by Rena Klingenberg.
Best friend jewelry is fun for two friends to make together – or for one friend to make as a gift.
This project involves making a design on shrinky plastic, and then cutting it in half to make two pendants – one for each of the friends.
The full design can only be seen when the two friends’ necklaces are together.
- A sheet of shrink plastic (available at most craft suppliers).
- Permanent markers in a variety of colors (we used Sharpies and Bic markers; the colors will darken as your shrink plastic bakes – so you may want to use colors that are lighter and brighter).
- Ruler for measuring your pendant dimensions on the shrink plastic.
- A fine-point marker for marking the outlines of your pendants on the shrink plastic.
- Scissors for cutting out your shrinkies.
- A standard one-hole paper punch for making the hole at the top of your shrink plastic pendants.
- A piece of aluminum foil, about 7″ x 11″ (17.78 cm x 27.94 cm) for baking your shrink plastic in the oven.
- A regular household oven or toaster oven for shrinking your plastic.
- A metal fork or plastic pancake spatula that you won’t be using for food preparation (for picking up hot shrink plastic, and flattening the plastic pieces while they’re still hot and pliable).
- 2 jump rings.
- 2 necklace chains or cords.
- 2 pair of pliers – chain nose or flat nose (for opening and closing the jump rings).
- Clear acrylic spray to protect colors from scratching off (important for shrinkies that will be worn).
Best Friend Jewelry Shrinkies
Important: Test Your Shrink Plastic First
Before you begin, I highly recommend that you make and bake a test piece of shrink plastic according to the package instructions, so you’ll know exactly how to make your final pieces turn out perfectly.
You’ll want to find out:
- how much your particular plastic shrinks
- how much your marker colors darken during shrinking
- how close to the edge of your plastic you want to punch the hole
- whether you get better results by baking a little longer or at a slightly higher temperature than your shrink plastic instructions recommend.
After making and baking your test piece of shrinky plastic, here’s how to make the actual best friend pendants:
On a sheet of shrink plastic, use your ruler and a fine-point marker to measure and mark the outlines of your pendant design; also mark the line down the middle where the pendants will be cut apart:
- Use your markers to create a design that spans across both pendants.
- Use scissors to cut the pendants out.
- Use the hole-punch to make a hole at the top of each pendant.
- Shrink the pendants by baking them in the oven (following the package instructions and the results from your test) – an adult should supervise this step.
- (NOT shown – when the pendants are completely cool and dry, take them outdoors and spray them with a couple of light coats of clear acrylic. Don’t hold the spray can too close to your shrinkies, and be careful not to spray a heavy or wet layer of acrylic, or your colorful ink will liquify and run) – an adult should supervise this step.
- When they’re totally dry, attach a jump ring and chain or cord to each pendant.
Here are four different pendant designs going through these steps:
More Best Friend Jewelry
After we made these best friend pendants, it occurred to me that other interesting design ideas to make and cut in half for this shrinky project would be:
- a butterfly
- a secret code
- a secret map
- the two friends’ names or nicknames
- a quote or verse.