Do you remember making Shrinky Dinks as a kid? If not they were patterned pieces of plastic you would color and put in the oven to magically shrink up and become charms or sun catchers. It was one of those “as seen on TV” things you saw advertised during morning cartoons that you just had to have and begged your mom for! I'm going to show you how to make your own inexpensive Shrinky Dinks so you can make these cute Star Wars Earrings or any other item you want.
How to Make Shrinky Dinks
First you will want to find your Shrinky Dink Patterns. Any clip art will do that you find in a book or online. I found this Darth Vader head and just sized it in Microsoft Word to print out. You will want your pattern to be 3 times the size of your final shrinky dinks once it's shrunken. Now that you have your Shrinky Dinks Pattern the rest is easy.
Materials to DIY Shrinky Dinks
There are two options for shrinky dinks plastic and making a design on them.
- A Sharpie marker and a #6 Recycled Plastic Container. These are clear plastic containers that come with salad greens in them that you can get at most grocery stores at the deli or salad bar. (if you ask really nice they may just give you a clean one!)
- Graphix Ink Jet Shrink Film is available in White or Clear
and can be printed onto right from your computer. This is the option you would want to something that is a little more detailed or that you want to look a little nicer.
In addition, you will need:
- Scissors or a die cut machine like a Cricut
- Hole Punch
- Tin Foil or Parchment Paper
- Cookie Sheet
In this tutorial, I used a salad container and sharpie.
Shrinky Dinks Instructions
Cut your plastic out to size. Nest take your hole punch and make a hole in the top of the plastic if you are wanting to make earrings, a key chain or something else before you put your design on so you don't put a hole through your design. Making your hole before you bake them also is easier than trying to drill one later.
Take your pattern and place it under the clear plastic. You may want to use a little tape like I did to keep it from moving while you trace the pattern. Using a Sharpie Marker trace and color in your pattern. You may find you want to fill in a few places better after you take it off of the pattern.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place foil or parchment on your cookie sheet. If you skip this step you will find your shrinky dink stuck to your cookie sheet so don't skip this step. Place your plastic on the cookie sheet and place in the oven. You will see the plastic start to bubble up and curl then magically it will go flat again and that's when you want to pull it out. It only takes a minute or two, here is a video I did for you to see.
You have about 10 seconds when you pull them out of the oven if you want to press your shrinky dink down a little flatter or curl up the edges but he careful these are hot! Lucky for me I've burned my finger tips enough with my hot glue gun it doesn't bother me much.
Let your shrinky dinks cool and attach your earring wires or any other item like a key chain. I did use a wire loop to attach mine to the wire so that they laid a little nicer. Aren't they fun!
This is a fun thing to do with your kids as well, you can print out a pattern and let them color it in with sharpies then shrink them down if you don't think they are old enough to trace a pattern or just let them make some free handed artwork as well!