Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shrinky Dink (minus the sharpie) Tutorial

Dear weather, please be nice on days that I have off so I can finish some tutorials!!! kthanks.
Due to weather not cooperating, I have to post this tutorial, which I wasn't planning on doing for a few weeks because the items are gifts for friends because I felt like it.
The infamous shrinky dink. Everyone's played with it right? Maybe not. But if you have, I'm sure you're addicted. I kept seeing tutorials on it for years and I never bothered to try it. But once I did, whoa.
Once you go shrinky, you never go back..? ;)
Anyway…I've never used the shrinky dink sheets, so question to my readers: Do they work better than plastic #6? My problem with shrinky dink is the color. Sharpie is too uneven for my taste. It looks tacky, painting before; you risk crumbling, and painting after; you risk the color not sticking.

So here's MY version of shrinky dinks.

plastic #6
sharpie (just a black one for tracing!)
hole punch
jewelry findings
craft paint
white glue/super glue
paint brushes/toothpick/scissors/exacto
sandpaper fine/rough or both (optional)
Polyurethane (or your preferred sealant)

First you need to sketch out your designs. Or find them online. These items are made for friends of mine, because I felt like it. The elephant comes from a tshirt design HERE, and the filmstrip comes from HERE (I chose that because its my friend's business logo!)
The reason I'm posting the image locations? I'm a graphic designer, and people stealing (or "borrowing") graphics is not only illegal, but its rude. You wouldn't want someone stealing your tutorials and photogaphs without knowing right? Right. So give credit where credit is due! *gets off soapbox*
Once you've drawn your design on paper, place a piece of plastic over it and trace with your sharpie. It doesn't have to be perfect! Just a rough sketch, then cut it out. Use a knife or exacto where its needed, don't bend the sheet or it will crack and tear! Once it's cut you can try to sand the edges with fine sandpaper (if any are dangerously sharp).
As you can see for my elephant, I cut out two pieces so I can layer them later. I highly suggest it. It adds so much color and texture to the piece! But it's personal preference! Make sure to make holes with the hole punch for jewelry findings! Next warm up the oven. It needs to be 350 degrees,  place your shapes on a baking tray and wait until its up to heat. NOTE: this is for MY oven using plastic #6. If you are using shrinky dink sheets, look at the label. Most of this is guess and check!
Once your oven if up to temperature, place the shapes in. It should take less than a minute for them to begin curling. Don't worry! They will uncurl. However, in the unlikely chance they don't, watch them with something in hand to tear them apart. Tweezers, small knife, toothpick etc. After they uncurl wait another minute or two for them to lay flat. Get a book, or heavy flat item out. Immediately upon pulling out of oven, I cover the top of them with aluminum foil and place a heavy book. This ensures that they will be flat (unless of course you don't want them flat..!) They should be flat and cool after 30 seconds to 1 minute. Sand the edges again (or for the first time) to make them smooth and safe. Some people also choose to sand the top and bottom or the pieces to make paint stick. It feels rough to me, so I choose not to.
Next, take your white glue, and an old brush and coat the top side (and sides) of the pieces. I placed them under a light so it will dry quickly. Flip and coat and the second side.
The reason I do this is so ANY kind of paint will stick to the surface. If you are using house paint or spray paint especially, often the paint will chip off. Likewise, sharpies smear. The glue will dry clear and give a smooth surface for paint to stick to. 
Now you paint them! I happen to have black and hot pink spray paint, so I used those. You can use any kind of paint you want though! I painted the heart pink, and the elephant and filmstrip black. Once they are dry, flip and paint the second side. Then check for any inconsistency or missed spots and paint again if needed. Don't forget to get the sides!
Once everything is dry, I used super glue to attach the heart to the elephant. Then attached jump rings to the holes. Once the actual necklaces are together, I dip the pieces into polyurethane. You can use whatever you'd like though. Just make sure you seal it before you wear it so its nice and durable. (My picture makes it look textured because I didn't use a flash. But its smooth and shiny!)
Now that you know the basics, have fun! Here are some fun painting techniques you can use on your pieces once you've applied the glue layer!

Painting Tutorials:

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Total cost (for me) under $0 (Had all the supplies on hand)
Have a question? Let me know! I'd be happy to answer it!


  1. He's so cute! And I love love love shrinky dinks. I never had them as a child. Never played with them until late last year. They are soooo fun!

  2. I love shrinky dinks. I have not seen them in years.! Thanks for joining my newbie party. FYI" It is Debbiedoos blogging and blabbing, NOT babbling LOL:)

  3. My kids are college age and older now but one of my favorite things to make with them were Shrinky Dinks! {Besides the Easy Bake Oven} Thanks so much for sharing this! I found you through Whaassup Wednesday!

  4. I couldn't help myself - I just had to feature this on Feature Friday! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I loved shrinky dinks as a kid...why not as an adult???

    Thanks for linking to Creative Juice! Hope to see you back this week

  6. I never knew how to do that. Thank you for showing me! And thanks for linking up to Friday Brag Fest!


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