Shrinky Dinks, shrinkable plastic sheets, bring back more fond childhood memories of crafting with my mom. I was reminded of this cool item recently when my boys found a game I made as a kid. I’d made the game pieces from Shrinky Dinks. You can trace, rubber stamp, or create your own designs on the special plastic sheets using colored pencil, acrylic paints, or any other permanent media. Cut out your designs and bake them in the oven. Your creations will shrink to one-third their original size and grow nine times thicker. And watching them shrink in the oven is half the fun.
I was happy to discover that this cool plastic is still around (though I’m sure it’s improved since it first appeared in 1973). You can find Shrinky Dink plastic sheets at any Michael’s Craft Store. I found a great intro kit by Klutz Books at Books on the Square (Wayland Square in Providence). This kit gives you lots of ideas and six sheets to get started.
You can make jewelry, backpack tags, magnets, ornaments, key chains, and more. A terrific project for all artistic levels. You can create your own art, trace from an existing picture, or even buy special plastic that runs through your Ink Jet printer (Item D600-6A) or in a Xerox machine. Do NOT run regular plastic through Laser Printers.
My boys had fun drawing their own pictures on regular paper first, then tracing their artwork onto the plastic and coloring it in with waterproof markers. They made their own action figures and hangtags for their backpacks.
To demonstrate how much your artwork will shrink, see the picture below that shows my sons original drawing (right) and his finished piece on the left.
– Use waterproof markers or waterproof paint (not the washable kind).
– For best results with colored pencils, Berol Prisma Color or Faber Castell are recommended, (We used Crayola colored pencils and they worked fine).
– For hanging designs, make sure to hole-punch items before baking (remember the hole will shrink).
– Do a test piece before you put your favorite piece in the oven to see how the plastic shrinks.
– Warn your kids ahead of time that some pieces may not shrink perfectly. Sometimes when the plastic heats up, it curls and sticks back onto itself.
– Bake on a regular cookie sheet (do not use cookie sheets with a special air layer).
– Do not leave oven unattended because it only takes minutes to shrink your pieces. Turn on oven light and watch the transformation. Talk with your kids about what happens to the plastic.
– If you think it is curling too much, have an adult open the oven and uncurl the piece with a chopstick or popsicle stick.