Remember Shrinky Dinks from the 80’s? Well I do and apparently it’s still fun as hell. Shrinky Dinks is a craft where you buy special plastic, color it, and put it in an oven for it to shrink into a charm.
What’s So Great About Them? Teens are amazed that you can color on a thin piece of plastic and it turns into a miniature charm. They also like to watch the Dinks shrink and flatten in the oven-the amazement on the faces of high school boys was awesome!
Time Needed: 15+ minutes
ZERO DOLLARS?! Yes, you don’t have to buy the plastic. You can make Shrinky Dinks using #6 plastic. Many food containers are made with #6 plastic, especially pastries from the grocery store. We asked staff to save and donate their #6 food containers. #6 shrinks and stiffens the best.
You will need a toaster or convection oven and if your library doesn’t have one and you don’t want to buy one, ask a staff member if you can borrow theirs.
- #6 plastic containers or Shrinky Dink Plastic
- Sand paper if you use #6 plastic
- Colored pencils
- Hole punch
- Images printed on paper
- Toaster oven
- Jump rings; keychain rings; pinback (optional)
I preprinted popular images and cut them out in squares. They were about 4×4 inches. Images included Harry Potter and superhero logos, sports team logos, Pokemon and Super Mario logos. If you are worried about copyright, Google creative common images or allow teens to draw their own pictures.
Using a Sharpie/marker, trace the outline of the image on the shrink paper and color the image using colored pencil or markers.
- If you are using purchased paper, trace and color on the rough side.
- If you are using #6, sand paper one side and trace and color on the same side.
- If you are making a keychain or necklace punch a hole in the plastic next to your colored image and cut out the image.
- If you are using purchased paper, follow the instructions on the packaging.
- If you are using #6 plastic, preheat the oven on 350 degrees. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1-3 minutes.
- It will begin to curl but don’t panic, it will flatten. After it flattens, leave in the oven for 30 seconds and take out of the oven. Lay a book on the Dink to ensure the flatness.
- Hot glue a pinback to create fun charms.