Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shrinky Dink Ornaments

I was doing this post for my other blog as part of Scribbit's Winter Bazaar. When I got finished I realized I had published it in the wrong blog, but decided not to delete it since it was such a fun activity for our family. Its not our usual Daily Dose fare, but here you go anyhow.
Do you remember shrinky dinks? Those fun plastic sheets you could color on and shrink in the oven? This last summer, my older sister told me a method for making your own shrinky dinks at home without having to spend a lot of money. Its also a great way to recycle...

First you will need a plastic take-out food box. The key is to get one that has a number 6 in the recycling symbol. Many restaurants give these boxes out for leftover food. You can wash it, dry it, and reuse it for making shrinky dinks. We have gotten boxes like this at Shari's restaurants and they also use them at many grocery stores for salads and etc. After my sister told me about this method of making shrinky dinks I went to our local United Grocers/Cash and Carry and found a set of 100 (large size) of those takeout boxes for $20.00. Since you can use the top and the bottom of each box for shrinky dinks that gave me 200 shrinky dink sheets. It comes out to about ten cents each, whereas when I priced shrinky dinks online, even giving a generous two projects from each 8x10 sheet, it would be at least 25 cents for each project.

Now, down to business. A couple of weeks ago our family spent an evening making Shrinky Dink Christmas ornaments. Here is a list of supplies you will need for this project.
#6 recycle plastic
sand paper
permanent markers
colored pencils
an oven (preheat to around 350...if your oven bakes hot set it a little lower)
a hole punch
coloring pages to trace ( can draw designs by hand if you are so inclined)

First you need to sand the plastic. We sanded it in all directions (only on one side) so as to minimize the appearance of scratches in the surface. You don't have to sand your plastic if you are only using permanent markers to color your project. Since we have young kids we had them use colored pencils, and you will have to sand if you want to use them as they won't color smoothly on unsanded plastic. For some of our ornaments we cut the plastic into the shape of a circle using a bowl to trace around. You have to make sure to get your plastic to the shape you want before you bake it.

We searched the internet for good Christmas coloring pages and printed them out to a size that would fit the size of our plastic sheets. I recommend taping your plastic to the paper with a couple of pieces of scotch tape so that tracing the pattern will be easier. We used sharpie markers to outline our coloring pages and then colored them in with colored pencils. Higher quality colored pencils are supposed to work better, but the crayola ones we used did fine.

After you are done coloring your image, remove the tape and use a hole punch to punch a hole at the top. (Because there is a significant amount of shrinkage, make sure not to punch your hole too close to the edge or it will break easily after baking.)

Now its time to bake your project. You can set your ornaments to bake on a foil lined pan. As they bake the plastic will become very distorted and will crinkle up. The first time I did this I thought it wasn't working and took my project out of the oven. It looked like a bowl. However, I later returned it to the oven and it finished flattening out as it baked. So don't be alarmed if your projects become misshapen. If the corners roll over too much you can use a chopstick to help flatten them somewhat. I you take it out of the oven it will harden within a few seconds. Once the projects flatten out give them about ten more seconds in the oven, and remove them.

This is a blurry picture, but will give you an idea of the amount of shrinkage that goes on.

Some of the boys' ornaments

A finished ornament on the tree

D decided to do one using only sharpie markers to color it, and without sanding. It turned out so beautifully that I am using it for my Wordless Wednesday post. I hope you enjoy trying this project with your family! Our kids loved it and have asked many times about doing it again.

1 comment:

  1. Wow you're creative! I always wondered how they did those shrinky dink things. Now how can I remember the number 6?

    This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.