Monday, February 18, 2013

Shrinky Dink Love

     Anyone who knows me knows I love some Shrinky Dinks!  And it amazes me that people have never heard of them because I grew up making Shrinky Dinks for Christmas ornaments and on rainy days.  Lately though, my Shrinky Dinks have gotten all grown up!  I love to use them in my art, whether it be on tags or in dangling charms.  The latest fave I have is using them to make charm bracelets.

  Since digi images are so readily available for free online or for purchase in Etsy and Zibbet, it is really not hard to find themed pictures to copy on to Shrinky Dink paper.  The true trick and art of it is determining the size that will shrink to charm perfection once it is baked in the oven.  If this is all completely over your head have no fear as it just takes reading the directions that come with the package of Shrinky Dinks.  And a word to the wise is to print something on both sides of your Inkjet (and you really can only use Shrinky Dink paper that is especially for Inkjet...there are other types of SD paper that will not work with your printer). It is too hard to match your images perfectly so I generally pick a piece of coordinating scrapbook paper to copy to the other side.  I will try to show you a few before and afters below, but I realize now that I should have given you a size reference so you could see how big they started out and then the size they shrink to.  They do start out as flimsy and thin but, once cooked,  shrink and harden immensely.

So here are a few images that I bought from an Etsy seller of vintage children's books.  I printed them all onto ONE sheet of SD paper and then cut them out. I use either a punch or my paper trimmer to cut them because I want them in the neatest shape before they cook (takes less maintenance once they are cooked). Yes. you must cook them either on parchment or on an opened paper bag because they will stick to your cookie sheet.

This is the finished bracelet...made for my niece who is in college to be a teacher and absolutely adores children's books. You can kind of see how the images shrink and get hard but you can also see their size based on the charms that are next to them.    When they shrink, the colors also intensify so they recommend that you dull down your original before printing (it does save on ink)
Here is another example made from vintage images of Scrabble tiles for my SIL who is a Scrabble addict.  I made the mistake of not copying something on the back of this paper before I cut it out and you can see the white backs of these charms.  While I normally would disapprove of leaving them blank, I liked this because it went with the overall color scheme of the bracelet.
Another example using vintage images and button cards.  The difference with this bracelet is that I colored the sides with a black Sharpie in order to add to that vintage vibe.  Sharpie or alcohol markers will work just fine to color the thick white sides if you choose.
There are a bazillion other ways to make charms using the Inkjet SD paper; the ideas are only limited by your imagination!  I have made charms from photographs too but the quality of your photo needs to be good and there needs to be a focal point that is fairly big.  For example, a pic of you and your bestie clinking your champagne glasses while out at a girls night would be great, but the picture of your entire family at the yearly family reunion is just too busy and will shrink down to look more like a blob than your Uncle Ed.
Shrinky Dink paper comes in other forms as well...clear, different colors, etc.  Another of my favorite things to do is to run some of the paper through my Vagabond to create a shape and then stamp on it with Staz-On (you must use Staz-On as anything else will just wipe off) and shrink it down to add to a tag or a mini album. You can use your Copics or Sharpies to color in the image once it is stamped if your heart desires.  The Tim Holtz Sewing Room die works wonderfully.  The dressform shrinks perfectly and has lots of real estate for stamping too! It is definitely something you should try INSTEAD OF THE LAUNDRY!  And it is also something you can distract share with your kids as they will love watching the images shrink in the oven.  They make lots of fun little kits for children to color and shrink too. 


  1. I remember doing Shrinky Dinks as a kid too!! The bracelet is amazing!!!

  2. We've actually had good luck using the regular SD paper in the ink jet printer. I scuff it up extra by hand and then print it on the transparency setting. The ink smudges easily before baking, so cutting has to be done carefully. After baking it is fine (I've had it submersed in water and rubbed it hard when wet to test), although I use a clear spray sealer after baking just to be safe. I tried using the regular SD paper when I realized that the Ink Jet version was twice the price at Michael's.

    Of course, YMMV. :)