The Homemade Shrinky Test Lab (redux)

[10 Aug 2012 | By | 29 Comment(s) | 103,066 views ]

everything you need to know about making shrink plastic out of #6

So way back in 2008, one of the first big “experiments in craft” I did for Dabbled was what I called the Shrinky Dink Test Lab.  I had run across the idea for using #6 plastic to make homemade shrink plastic (aka ‘Shrinky Dinks’) at various places on the crafty webs, but I decided to delve a little deeper.  I started with a basic project (Doodle Charm Earrings), and that led to other questions.  What about coloring with other materials like colored pencils?  How do you seal your plastic afterwards so the marker doesn’t rub off?  And successes and failures in all this also led to interesting effects that could be achieved.

So flash forward to 2012.   Blogs are prettier and fancier now, and more professional looking.  We have Pinterest and Facebook and all kinds of visually focused sharing tools.  The technology is cooler now.  Dabbled gets a bunch more traffic than it did back then.  I ran across a really cute tutorial to make a shrinky bracelet and it made me look back  at  these old Shrinky Dink Test Lab posts and they just look so ….old.   Well, I’m not going to totally redo them or anything, but I did think that perhaps an index of them was in order, for better referencing in the future, and maybe some pretty graphics, too –in case you guys..um…I don’t know… wanna Pin this? ;)

Part 1: HOW TO- Doodle Charms – Jewelry from recycled plastic

This section is a good basic tutorial on how to make shrinky jewerly from old takeout containers, with just sharpies, scissors, a hole punch, and a bit of creativity.  Be sure to read the comments, there are extra tips there about how long to heat them, and whether there are issues with fumes, and some other good points.

Part 2: What would happen if..? (The Shrinky Dink Test Lab)

This section is the first of the experiments.  We cover several cool ideas, like drawing on the front and back of the plastic.  Also we tried several ways of sealing the charm, which produced different effects.  You could totally incorporate these effects into your design.  The comments include several good suggestions for other methods of sealing the shrinky.

Part 3: More experimentation in the Shrinky Dink Test Lab

The second day of odd experiments included what would happen if you sealed the shrinky PRIOR to shrinking, as well as a really neat effect using spraypaint.  We also shrink non-flat plastic (the side of a to-go box) and make a ring out of it.  And we combine several of the techniques to make a giant suncatcher, seeing just how big a shrinky we can make!  Finally, we use colored pencils, rather than Sharpies, to color our design.

Part 4 of the Shrinky Dink Test lab: Successful sealing.. maybe

This is the post where the commenters really come through.  Not only do we have the (mixed) results of my sealing using polyurethane, the commenter pipe up with a bunch of other solutions, and several do their own tests to really give us all the data.  If you’re interested in sealing, this is the post to read (including the comments).

Shrinky Dinkies – Special Edition : Make Wraparound Wine Glass Markers

This is not really part of the test lab, but was a fun project tutorial to make temporary wine glass markers.  Plus the idea of doing a shrinky making party with your friends!

Some Other Shrinky Projects:

PS: To the always fab Alice of Futuregirl , thanks for inspiring me to go back to look at my old stuff and clean it up for the future, with your “What I posted In” series!   
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29 Comment(s) »

  • Stacy [] :

    What am I doing wrong if the plastic curls up but doesn’t flatten out again?

  • Nancy [] :

    Where are you finding #6 plastic? Everything I’ve found is #1.

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Just look around — Look for plastic takeout boxes from restaurants, that’s a good source.

  • Dot [] (author) :

    Either your temp is too low, or the plastic is just not a good piece. Try with a different piece of plastic. and you can use a chopstick to try to keep it from curling up on itself.

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