Pretty Pet Tags!

comments (4) February 15th, 2009     

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susanstars Susan Beal, contributor
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My friend Caitlins cat Patches models the flower-patterned tag!
My friend Caitlins cat Patches wore the P tag for our photo shoot.
These charms are easy to make and super-customizable.
Trace a template and then cut it out using decorative or plain scissors.
Punch a hole into your charm before you shrink it.
Draw or trace a design right onto the plastic.
Put your charms onto a piece of aluminum foil to shrink them in a toaster oven.
Your finished pieces will be less than half the size they were before shrinking—here is my original 2.25-inch circle next to my 1-inch finished tags.
My friend Caitlins cat Patches models the flower-patterned tag!

My friend Caitlin's cat Patches models the flower-patterned tag!

Photo: Caitlin Devereaux

If you ever did shrink art as a kid, I'm sure you vividly remember the magical moment of peering into the toaster oven, watching your plastic curl and puff up dramatically before shrinking into a tiny, perfect replica of your drawing. Now you can use the same shrink plastic sheets to make a fun, decorative charm to go along with the utilitarian name and address tag on your pet's collar—choose his or her initial, a design or pattern you like, or anything else that comes to mind!

You'll need:

  • Shrink plastic sheets
  • A round template to trace, larger than your desired size (I traced a round 2.25-inch tin, which shrank down to 1 inch across)
  • Scissors or decorative-edged scissors (I used plain for my P, and scalloped for my flowered design)
  • Standard hole punch
  • Sharpie or other marker
  • Foil
  • Toaster oven
  • Pliers
  • Jump ring or split ring

1. Trace a circle or other shape of your choice lightly onto the shrink plastic sheet. Cut it out using the scissors of your choice.

2. Punch a hole just inside the circle, using a standard-size hole punch. The hole will shrink neatly just like the shape will, leaving it the perfect size for a ring to thread through.

3. Trace or draw your desired design freehand. I hand-drew a simple letter P in an old-fashioned style, but tracing a font you especially like for an initial or word is a nice personal touch. For my flowers, I just drew simple, organic shapes that filled the circle, with some edges showing, but you could trace a favorite vintage fabric or photograph if you like, too. Remember, if you use colored markers, they will shrink down to a much darker and more concentrated shade, so fill in with color lightly instead of thick coats.

4. When you're happy with your design, get a piece of clean aluminum foil and fold one edge up (as advised by my shrink plastic package instructions) for easy grabbing when the pieces are finished. Follow the directions on the package to shrink your pieces in a toaster oven, placing them on the foil sheet at least an inch apart. Remember, they'll curve and puff up before shrinking back down to flat again (which is weird and fun to watch!), and if they finish up warped, you can smooth them down with the back of a spoon before they cool off. You can also reshrink any pieces that aren't quite even.

5. Using pliers, add a split or jump ring through the hole in the charm, then use the ring to connect it to the collar loop.

Note: This plastic is lightweight and the charm is meant to serve as a fun extra decoration, not to replace a professionally made tag with your contact info. You might want to use a split ring to put it on the collar loop, too (I used a plain jump ring in the photos), and do make sure that it's securely on there so your pet can't gnaw on it or break it.

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posted in: how-to, easy, pet, shrink art, drawing, puppy love, pet tag, pet charm

Comments (4)

LuckyMurphy writes: This project is great! I work at a no kill animal shelter and I'm definitely going to make some pet tags for our special long term residents.
Posted: 12:00 am on March 15th
Hwilkes501 writes: you can also make shrink plastic out of recycleable #6 plastic. check the number within the triangle but do not attempt with anything other than SIX! (think strawberries, deli trays or croissant packaging from a grocery)
Posted: 4:49 pm on March 8th
seafield writes: A question from New Zealand.
What is shrink plastic ?
It does not look like the clear shrink-wrap used to cover food.
Posted: 12:25 am on March 8th
Jrsjewels writes: Love it. I'd like to try it with identity info on it!
Posted: 8:55 am on March 7th
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