Thursday, June 14, 2012

Craft Tutorial: Patriotic Bottle Centerpiece with Shrink Plastic

Fourth of July is coming up (and today happens to be Flag Day) so the girls and I made a patriotic centerpiece for our dining table. We reused bottles and added some “labels” and some heart ornaments using shrink plastic, colored with acrylic paint.

Patriotic Centerpiece Using Shrink Plastic

We also made one to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge (inspired by this artwork)…

Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Shrink Plastic Bottle Art

…accompanied by California Poppies the girls made from coffee filters.

Coffee Filter California Poppies

Here’s how we made our

Patriotic Bottle Centerpiece with Shrink Plastic.


The main supply you will need is shrink plastic. You will also need a pencil, ruler, acrylic paint and foam brushes, scissors, hole punches (3/4 inch and standard (1/4 inch)), paper bag, oven, oven mitt, floral wire, twine, and bottles.


Some notes about this shrink plastic: It has a rough side and a smooth side. You’ll paint on the rough side, but display the smooth side. So you will need to make your artwork as a mirror image. Shrink plastic shrinks down to 1/3 of the original size, and 9 times the original thickness. Most importantly, please read all the directions before you begin, and keep them handy throughout the process.



First I worked on the flag. I used the entire 8” x 10” sheet, which shrinks down to about 4 1/8” x 3 1/4”. I drew the mirror image of the flag with a pencil. The blue section is 3 1/2” x 4 1/2” and the stripes are about 1”.


Then I started painting the blue section with a foam brush. Try to use continuous strokes all the way across. (Note: If you want to include stars, you would paint the stars first with white paint, let it dry, then paint over it with blue paint. The white stars will show on the opposite i.e. shiny side, which is the side you want to see.)


Then I painted the red and white stripes. No need to be perfect.


Here’s a peek at the other side (the shiny side that becomes the front in the end). Set it aside to dry.


Next, the girls and I worked on the hearts. I had them each paint “modern art” onto a sheet.


When their modern art dried, I drew heart shapes onto it with a pencil and cut them out with scissors. The hearts, before baking, were all between about 5” x 5” and 6” x 6”.ShrinkPlasticPatrioticBottleArt7

We need to punch holes before baking. Remember the holes will shrink too. So for the flags, I am going to use twine to tie them to the bottles. So I used my 3/4” hole punch on either side, about 2.5” from the top and bottom.


For the hearts, I need to thread the floral wire through, so I used a standard (1/4”) hole punch, at the top in the middle.


Time to bake!!! Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with a paper bag cut to size, and place your shrink plastic items colored side up. Bake for about two minutes at first.ShrinkPlasticPatrioticBottleArt11

In the meantime, get a bottle ready to shape the flag into a curve. I set mine on a potholder so it wouldn’t roll around.


Here’s my shrink plastic after about 2 minutes! Yikes! If this happens, add another minute or two, and it should flatten out.


Once it has flattened, take the flag (caution: hot!) and put it on your bottle, shiny side up. I used my oven mitt to shape it around the bottle so I wouldn’t burn myself. If you find the plastic is too hard and won’t bend, put it back into the oven for a few more minutes. If you force it, it will break (I speak from experience). Just make sure it’s super soft when you bend it. Again, be careful when handling it as it will be hot.


Now that the flag has cooled and hardened, it’s keeping the curved shape.


Here are some of the hearts!


I threaded my floral wire through the hole and twisted it on in the back. Note: I’ve had this floral wire in my stash forever, from my mom, so I have no idea where it’s from. But it’s not the really thick and stiff kind, but it has some paper covering it and is rather pliable.


The girls volunteered to arrange the heart flowers. Surprisingly, they did a good job (I was over-thinking it, as usual).


Finally, I added the flag to the bottle, which I wrapped in twine to hide the label I couldn’t remove. I threaded some twine through the holes on one side, then went across the back to the other side.


Then I slipped it onto the bottle and tied a knot.


And you’re done.Patriotic Bottle Art with Shrink Plastic

Yes you could totally do this with paper or fabric, but I like the shine of the shrink plastic. And what kid doesn’t love watching it shrink in the oven?

Shrink Plastic Patriotic Bottle Art

There are so many possibilities with the shrink plastic, beyond the things we made with it as kids. Reading the directions that came with the shrink plastic, there’s so much you could do with it. Hope to use more of this stuff soon…my girls are already asking to make more!


Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17 :: How to Nest for Less:: Oopsey Daisy :: The Trendy Treehouse :: Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner :: Whipperberry :: Sassy Sites::Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique::Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Mine for the Making :: Fine Craft Guild:: Mad in Crafts :: Finding My Way In Texas :: Creative Jewish Mom :: The Taylor House :: Inspired by Charm :: Itsy Bitsy Paper Blog


  1. FABULOUS project - love the finished redult and love how you give the step-by step instructions too. Thanks so much for sharing
    Lowri :-)

  2. Cool! Looks like a lot of fun! I'll bet the projects are limitless!

  3. This is awesome and such a great tutorial! Will try this with my daughter too!! Thanks :)

  4. I love Shrinky Dinks! And we've been dinking up a storm. Love this idea!

  5. This looks like too much fun! Great job. I hope you will link up to my Patriotic Project Parade!

  6. So cute! I stumbled and pinned! : ) Have a great day!

  7. You had great results from the Shrink Art. There are such fun things that can be done with Shrink Plastic.

  8. I love this! This is something I could do with my Granddaughter and she would love it!

  9. great project Steph, and so original, which is the best part! thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday, and by the way I was born and raised in Berkeley, so loving the Bay Area connection!

  10. These are so great! I love how the children can express themselves with how they used the Shrink Plastic!! Love it!! Just posted on Craft Gossip, thanks for the link!!


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