Anyone else grow up in the 80’s? It was a fabulous time to be a kid. We had Care Bears, Smurfs, Cabbage Patch dolls, and this cool craft called Shrinky Dinks. You could buy sets of Shrinky Dinks with various characters and designs which came as sheets of plastic with pictures printed on them. You would color the pictures with the pencils provided and then bake them in the oven. In just a few minutes, they would shrink into little hard plastic charms that could be used as toys or keychains or just little collectibles. So fun!
Recently, we found out that you can make your own shrinky dinks at home with #6 plastic! It’s SO easy and so much fun. An awesome craft for all ages!
Supplies Needed for Making Shrinky Dinks:
- #6 recyclable plastic – this is that thin, stiff plastic that is used for lids of disposable aluminum baking dishes and salad containers.
- Sharpies or colored pencils – we used Sharpies
- A baking sheet
- An oven
- Hole punch – optional for making keychains
- Metal keychains – optional
And that’s it!
I often buy disposable baking pans to use when taking a meal to someone, but I often don’t use the lids. This was a great way to use some lids!
I also purchased a disposable sheet pan. This worked so well because we used the lid for shrinky dinks and the pan for baking the shrinky dinks. That way I didn’t have to worry about using one of my own baking sheets.
If you’re using a baking sheet/cookie sheet, you might want to cover it with foil or parchment paper before baking.
Cut out any shape you want from the #6 plastic. Draw designs with Sharpies and color them in!
Notice that the football design below was drawn on a part of the lid that has ridges. That doesn’t matter at all! The ridges will flatten out in the oven.
Each of these designs will shrink down to about 1/3 of their original size, so keep them in mind when drawing your pictures.
If you want to make keychains, punch the hole now with a hole punch. You won’t be able to punch a hole after they come out of the oven.
At what temperature should I bake shrinky dinks?
We baked ours at 325 F, although some instructions say to do 350.
They take about 3 minutes to bake. First, they will shrink and wrinkle up and get sort of curly! Then they will flatten out again. Once they are flat, leave them in the oven about 30 seconds more.
You can see that my disposable sheet pan in the photo below has ridges on it. The ridges did keep the shrinky dinks from becoming truly flat. On my second batch, I just put them in the flat places.
The kids were so impressed with the finished shrinky dinks! Super cool!
As you can tell from the photo, they are much thicker after they shrink.
The colors also become more vibrant after they shrink. Some of the dark colors, like the brown on the football, became a bit darker than we wanted. Light colors turn out great. Outlining objects works well.
We are loving Janie’s backpack keychain/zipper pull. It turned out so cute!
Do I have to use Sharpies? Can I color shrinky dinks with colored pencils?
Sharpies definitely seem to be the best option. Colored pencils will work, but it can be a little difficult to get them to color on the shiny plastic. I have read that lightly sanding the plastic first will help. We have not tried this yet.
I would not recommend crayons (the wax will melt in the oven) or washable markers (the colors will run).
Have fun crafting with shrinky dinks! And if you’re looking for more simple craft ideas, we’ve got lots.
Making Perler Bead Necklaces is so much fun! These are fun for kids to make and give.
Another one of our favorites is these Pipe Cleaner Superheroes.