Make your own DIY Recycled Shrinky Dinks from garbage!
There’s a reason this post is one of our top posts of all time! Making your own DIY Recycled Shrinky Dinks is so much fun, and it costs almost nothing!
I’m going to show my age with this post. I remember when I was in middle school and Shrinky Dinks were cool. We made them in an art class, and I have a very vivid memory of what I made. In fact, my mom may still have it. I probably made more than just this one thing, but one thing stands out for me.
When I was little, we had a cat named Muffin. Muffin was the coolest cat ever. She was part Siamese, and the sweetest cat in the world. After she died of feline leukemia, my mom swore we would never have another cat, but I wanted one so badly.
So when it came time to make shrinky dinks, I decided to make a picture of a cat with the phrase, “A house is not a home without a cat.” No guilt trip there, right?
And it’s a story for another day, but we did end up getting another cat not long after I gave that pin to my mom. I’m sure the two are unrelated, but oddly enough, the picture of the cat I drew looked very similar to Waffles, the cat we ended up with.
Because of this, I have fond feelings about shrinky dinks! So when Kerry told me that you can make them using recycled plastic, I was so excited! I’m not so cheap I wouldn’t consider buying the real thing for my kids, but I thought that if we could make them from garbage that would have gone to the landfill, that’s even better!
If you want somewhere between the cost of buying the real thing vs. digging through the trash, you can buy these shrinky sheets for a pretty good price.
We started out tracing things to make our shrinky dinks. I printed out some free graphics from PicMonkey, and let the kids pick which ones they wanted to trace.
Note: You will want to make sure that the plastic you’re using is #6. Other plastics may not work or even (eek!) emit toxic fumes! So check the plastic for a #6 in the recycling arrows. If it’s not there, don’t risk it!
How to Make DIY Recycled Shrinky Dinks:
You will need (affiliate links):
- #6 plastic containers
- Permanent Markers
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Hole Punch (optional)
Locate, wash, and dry #6 plastic containers. You will be able to see a 6 in the recycle arrows, if you’ve got the right plastic.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Trace or freehand draw anything using permanent markers. Remember that the item will shrink to about 1/3 of the size, so don’t make anything too small. Below is a picture of what I traced, and how small it turned out after shrinking!
I recommend coloring the parts first, and then tracing around the outside last. The colors will darken, so don’t worry if it seems light. Some of mine actually turned out darker than I would have liked.
After coloring, cut out the shape. If you want it to be a charm or be able to hang it, punch a hole in it. Use a hole punch. I tried poking a hole with a pin, and you can hardly even see the spot, let alone get anything through it.
Place shrinky dinks on parchment paper and put in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
After about 30 seconds, the shrinky dinks will all go crazy. They will roll up in a ball, turn into a cup shape, etc. You will think they are going to be ruined, but don’t panic. After about 2 minutes, they will flatten back out again.
Wait until the shrinky dinks flatten out, and then pull them out of the oven.
You will be amazed by how much they shrink. I thought it would be fun to do some charms and make a bracelet, and then charms all turned out maybe 1/4″ square, so pretty much good for nothing! Hahaha.
But we did have a lot of fun, and the kids thought it was amazing. And really, that’s what’s important anyway, right?
We’ll be making these again as soon as we have more #6 plastic, so I’ll share more pictures in the future!
Looking for more fun ideas for the kids? Check out The Homestead Kids Blog, where the kids share the things they’ve been creating!
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