Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shrinky Dinks

One of my son's favorite things to do is to make shrinky dinks. Awhile back, I purchased a large amount of shrinky dink paper from I'm not a huge fan of most of the kits you can buy as they are shapes and designs that you only have the option to color. I like to give the children freedom to choose and create their own designs. Sometimes we have completely unique designs, and sometimes we trace pictures from books to color.

Mr. Jim from the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum mentioned to me that you could make shrinky dinks by recycling your #6 plastic. I decided that I would try it out and compare the results with the purchased shrinky dink paper.

The first thing I noticed was that the #6 plastic was much thicker than the purchased paper. I cut a piece of the #6 plastic and sanded it to the exact same size and shape as the piece of shrinky dink paper. You can see that the colored pencil looks much more vivid on the purchased paper. I'm not sure if this would be true if I had sanded the #6 plastic more or not. I'll have to test that out later.

I ended up trying various pieces of the #6 plastic. I was not getting the desired results as easily as the shrinky dink paper.

I did a little bit of researching on the internet and found a ton of tutorials. Perhaps I will have to do some more tinkering with this to see if we can make it work. Unlike the purchased paper, the #6 plastic did not want to flatten back out after it curled. I know I could have flattened it when it was still hot, but I was hoping to get the results without dealing with the hot plastic. (Please note, I baked the shrinky dinks in a regular oven when the children were not present. There can be some issues with fumes and melting plastic. I had all the windows open and fans going in the kitchen.)

One of the tutorials I found said to use #5 plastic, and some of them mentioned different oven positions and temperatures. I will continue to tinker with this until we have a better product or I will keep buying the paper! I continually stress that the art is about the process, but my little man expects that when he makes a shrinky dink that mom will shrink it right! (and so do all of his friends!)
Check out some of our newest finished creations:

Some tips:
1) Make sure you punch a hole in the paper/plastic before you cook it. (You can drill one after, but it is much easier if you do it first.
2) Make sure to color the entire image so you don't end up with weird color spots! (Unless that is the effect you are going for.)
3) Permanent Markers work great for making the outlines on your project. You could use them to color with too. (We chose to use colored pencils)


Ticia said...

I saw someone say colored pencils end up with brighter colors though, haven't experimented to see for sure.

I have to admit for my lazy times with shrinky-dinks I do like the kits if they're pre-traced. But, I do need to do something with my shrinky dink paper rather than let it sit here.

Heidi @ Happiness is Homemade said...

We do "shrinky dinks" with #6 plastic quite often, and I've never had a problem with them not flattening after shrinking. You might try leaving them in the oven a little bit longer. I find that they curl up something terrible, but if I leave them in the oven for another minute or so they always flatten back out and correct themselves. The markers and pencil definitely stick better to the original Shrinky Dink paper though, no matter how much you sand the #6 plastic. :)

Amy A @ Child Central Station said...

Thanks for the tips. I did leave the plastic in the oven for a very long time and it did not uncurl :( Maybe it is just me! Oh well, I will keep tinkering!

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