Super Color Shrink - Story
SUPER COLOR SHRINK
Remember coloring on Shrink Plastic ?
Shrink Plastic goes back to the seventies ... I thought it was older
than that but I have been corrected.
Shrink Plastic is a plastic on which kids would draw ... in many cases it had
images preprinted for coloring. After the images were colored, you would cut
the plastic to size, place it in a convection oven and watch as the plastic
curled up ... and hopefully unfolded and laid flat.
In the spring of 1997, after having worked on the project for over a year,
we figured out how to coat shrink plastic. We needed to place a special
coating on the material so that it can be printed in a color ink jet printer.
Without the special coating, ink will bubble on the surface and never dry.
It just makes a mess.
First I had to figure out the nature of the material. Each time I asked,
nobody wanted to tell me about its composition.
It wasn't that they didn't what to tell me ... it was that I kept asking that
group who never heard of it?
Eventually I found out that this is Bi-Axial oriented Styrene.
Bi-axial which means it will shrink evenly in both directions.
Do you know where they use styrene? Ever buy strawberries
or blueberries in that clear "clam shell" package?
The package is styrene. It is actually Mono-axial oriented 3 mill styrene.
Our product is 10 mill.
The first time they extruded our material ... they messed up and forgot to
change the setting from mono to bi-axial. So when you went to shrink our
material, it shrunk more in one direction than the other.
Here we were with thousands of sheets which would not shrink evenly.
Never fear .. we're marketers. We turned it into a product called
"Fun house shrink" ... Guaranteed to distort any picture!
Looking to lose weight? Use Fun House Shrink.
Remember the mirrors in the old fun house.
They would make you look tall and thin. Yep ... funhouse shrink does it!
Now if I could only find a way to add hair to the top of my head.
But that's another story.
With the first problem solved, we needed to figure out how to put a special
coating on our shrink material.
Now you have to understand ...all of the coatings we put on our materials are
put there using heat.
You begin to see the problem. Heat this material and it shrinks !
So we needed to find a way to cold coat our shrink.
Once that was solved we had to overcome the problem of the coating
"de-laminating" from the surface of this non-pourus material.
At first the coating would peel off the surface.
Well finally all of the problems were solved and in the summer of 1997
we brought SUPER COLOR SHRINK to market.
Super Color Shrink is a great product in the hands of someone who knows
what they are doing. It really is a "crafting product."
Those like me make key chains, zipper bobs and other "neat things."
Those who are really handy make beautiful jewelry using metal fixings which
can be found in the craft store. You can even use shrink to adorn greeting cards.
I'm into butterflies and bows.
They don't have to lay completely flat to look good.
Just glue the shrink to the face of the card and you have a 3-D image.
Put a bow in the hair of a baby picture.
Add a butterfly or two in the background. It's neat!
A QUICK STORY - we were going to a trade show and decided it would be good to
give out a piece of shrink with our company logo. With a piece of double side
sticky tape, we could slap it onto the name badge of those who visited
our booth. So I had to make a least 300 pieces with our logo.
One evening when my wife left the house to play cards with her friends,
I fired up the toaster oven to broil.
Then I did the same with our electric oven. Now after the smoke detector
stopped shrieking and the dog stopped barking, I proceeded to shrink
the hundreds of badges which I had previously printed on my
color ink jet printer.
Using oven mits, I loaded the a teflon tray and filled the oven with shrink.
Then I did the same with the toaster oven. With perspiration running
done my face, I was like a one arm paper hanger as I flipped from one oven
to the other. Everything got hot hot!
Actually the trays got so hot that the shrink would shrink as fast as it
would hit the tray. I had badges all over the place.
But I got them done in no time.
I then cleaned up the mess. If it wasn't for the heat in the house,
my wife would have never known.
So big deal; the house was at 85 degrees. I guess I should have put on
the air conditioning before she returned.
But at least I did clean up my mess in the kitchen. Well almost everything.
OK .. so their were a few stray pieces of plastic around and I didn't put
everything back in the oven (for storage) as I had found it.
So my suggestion is to do it the right way. Put the shrink on the tray
with the printed side down after having preheated the oven to 275 degrees,
place the shrink into the oven and wait about 15 minutes or until the shrink
returns to the flat position. This should work most of the time.
However if you have no patience, like me,
set the toaster oven to broil and watch the shrink shrink in 20 seconds !
By the way ... never use a microwave oven. But that's another story.
I stand corrected - August 2000 ... Steve Singer
I was interested in your shrink material website and read your shrink
history that shrink plastic goes back to the 70's. Actually your source is
incorrect. "Shrinky Dinks" were invented in 1973 by Betty Morris of
Wisconsin and later marketed by the coloring book giant, Colorforms. Today
I believe Milton Bradley oficially carries on this tradition.
In 1968 Wham-O marketed a device called "The Shrink Machine." They also
marketed a number of after market trademarked items called appropriately
enough ... "Shrinkies." The 6 shrinkies were called "Tiny-Trinkets,"
"Widdle-Weirdies," "Bitty-Blanks," "Teeny-Tinys," "Itty-Autos," and "Micro
Messages." I have a Wham-O Shrink Machine and the 6 shrinkies. It used a
40-watt light bulb to shrink the Polystyrene. Can you say 15 minutes??? It
does do a credible job though ... just slow.
Now you can correct the person who initially corrected you concerning the
history of shrink. Since "Shrinkable Plastics" and "Superabsorbers" are my
specialties I have done a lot of research on them. I do a lot of
presentations in my role as a Polymer Ambassador to science teachers all
over the U.S. concerning these topics. With your permission I will include
both your website and your product as additional examples of "Shrinkable
Plastics" when I do presentations.
Kansas Polymer Ambassador
Micro Format, Inc.
830-3 Seton Court ~ Wheeling, IL 60090
800/333-0549 ~ FAX 847/520-0197