One of the most popular materials on the market today is silicone, a rubber compound made from quartz and then molded. From belts to bracelets, its durability makes it ideal for industrial uses, technical uses and hundreds of household uses. Mobile telephone cases, earpieces, charger cables, computer keyboard covers and even the popular bracelets supporting all types of charitable causes are all made from silicone.
Occasionally, those items lose their elasticity. Buying a new product is not the only alternative. You can heat-shrink a keyboard cover or shrink silicone items right in the comfort of your own home.
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What Is Silicone?
Everything from computer chips to baby bottles is made from silicone, a hybrid created from synthetic rubber and synthetic plastic. This combination makes it ideal for products that need to be malleable, stretchable, resistant to temperature variations and able to repel water penetration. Occasionally, silicone stretches, making it necessary to shrink it for continued use.
Preparing to Shrink Silicone
Just like preparing pasta, all it takes to shrink silicone is a pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water. If your item can be separated from its component, such as a mobile phone case or a stretchy bracelet, it can be shrunk. You will need:
- A pot large enough to fit the item with extra room on
- A pair of tongs
- A bowl of ice water
- Clean towels
How to Shrink Silicone
Like leather shoes or sandals that expand when they are wet, putting them on and letting them dry causes them to shrink on your feet until they fit again. The same theory holds true for silicone. You can shrink silicone in just a few steps:
- Separate the case from its phone or the bracelet from your
- Boil a pot of water big enough for your item.
- Put the item in the boiling water and swirl it around with
the tongs. Do not let it touch the bottom or sides of the pot.
- Boil for 30 seconds to one minute depending on the size of
the item. With the tongs, you will feel it stretch and become malleable, but it will shrink
once it is removed from the heat.
- Use the tongs to gently remove the item and place it in the
bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. The cold water causes the item to shrink.
- Take it out of the water and place it on a clean terry towel or dish
- Wipe the item thoroughly to dry it. Do not use paper towels, as the fibers will come off on the item, and don't use a hair dryer.
Put the item back on your mobile phone or wrist. It will continue to shrink and will fit snugly on the phone. If the bracelet or ring starts to get tight on your wrist, remove it and dunk it in the ice water again.
Think Outside the Box
Many household items are made of silicone. When your silicone wedding ring gets too large, boil it. The same holds true of gaskets, drinking straws that get wobbly from too much use, silicone belts and even collapsible items that have been collapsed too often. If they can fit inside a pot of boiling water, they can be revived and put to use again.