Recycling: Making Old Things New Again

Recycling: Making Old Things New Again

I wanted to make a special Christmas gift for my fiber friend Lisa. It’s hard to create something original, for someone who does the same crafts you do; and many, much better. She was certain to get hand dyed yarns, and the cute trinkets we buy each other every year, but I wanted something different. I searched Pinterest for something that struck my fancy, and used some crafting items I already had. (Actually, I’m smiling quietly, as the hubs is right here.) Who am I kidding? There’s always something I need. 😆

I eventually found some beautiful projects, using beads, findings, Shrinky Dink plastic, and some art supplies. I had all of it. ✅ These items were combined to create some beautiful pieces of shrink jewelry. Julie Haymaker is an artist who came up with this method in a day dream. She used some tools she had on hand, and manipulated the warm plastic into shapes and eventually flowers. [Julie’s website: The beautiful thing about shrink plastic; if you don’t like your first attempt, you can heat it up and try shaping it again.

Julie Haymaker’s Home Page

I have been having fun with this versatile material ever since. Who would imagine this product, formerly used by kids, to make magnets for Mother’s Day, could be turned into art or mixed media components. With all the possibilities…my “bunny butt” was down another rabbit hole. I purchased Julie’s set of 4 silicone molds; my favorite being the pink one, followed by the green. Here’s my first attempts: made with stencils and Tim Holtz’s Distress Oxides.

Shrinkets made with stencils, ink, and color pencil lines: using Julie’s bead patterns and Shrinkets molds (below)
Julie Haymaker’s 4 Piece Shrinkets Silicone mold set

I made several of these prior to Christmas, mixed them with findings; had and bought. (Rabbit Hole) I made several pair of earrings, and pendants, that I gifted to friends.

Earrings and Pendants made with Shrinkets

After making all these pieces, I wanted to take my lessons to a new level, at least for me. I found some vintage broach backings on Etsy, and went to work creating. Since our friendship started with knitting and fiber, I wanted to incorporate my felted fiber into her special piece. I thought: why not attach the broach to a felted backing.

Felted piece recycled from a sample piece made last year.

You can see all the end caps and beads used: there’s even a crocheted piece under the yellow flower for additional texture. Everything is attached to the broach back with wire. My engineer husband Brian, is much better with wire tools, than I am. He put a series of 3 jump rings, on either side, to make it hang correctly from a chain. Then we attached a large jump ring on either end. Then to add a bit of panache, I attached hand dyed silk ribbon ties, to each end. This is the result:

Lisa’s Necklace

I didn’t know I would be using this photo in an article. I snapped it to remember what I did with the necklace. But, I think you can get the idea, and hopefully you will see many more possibilities, with your own fibers. I feel the possibilities are endless. Let me know your thoughts.


P.S. I intended to continue with my hexagon story, and show how how I connect them, but they have been in timeout, to prepare Christmas gifts. Then we picked up this little guy, Porter, who keeps us entertained, and on our toes. He likes to nibble on those too!

9 thoughts on “Recycling: Making Old Things New Again

  1. I haven’t tried shrink plastic for a long time but it looks like a great addition to your repertoire. It definitely makes a good addition to felt and the necklace you made for your friend will be treasured. I love Porter, he’s adorable. Can’t wait to see how big he gets. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I’m thinking the plastic pieces could be used as decorative resist elements, buttons, and many other uses yet to be discovered in the world of felting. I’m sitting here right now, imagining a felted art journal cover, with bead decorated ties to keep it closed. 👍🏻

  2. Porter is gorgeous, and so are your makes. I know that it is possible to buy beads which look like petals and flowers, but it is so much nicer to have one of a kind because it is custom made.
    How do you heat the plastic and how hot do you need to get it? I have some plastic “slices” that I bought some years ago at a bead show but haven’t really dared to have a go with making anything out of them. I can burn myself with quite safe things so I know that I’m likely to burn myself if in crafting mode when safety tends to slip my mind.

    1. Hi Ann,
      We used a heat gun, but I understand many choose to use their ovens. I would be far more likely to burn myself with an oven. Julie Haymaker has many free video tutorials, on her website, where she makes you aware of precautions to take. I started by watching those videos. A pair of old cotton gloves will protect your fingers, and the plastic seems to cool really quickly. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

  3. Porter is so sweet!

    Your jewellery is pretty and it’s great to be able to make it in the colourway you want to match your outfit.

    So much thought went into the necklace – it’s a delightful gift and it will be treasured.

    p.s. shrinkies are useful to crafters who sell their makes. For example, you can make tags for zips, bags, purses etc with your name/brand on.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. My friend was so excited yesterday, to find that I wrote an article on her necklace too. There are so many ways to use shrink plastic: I think it’s more popular today than it was originally? Thanks from Porter too.

  4. Your jewellery pieces are lovely and I’m sure your friend was thrilled with her personalised and unique necklace. I’m now trying not to think about the fact that I suspect I have something like the shrink plastic tucked away at the back of a dark cupboard ….no, I mustn’t go there.

    The flowers etc do look like they would make fabulous buttons and beads. I hope you get to make your journal idea soon and show it to us when you have.

  5. More Porter pics, please! What a cutie ^_^

    It’s indeed so hard to find good presents for crafty friends, I’m glad you found a solution 🙂

  6. Porter is such a cutie pie! I want to cuddle him.

    Love the beautiful pieces you made for your friend’s gifts. I will admit that your post prompted me to find my shrink plastic (purchased years ago to do some work with kids and never used). Seeing it in a totally new light now. I think it has just opened another rabbit hole.

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