Tuesday, 7 September 2010

How-To Tuesday: Shrinky Dinks

Hi this is Ruth from Nice Day Designs, it been a while since I posted anything here on the team blog, *waves* to all the new readers.

It was about 2 months ago that I first spotted 'Shrinky Dinks' in some craft tutorial online. I was totally fascinated by them, and the more research I did they seemed too good to be true. Basically they are a plastic that you draw on, stick them in the oven for a couple of minutes and they get 7 times smaller and 7 times thicker!! They go from a thickness like ascetate to a sturdy clear plastic. There are endless possibilities, from earrings, card embellishments, ornaments etc etc. Apparently they are huge in the US and all American kids play with them, but I had never heard of them before or seen them in any craft shop here.

I tried to order some directly from the website but they were going to charge me $40 shipping on a really small item. Instead I had a look on ebay and found 'Shrinkles', a 'shrinky dink' substitute, the same product but with far more affordable shipping.

I got the transparent and opaque versions, both in packs of 50 for a total of about 20 euro. To get a decent sized image I used an entire sheet per piece. For the transparent shrinkles I had to use 'Sharpie' markets, I was able to get a set of these in my local craft shop Silkes for 10 euro. But for the opaque ones regular colouring pencils are fine.

I was delighted with how they turned out, shrinking an image always makes it look way better as the detail is condensed. I included a euro coin in the photos so you can get an idea of the change in scale. Also since they are transparent they would be very easy to trace images if you are not that confident at drawing.

After making lots of them I've decided I prefer the opaque ones as you can get more detail and texture with the colouring pencils. Recently someone saw the cards I made with them and I've been commisioned to do a large scale artwork with them pieces lots of panels together...I'm excited to get started on it soon.


  1. Ruth that's so funny, someone emailed me just to tell me about these the other day! Parallel worlds or something... anyway, she was saying that you can do the same with recycled '6' plastics - look in the recycle triangle for the number - anyway i've been upending strawberry cartons and all and haven't come across a '6' yet... but when I do - it's into the oven! great article, as ever. mandi

  2. These so remind me of being a kid. What fun! I can't believe they never made it to Ireland!

  3. oh i love a bit of shrinky dink! I have made magnets, jewellery and tree decorations in the past using it. My favourite type is white and printable. I used to get it from PC World, its made by decadry and can be pretty expensive but gives a really good quality finish.

    my tree ornaments....

  4. ....oh and good news on the commission! i'll do a little dig around here and see if I have some bits to spare! ;)

  5. What fun. Gotta try these out. thanks for posting.....off to check out Tanya's tree ornaments.......

  6. the little houses are really cute Tanya. The little babbie must be fairly nigh...so wishing you all the best

  7. These look very groovy and fun, and I love your cards! Congratulations on the commission!!! Tanya's tree ornaments are also really cute.

    However, I have to admit I feel a bit queasy about melting plastic in an oven...even recycled plastic...my green heart twitches...I suppose there is no 'greener' alternative?

  8. Just looking into Shrinky Dinks, health and the environment, so here are two links about using recycled '6' plastic:



    I also found some more info on a German website:

    - Don't have the oven hotter than 287 C to avoid unhealthy fumes.

    - Don't heat the Shrinky Dinks in the microwave. That seems to be a total no-no!

  9. What a neat idea! Well done on your commission and likewise gonna check out the xmas decorations!

  10. Thanks ladies!
    Since then I've made loads more, I'm totally addicted, I wonder can I buy them wholesale??

    Off now to check out Tanyas link

    Mandi-I thought your earrings were shrinky dinks until I looked at them closer, they would be ideal for you, and the class packs of 50 work out pretty cheap at 20c per image.

  11. Yeah ruth, that's why my friend emailed me the stuff- she thought they were shrinky dinks too. looking at your and tanya's gorgeous work, I have to give it a go!! Though probably won't come up with anything as fab:) thanks again!

  12. It's funny you wrote an article about these cos I was looking into it on you tube the other day and contemplating buying a few sheets to give it a go. Lovely result Ruth, ^_^ Virginie