot of UTEE just like Tim's video (his tag is linked at the end of this post) and then, while the UTEE was still hot, I dumped fine glitter over the top. Repeat.


Next, I dug through all my Christmas stamps to find a suitable scenery stamp. This one is by Stampendous, called "R08 White Christmas", but here's the bad news - it's 20 years old! Yep, copyright on the side says 1992! (So substitute something from this century if you're trying this technique)

I stamped the scene onto white shrink plastic using StazOn ink. 

Next, I wanted to center the image inside the Tim Holtz Baroque Die, (now you know my Dad would chime in right about here and say "You know what I always say - if it ain't Baroque, don't fix it!")

But I digress. 

If you're using clear shrink plastic, then it's easy to line up the stamped image over the die because you can see through it. In my case, though, I needed another way. I cut a piece of die packaging to the dimensions of a Bigz-size die. (5 3/8" x 5 7/8") Then I made sure that the edges were aligned with the edges of the die when I cut it.

Now use the rectangle piece as a template to trace the die shape onto your shrink plastic, centering the scene inside the window.


Cut on your traced lines to make the shrink plastic the exact size of the die. Now you can simply align the edges and run it through your machine.


Use colored pencils to add color to the scene. Don't worry if your colors don't seem dark enough - they will intensify when the piece is shrunk.

Make sure you punch holes before shrinking, too. Use the large hole on the Crop-a-Dile and it will shrink to the size for 1/16" eyelets or tiny brads. 


Shrink the piece in the oven at 325 degrees on a cookie sheet. Yes, you can shrink plastic with a heat gun, but a piece like this will curl over the top, stick together, you'll shout out some choice curse words, then burn your hands trying to wrench it apart again, then throw it away and start over.

Trust me.

After shrinking your scene perfectly on the first try in your oven, (Trust me!) add some 1/16" long-reach eyelets (find them at Volcano Arts

Now you might be wondering why I shrunk this piece in the oven instead of using the UTEE/melting pot method like on the snowflakes. I did try it, but the scene got very muddied and hard to see under all the UTEE, so I had to return to the old standby - the oven.

However, I did want to get that glossy sheen on top, so I used Glossy Accents.

Glossy Accents takes an age to dry. I'm the type of crafter who uses a heat gun because pre-heating the oven takes too long. Even after showering and eating breakfast I kept getting little thumb prints in the Glossy Accents because I touched it when it was still tacky. In the end, I had to add Stickles around the outer perimeter to hide my thumbprints, but I liked the way that looked, so bonus!

Now let's talk about the tag itself. I started by following Tim's directions to distress the tag. I used greens instead of blues, but otherwise was a good student. I had a crack in my tag so I thought I would disguise it with a little greenery stamp that is, in fact, OLDER than that Stampendous stamp. 


But once I started stamping . . . I just didn't stop! The secret to getting this look is to keep rotating the stamp and get three kerchunks out of one inking. Alternate between two ink colors as you go.

At this point it hit me that what I wanted was a "snow on the cedars" type of look for the background of my tag. I turned to one of my favorite Stampscapes stamps. The stamp wasn't tall enough to cover the whole tag, but I knew I was going to be putting my shrink plastic charm on the tag (if it would ever dry, already!) so I just stamped the tree trunks four times as shown in the photo on the left. On the right was my makeshift way of getting snowballs into the scene. My Crop-a-Dile was still out, along with scraps of die packaging from the earlier template. So I just punched both sizes of holes randomly through the plastic and then sponged white paint through it to get the snowballs. 


Now I was ready to put my whole tag together. I stamped and embossed my greeting at the bottom of the tag. Then I die cut a banner using the Tim Holtz Regal Crest die from woodgrain paper and distressed it with inks. I folded the ends under, accordion style, and then used the Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to secure them in that position.

And then, finally, my shrink plastic charm was dry!(ish) I attached all my components to the tag using tacky tape and then tied some pom-pom ribbon through the top.

Here is a link to Tim's Tag #11, where you can find instructions for the UTEE shrink plastic (my snowflake charms) and the original tag background (under all that greenery and tree trunkage). I've also included a link to the Stampscapes stamp.

ALSO, returning for a second to my own product line that I have been woefully neglecting over the past 11 days, don't miss the chance for a SWEET SALE on some of my pop-up dies at! Today only!