There is so much love for cactuses right now – I don’t know about you but my home is filled to the brim with them. My husband says our house is beginning to look like a tropical rainforest (oops!). They are a fabulous addition to a kitchen shelve or coffee table. But did you know….they also look great hanging from a Christmas tree?!!! Below is a little tutorial on how to create your very own cacti tree decorations made from shrink plastic, one of my favourite techniques. You can create so many wonderful designs using shrinkies, it’s such a fun craft and the results are instant making it the perfect activity for those who are new to crafting, it’s also a fab thing to do with the kids!
You will need:
Cactus template (you can download my one below)
A4 shrink plastic transparent sheets (I always purchase packs of 6 or 10 on ebay)
Permanent marker pen
Embossing stamp ink pad (clear) and gold embossing powers (you can purchase these from most craft stores such as hobbycraft and Fred Aldous)
Heat tool (you can also use a hairdryer at its hottest setting)
A4 piece of paper
1 x meter of red and white twine (you could also use Christmas ribbon)
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 190°C (fan 170°C, gas mark 5). Place the sheet of shrink plastic onto your template (download here), draw around using a permanent marker pen and cut out your cactus shape.
Step 2: Punch a hole at the top of your plastic shape and place it onto a sheet of tin foil. Put inside your oven for around 1-3 minutes until the shape has shrunk. Don’t be alarmed when you see your shape curling up at the edges, it will start off this way but will eventually uncurl and flatten (I promise!). Your design should now be 7 x smaller! Leave to cool down for approx 5 minutes on a drying rack.
Step 3: Press the shrunken shape down firmly onto your ink pad until you have completely covered all of the surface. Place your plastic design onto a piece of A4 paper and sprinkle some embossing powders over it. Tap off excess powders onto your paper.
Step 4: Apply heat to your design – hold your heat gun around 50mm from the plastic and keep moving it to ensure you don’t burn the design. Continue to do so until your embossing powders have completely melted. Your shrink plastic shape should now look all glossy and sparkly! Repeat process for the other side.
Step 5: String a 20cm piece of twine through the the hole at the top of your shrunken shape to form a loop for hanging and tie a knot to secure. Now all you need to do is pop it onto your tree!