I remember Shrinky Dinks from when I was a child. I loved coloring the templates and watching them shrink before my eyes. It was very exciting to see.
While looking through Pinterest, a craft came up using Shrinky Dink paper. I instantly went back to my childhood and knew I wanted to make something with my own children.
The craft happens to be a handprint key chain craft, and if anyone knows me, they know that I love making handprint and footprint crafts. Your children are only little once, and it goes so fast. I love the idea of capturing their tiny hands while I can. I knew this was something that I needed to try.
What is Shrinky Dink Paper?
Shrinky Dinky paper is a clear paper made out of polystyrene. Polystyrene paper can be cut using household scissors. When the paper is heated, it will shrink to 1/3 of its original size and become thicker. The paper will retain its shape and color.
History of Shrinky Dinks
Shrinky Dinks were first invented in 1973 by Betty Morris and Kate Bloomberg, two housewives from Wisconsin. They created it during a project with their sons.
Shrinky Dinks became popular in the ’80s and was licensed and manufactured by big toy companies such as Milton Bradley.
How do you make Shrinky Dink Art?
There are different ways to create Shrinky Dink Art. You can purchase Shrinky Dink craft kits where children can color in the pre-made designs or purchase the blank sheets to create their own designs.
Children can use acrylic paints, stamp pads, permanent markers such as sharpies, or felt tips pens to create their designs. Using oily crayons or oil paints to create designs is not recommended as they can burn while heating.
Once a child has finished creating their artwork, you can cut it around the image. Once the image is cut out, place it on a cookie baking sheet and into the preheated oven. Oven heat will depend on the brand of paper you purchase; most will say 375.
I recommend leaving the oven light on so children can watch the shrinking process. It only takes about 2-3 minutes and is fun to watch.
Shrinky Dink Handprint Key Chain Craft
I made this craft that I saw originally on Pinterest with my children, ages 2 and 6. They loved every part of it.
Clear Shrinky Dink Sheets
Multi-colored Stamp Pad big enough to fit a child’s hand. You can also use a single-color stamp pad.
Optional Embossing Powder or glitter
Pre-Heat oven as directed on the package. Most will require the oven to be set at 350.
Alert: This craft requires adult assistance. Children should not use the oven unsupervised.
Step 1: The first thing you will do is stamp your child’s hand onto the stamp pad and stamp the Shrinky Dink paper. After trying this several times, I found that a quick push-down and pull-up work best. If you mess up, don’t worry, you can wipe it clean with a paper towel. I messed up several handprints.
Also, the colors will darken after you bake them. My child’s handprint looked very light on the paper before I bake it.
Step 2: I decided to write my child’s name next to the handprint with a sharpie and write their age. Sharpies work well on the Shrinky Dink paper. Feel free to write whatever you want. May a sweet message to a loved one.
Step 3: This step is optional. You can sprinkle some embossing powder or glitter over your design. Just use it a little bit.
Step 4: Cut out your design. Leave room for the hole punch. After you cut out your design, punch a hole on the top or side using your hold puncher.
Step 5: Time to bake! This is the best part. Place your designs on a baking sheet and put them in the oven. Keep the oven light on and have the children watch as their designs shrink right before their eyes. The shrinking takes about 1-3 minutes. Designs will be hot when you remove them from the oven; please let them cool for a couple of minutes.
You can cover your design with parchment paper to help minimize curing. If your design curls, flatten it with a spatula quickly after taking it out of the oven.
It is recommended that you cover your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Recommended Shrinky Dink Paper
My children enjoyed making their Shrinky Dink Handprints so much that I had to purchase another pack of paper.
When I did my project, I used Grafix clear Shrink Film. I highly recommend it.
This pack of Grafix Shrink Film comes with 50 sheets of shrink film. Fifty sheets will last a very long time, even with regular use. I cut each piece into four pieces, then give them to my children.
Shrink Film is 8.5 x 11 in size and ready to use.
If you prefer a craft kit, try
This craft kit comes with ten pre-made designs that children can decorate and bake.
The designs include:
Sea creatures such as mermaids, dolphins, fish, and more.
The craft kit also comes with eight colored pencils
10 stands to stand up your artwork after it’s baked.
You can also try:
Shrinky Dinks Jewelry Kit
This craft kit comes with 68 pieces
42 Shrinky Dink designs
Eight colored pencils
Four hoops to make earrings
Two barrettes to make hair clips
Elastic string to make bracelets and necklaces
Ten adhesive dots (for gluing)