Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Ok, I admit it, I am ridiculously excited about this craft! I think I'm more excited than Zack. Possibly it's that without any daughters I don't get my proper fix of tiny and cute? Even so, Zack's pretty excited too. We made shrinky dinks out of recycled plastic!

Did you do shrinky dinks as a kid? I remember they were cool but not much else about them. A while ago I saw on a blog that #6 plastic is shrinky dink raw material. When we came home from lunch on Monday with some #6 takeout boxes (finally!!), I went back to look for instructions. I couldn't find the post I first saw [here it is!], but I did google it and there are lots of examples and tips out there.

I drew an outline drawing of a frog for Zack to color in. Then he drew his own drawing of a person. When he saw me making a butterfly, he wanted to make one too. Then when I was cutting out the colored designs, he needed entertainment, so I made his name in bubble letters for him to color. So, we just played around drawing and coloring. After shrinking, everything came out about a third or a quarter of the original size and so cute. I have 47 half-baked (groan) ideas for stuff to use shrinky dinks on!

Here's the full instructions:
  1. Save those thin, clear, stiff #6 plastic takeout boxes and cut out the flat parts (the other parts work too if you have ideas for what to do with them).
  2. Draw (or trace coloring books to color in) and color designs with Sharpies on #6 plastic. (We put the foil for later right on the table, wrapping it around the front edge to protect the table from those Sharpies.) If you are going to want to thread the finished product on something, punch a regular size hole.
  3. Cut out your design.
  4. Lay it on a piece of foil (or parchment) and bake in a pre-heated 300 degree oven for about 2 minutes. It will curl up and then fall back mostly flat. Flatten (or shape) immediately before it cools (before you set the foil on a cool counter) if you want it flatter (and clearly, don't burn yourself, yada yada).
  5. Eeeeee! So cute!
- Preparation rating: Maybe 20 minutes to dig out the Sharpies from where they were hidden from the children, find a couple cute shapes to trace, and cut up the box. Pretty easy.
- Cleanup rating: 5 minutes to toss the scraps and re-hide the Sharpies. Very easy.
- Trouble to payoff rating: Very good. No mess, no drying time, baking time is fun to watch, cools very quickly, pieces are not fragile.

I was a little concerned about toxic fumes before I did this, but it really seemed fine. Way less fume-y than, say, microwaving in a styrofoam container (not that I want to do that, yuck).


Ugh. My crafty excitement has collapsed. We had a cutie little morning with everything going well, when I realized I have double-booked myself for a family vacation (and was one click away from plane ticket purchase) and coordinating a wedding. Then the baby woke up and I realized that I was out of kiddo naptime and completely unprepared with the work I was supposed to do for a church meeting tonight. Now the baby is crying because he can't chew his apple, I'm trying to accomplish something, and Zack is running in circles, wanting undivided attention again.

Insert musical collapsing-wind-down-crashing sounds here. But don't let that ruin your crafty fun...


  1. Ugh, don't you hate it when responsibilities have to rain on a craft parade? Not fun. It looks very cute, nonetheless! Great job, mommy.


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  3. I love seeing pictures of your kids...