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Make Your Own Shrinky Dinks

Updated on August 1, 2013

Recycle Plastic or Buy Shrink Film to Make Shrinky Dinks

I first heard about how to make your own Shrinky Dinks from a fellow volunteer. She was a science nerd and had experimented with different kinds of recycled plastics till she figured out which ones worked like the plastic sheets that come in Shrinky Dink kits!

Find out how to make your own Shrinky Dinks on the cheap. You can save money on your kids' crafts projects by making Shrinky Dinks with recycled plastic containers.

Other options are to buy shrink film sheets and design each item yourself or buy Shrinky Dink kits that include everything you need to make exciting little shrinkable art!

This photo shows some shrunk Shrinky Dinks attached to a felt bracelet. These were lovingly colored by a very talented 6-year-old girl. She used colored pencils that came in the Shrinky Dink set.

Photo Credit: Peggy Hazelwood

Shrinky Dinks Are Fun!

Shrinky Dinks are made with plastic

(recycled containers or sheets) that you

can color with permanent markers

or colored pencils.

Then you cut out the shapes and bake them.

When they reach a certain temperature,

the plastic first curls then flattens again

and shrinks to an itsy bitsy size.

Option No. 1: Buy Plastic Sheets and Make Your Own Shrinky Dink Designs

Inkjet Printable Shrinky Dink Plastic - Print Your Own Designs

Make Your Own Shrinky Dinks - Supplies to Buy to Get Started

Make Personalized Shrinky Dinks

Reader Shirley Philbrick commented, "I used the sheets to print my grandbaby's feet on. They are adorable! I poked holes in them so they can be used for earrings, charms or on a key ring."

Option No. 2: Recycle Plastic for Shrinky Dinks

Use plastic containers with the number 5 or 6 marked on them to make your own Shrinky Dinks!

Make Shrinky Dinks with Recycled Plastic Containers - Save Those Plastic Boxes from Vegetables and Fruit

These links provide information on making your own shrinkable plastic using plastic you're currently throwing away or recycling. Give it a try. It's free!

Watch a Quick Video on How to Make Shrinky Dinks

Reasonably Priced Toaster Ovens - Dedicated Oven for Crafts Like Shrinky Dinks and Polymer Clay Crafts

Face it. When you make Shrinky Dinks you are basically melting plastic. The fumes can be stinky and probably are not totally safe to breathe. And do you really want to bake in your oven after shrinking plastic? I didn't think so!

Stay safe and use a dedicated toaster oven for crafts like melting Shrinky Dinks and for curing/baking polymer clay art work.

Toaster ovens offer these benefits:

~ They are small and can be carried outside to the patio or back yard. Use the oven outside or set it next to an open window while in use to keep the fumes to a minimum.

~ They are inexpensive (all of these are less than $50).

~ They are portable and can be taken to Scout meetings, slumber parties, school, and 500 other places where you might want to make Shrinky Dinks!

How Small Do Shrinky Dinks Shrink?

My grandson measured some before and after Shrinky Dinks. The shrunk pieces are about 80% smaller

than the original size before shrinking!

Option No. 3: Buy Shrinky Dinks Kits That Include Everything

Shrinky Dink Kits to Buy - Ready to Go and Shrink!

The easier way to go is to buy Shrinky Dink kits. Everything's included! To get started, buy a kit or two and have a blast! My granddaughter just loves coloring these things then we make bracelets and necklaces with the tiny charms that come out of the toaster oven.

Shrinky Dinks Make Great Gifts - For Girls and Boys as Young as 6

Girl coloring Shrinky Dinks from a kit.
Girl coloring Shrinky Dinks from a kit.

Crafting Ideas - Drawing, Collages, Crafting with Silverware and Matchboxes and More

Clothespin Crafts
Clothespin crafts transform ordinary wooden clothespins into something new. Clothespins come in both peg and clip styles...

Silverware Crafts
If you've seen wind chimes made from vintage silverware, you have an idea of what silverware crafts are.

Book Crafts
Books may not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of crafting, but book crafts can be fun and when you're done,

Costume Jewelry Crafts
Costume jewelry crafts are simply crafts made using costume jewelry. This can include using a piece, such as clip on earrings,

Button Crafts
Crafting with buttons is one of the most fun ways to show off pretty buttons whether they're vintage buttons or new ones.

Lace Crafts
Lace crafts can be delicate and beautiful. Embellishing items with lace, using lace as a stencil, or creating lace by knitting or crocheting are all fun lace...

Rope Crafts
Crafting with rope can be a fun hobby that results in some useful objects with textures you just don't get with another medium.

Jar Crafts
I usually recycle my glass jars, but I also tend to keep a whole bunch of them for crafts.

Making Bookmarks -- Book Thongs
Making bookmarks, like book thongs, is a fun craft that ends in a useful bookmark to use to keep track of where you left off.

Crafts Using Tins
Do you have empty tins that you hate to just throw away? These crafts using tins will give you lots of ideas.

Matchbox Crafts
Matchbox crafts are a way to craft in miniature, especially if you choose to use the small matchboxes that measure about 2 inches by 1-3/8 inches.

Crafting with Bandanas
Bandanas are patterned handkerchiefs that often have paisley designs making for a lovely square of fabric perfect for crafting.

Bottle Caps Crafts--Making Art With Bottle Caps
Bottle caps crafts range from simple bottle cap necklaces or magnets to this grand lady shown herewith bottle cap arms and legs.

Key Crafts
If you're like me, you have a junk drawer (or two or three) with loose keys. You don't remember what they went to.

Rock Painting -- How to Paint Rocks
I saw an article online about rock painting and decided that I had to try that! I don't consider myself to be artistic at all, but I do love crafts.

Drawing Instruction -- How to Draw Step by Step
Using simple drawing instructions, nearly everyone can learn to draw.

Origami Downloads
Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper to create designs. Origami is 3D art that everyone who can fold paper can enjoy.

Making Collages
Making collages is a craft that all ages can enjoy. Face it, it's fun to cut and paste!

Affiliate Disclosure

This author, Peggy Hazelwood, participates in Amazon, eBay, All Posters, and other affiliate advertising programs. When you click an advertising link on this page and make a purchase, I receive a small percent of the sale. Thank you for reading this far!

Will You Try Making Your Own Shrinky Dinks?

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    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Joan Haines: That's a great idea to use the recycled plastics for the classroom. Much cheaper than buying the sets for lots of kids!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      I've used #6 plastics as shrinky dinks with my elementary school students. One of the cool things about shrinky dinks is that when you punch a hole with a regular sized hole punch, it shrinks down to become just right for threading a string through for necklaces.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      I've used #6 plastics as shrinky dinks with my elementary school students. One of the cool things about shrinky dinks is that when you punch a hole with a regular sized hole punch, it shrinks down to become just right for threading a string through for necklaces.

    • Scarlettohairy profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      @Virginia Allain: Wow, that's great that your mom used recycled plastic. I'll be trying it soon. I have a couple of containers with 5 and 6 on them to test out. Great idea to copy the card designs and make ornaments.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      My mom used to use recycled plastic for this. After washing them up, they worked as well as the packaged kits. I have some cute Christmas ornaments made from copying Christmas card designs onto plastic and shrinking it.

    • Scraps2treasures profile image


      6 years ago

      I loved Shrinky Dinks as a kid! I am going to have to try making them from recycled containers with my kids. Blessed.

    • SPhilbrick profile image


      6 years ago

      I used the sheets to print my grandbaby's feet on. They are adorable! I poked holes in them so they can be used for earrings, charms or on a key ring :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't know you could make shrinky dinks by recycling plastic containers! Where are my colored pencils? I've got to try this!

    • kislanyk profile image


      6 years ago from Cyprus

      What neat idea and I love the fact that they're done with recyclable plastic.

    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      6 years ago

      Cool Lens, great way to recycle / re-purpose; I've also bought a brand that you can run through your printer from a company think the web site is paper-paper in Chicago (great for jewelry making).

    • lkamom profile image

      Heather McGlaughlin 

      6 years ago from Marryland

      Really neat! Shrinky dinks have been around for ages, never knew you could make your own.


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