Kingdom Hearts: Shrink Plastic Pumpkinhead Halloween Keyblade

27 October 2019

I have the *worst* luck with blind bags.

This’ a nice quality Kingdom Hearts keyring if you like Donald Duck (I don’t, really). In an attempt to make this look more like, well, something other than a mummified duck I decided to try putting some other stuff on the keyring with it.

Enter the shrink plastic. There’s some very clear images of these keyblades in the assets for the KH games and it’s not too hard to redraw them onto a piece of paper with a ruler, some careful measuring and a lot of maths. (except Oathkeeper. Oathkeeper’s a pain to draw, but that’s a story for another day). I tested a piece of shrink plastic with a ruler first so I know the stuff I’ve got shrinks by a scale of roughly 2.66.

The keyblade was drawn on clear shrink plastic (not the frosted stuff) with a black sharpie, and the silver/white bits done in Posca paint markers.

After shrinking I used clear embossing powder over the top to seal the pen; I’d read online that some varnishes make sharpie run and really struggled to figure out what would work. I tried two types of embossing powder. Both worked, but the Papermania one was easier to use as the crystals are finer so it’s easier to get a thin layer without them bouncing off all over the place. I don’t have a heat gun so I stuck it back in the oven until the powder melted. The thinner the layer is the more likely it’ll melt before the shrink plastic starts to curl back up again.

I wasn’t so lucky; it did curl up and I had some fun trying to flatten it back out again. It’s not perfectly flat, but it’s close enough.

Finally I made the pumpkin keychain out of Fimo polymer clay, with some black acrylic paint and gloss varnish.

FFVIII: Griever Keyring Rebuild

29 June 2019

About 15 years ago I picked up a Final Fantasy VIII Griever Keyring on a trip out in London.

Recently, it broke :(

They don’t make them anymore (and I don’t think this was an ‘official’ piece of merchandise anyway), but I’m the crafty type so I won’t let a silly thing like being out of print stop me from replacing something that’s been on my keys for years.

The rebuild is made from Fimo Soft polymer clay, with silver Mica powder and Fimo gloss varnish. I can’t take credit for the design because, well, it’s a copy.

I used what’s left of the original (far left) to draw a template, filling in the bits that’ve deformed over time. After redrawing it about 7 times I cut it out. I made a metal hook for the top, sandwiched it between two pieces of black clay and rolled the paper template on the top to leave an imprint I could then cut out.

I then grabbed my box of clay tools (a mish-mash of everyday household items, some cake decorating tools I got from Mum in a clearout , cocktail sticks, kebab skewers, old mascara tubes and a craft scalpel) and spent the Easter bank holiday weekend carving the shape out, using the original as a guideline.

My polymer clay’s a bit dried out; this was an unopened block of black Fimo Soft that I bought years ago for a project I’ve never gotten around to doing but thanks to global warming it gets quite hot in my flat in summer which this stuff is not designed to handle. It crumbles a little bit when you get to really fine details but was workable enough to not have to get the Quick-Mix out (though I did order some anyway for next time).

Why black? Because I saw a video by Ludmila Bakulina on Youtube (link) that showed it looks pretty good as a base for Mica Powder if you want a silver effect. I already had a pot of powder in my box so I dusted it on top before putting it in the oven.

I’ve been working away from home and only get to spend two days a week living in my own house so it was a few more months before I found the time to go and finish the rest of it. I work on a white ceramic tile so I can stick it straight in the oven without warping the piece, but that meant I couldn’t apply the power to the back before baking. The video mentions mixing mica powder into the varnish that you apply at the end and I can confirm this works, and it covered the black colour on the back completely.

Unfotunately some idiot decided to use it on the front as well, which buried the black colour that was supposed to be showing through in the carved sections and it took 10 mins of mucking about with a cocktail stick to get the varnish back out of there. Lessons were learned.

I like how it turned out :) . Only problem is, now I don’t want my keys to muck it up. Maybe I need to make two. I considered getting some silicone to make a mould from but never got around to it (and I suspect I could do a bit better if I rebuild it each time, having more practice and experience and all that).