Dinosaur Fossil Necklace Tutorial
I was recently perusing the Craftster forums when a nifty Tatty Devine-inspired dinosaur necklace and tutorial
caught my eye. Naturally, as a lover of all things fossil, I became eager to make my own dinosaur necklace. Yet instead of making a Ceratosaurus
necklace, I was set on my favorite dinosaur, the Parasaurolophus
, O handsomest of terrible lizards.
After much Photoshop*, the necklace template was complete. I also learned some helpful tricks for working with shrink film to combat some of its most common problems (namely, elongated pieces folding in on themselves) that I’ll relay to you in this tutorial.
Crafty dinosaur lovers, I hope you enjoy this free tutorial.
As always, comment if you have any questions.
View Printable PDF Shrink Film Template (8.5″ x 11″)
View Printable PNG Shrink Film Template (5100 pixels x 6600 pixels)
What You’ll Need
- Shrink film
I used an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of clear Grafix Shrink Film, which worked much better than Shrinky Dinks for this project. The baked film becomes transparent instead of opaque and grainy.
- Black permanent marker or printer
- Clear sealant
I used Triangle Crafts Sophisticated Finishes Primer and Clear Sealant, but I would recommend using decoupage finish, clear nail polish, or Mod Podge.
- 5 jump rings, 6-10 mm in diameter
- Necklace supplies (chain, clasp and, if desired, more jump rings)
- Hole puncher
- Baking sheet or pan
- Needle-nose pliers and/or other jewelry tools
- Recommended: Parchment paper
You’re done! Wear it with pride.
- Draw (with a permanent marker) or print the template on your shrink paper.
- Cut out your dinosaur.
When working around the bonier parts such as the ribcage and tail, the trick is to avoid making long slender pieces, since they are more likely to fold in on themselves while shrinking up in the oven. Instead, make webbed divots between ribs (and other long slender segments). Case in point:
- Punch out the circular holes shown in the template. These holes will be used for the ring loops that link adjacent pieces together.
- Head: Two holes, one above the eye and one at the base of the neck
- Ribs: Two holes, one at the base of the neck and one at the midback
- Pelvis: Three holes, one at the midback and two at the base of the tail
- Tail: Two holes, both at the base of the tail
- Preheat your oven.
Set the oven to 25°F less than the package instructions indicate to slow the shrinking process. Then, keep the shrink film in the oven for slightly more time. For example, my shrink film directions recommend a temperature of 300°-350°F (149°-177°C) for 2-3 minutes, so I baked it at 275°F (135°C) for 5 minutes. To make sure your oven is heating at the correct temperature, it helps to have an internal oven thermometer.
- Once your oven is preheated, place the fossil pieces on a baking sheet.
Optionally, cover with a flattened sheet of parchment paper to prevent the pieces folding in on themselves:
- Bake your pieces. I baked each piece individually to ensure they would not fuse together. As stated in step 4, bake at a slightly lower temperature but for a longer time.
- Cool pieces, then coat with sealant. Let dry.
- Using ring loops and jewelry tools, link together the rib piece to the head piece, and then link the rib piece to the pelvis piece. For now, only secure the bottom/ventral loop between the pelvis and tail pieces:
- Thread a ring loop through the head hole (above the eye) and add half of your necklace chain to this same ring loop. Close the ring loop.
- Thread a ring loop through the top/dorsal holes of the tail and pelvis pieces. Add the other half of your necklace chain to the same ring loop on what will become the back side of your necklace. Close the ring loop.
*Original image source: Parasaurolophus illustration by P. Olsen