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How to Shrink a Chip Bag {a Recycling Science Craft}

Updated on September 14, 2013
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge enjoys reading and writing about new (and sometimes old) craft and decoration ideas.

Before you try to shrink the chip bag, empty it of chips and clean it out. Yes, you can eat the chips too!
Before you try to shrink the chip bag, empty it of chips and clean it out. Yes, you can eat the chips too! | Source

I had a friend in high school who was quirky and always wearing unusual accessories. One day I noticed that her dangly earrings looked like shrunken Doritos bags, and I asked where she got them. Instead of the name of a local shop where I could buy the earrings, she told me HOW I could make my own shrunken chip bags.

Although my friend used the mini chip bags for earrings (by attaching them to earring hooks purchased from the craft store), you could also use the shrunken bags for a bookmark, keychain, charm on a necklace, or so much more. The possibilities (much like the flavors of chips) are almost endless.

Not only is it fun to create a shrunken chip bag, it also serves as a lesson in science. Just why does the bag shrink? Check out the video for additional hints and tips, and the WHY behind the HOW.

Here’s how to see a chip bag shrink:

  1. Empty a bag of chips with an aluminum lining and a plastic coating on the outside
  2. Clean the chip bag with water; dry inside and outside of bag thoroughly with a towel
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  4. Flatten the bag, and place it on a baking sheet
  5. Cook the chip bag for about 10 minutes, checking every 2 minutes or so (if the bag starts to crinkle or curl flatten it with a rolling pin, or place a smaller baking sheet on top of it to keep the bag flat.
  6. Remove the bag from the oven once it has shrunk to your desired size, let it cool.
  7. Drill a tiny hole (or put a safety pin to prick a small hole) in the bag for use as an accessory.

What’s happening:

The plastic molecules in the bag vibrate as the bag heats up. As the plastic gets hot, the plastic gets thicker and shorter, causing the bag to shrink.

Check out the video below from Steve Spangler for instructions on how to shrink chip bags, as well as footage of what the final shrunken product looks like.


You can also use a microwave to shrink the bag, but beware, the bag might catch on fire or you might damage your microwave.

Remember, the smaller the bag at the beginning of the cooking process the smaller the result. Experiment until you find the perfect bag size for your crafting needs.



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