Holy smokes! Summer is here, the kids are home and you need activities to keep them busy that won’t cost an arm and leg. Well, no worries because I’ve teamed up with a few of our blogging friends to bring you fun summer activities for children of all ages! From June 4th through June 8th, we’ll be sharing 3 new summer project ideas each day. Our goal is to not only survive the summer break, but help provide some enriching activities to keep the boredom at bay! There’s a list of fabulous ideas that at the bottom of this post and I’m sure you’ll find something fun for the kids to do. But first, enjoy the tutorial I am sharing for how to make Tropical Shrinky Dinks Charms and Pins that’s a great craft for both young kids AND teens.
Tropical Shinky Dinks Charms and Pins
First, I have to warn you that this is a VERY ADDICTIVE craft. This is the first time my kids have played with Shrinky Dinks and they loved it! In fact, they were so intrigued by Shrinky Dinks that my college aged daughter and my teen son both got involved in making their own versions of Shrinky Dinks charms. Now, that’s saying a lot, considering my oldest daughter isn’t the crafting type and my son is, well…a teen aged boy who loves his computer.
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- Shrinky Dinks plastic (I used Frosted Ruff N’ Ready) or recycle plastic from take out containers with the number ‘6’ in the arrow triangle.
- Permanent Coloring pens or coloring pencils
- Detail scissors
- Baking sheet or baking pan
- Parchment paper
- drawing/printer paper
- pencil or pen
- Hole punch
- 6mm or 8mm Jump rings (for hanging charms)
- Chain, necklace, bracelet, or key ring (for hanging charms)
- Earring backing or pin backing
- Glue (to make earrings or pins)
- Clear spray acrylic sealer (optional)
- Pliers (optional)
- Eraser (optional)
- PicMonkey (optional)
How to Make Tropical Shrinky Dinks Charms
Creating the Image
Images for the Shrinky Dink charms can be free-hand drawn or traced using images found on the internet. I created two printable tropical images sheets using PicMonkey images that I sized to make charms and earrings.
To test if the images will shrink to the size you want, draw out one image on the Shrinky Dinks plastic and bake it to test the final size. If you feel they are still not the right size, you can adjust the print size to make them smaller/bigger or create your own sheet in PicMonkey.
Tracing the Image
Once you have the image you like, place the Shrink Dinks plastic over it with the shiny side up and trace the outline of the image.
If you make a mistake with permament pen on the shiny side, don’t fear. Grab an eraser and gently erase the outline and retrace. This doesn’t work as well on the frosted side, so get the plain clear Shrinky Dinks plastic if working with young kids so they can erase any mistakes.
TIP 1: When tracing the image, do it on the smooth side of the Shrinky Dinks plastic and color in the the rough side or opposite side. This will prevent smudging or ‘bleeding’ of the outline.
Tip 2: If using text, make sure to reverse the text if writing on the frosted/colored side and you want it readable on the shiny side. If writing on the shiny side, leave the text as-is.
Coloring the Image
When the outline is completed, flip the tracing over to the frosted side and color inside the outline.
TIP 3: The colors will intensify as the plastic shrinks. So, a light pink will become a darker pink color. Also, if you want to show contrast or highlighting, do not use similar colors next to each other as it will not show when it shrinks. For example, do not use blue and black next to each other as the blue will look black when shrunk.
TIP 4: Permanent pens, color pencils, acrylic paint, and paint pens can be used. We only tried two methods: permanent pens and color pencils. Permanent pens gave a more translucent color and color pencils gave a more opaque color. Use a combination of pens and pencils for added interest.
Skip this step for earrings and pins. I forgot to take picture of punching holes, but I basically took a regular hold puncher and made holes next to the image for charms.
Cutting Shrinky Dinks Plastic
Use a small detail scissors to cut around the image (cut around the hole punch too for charms), leaving a minimum 1/8″ edge. Try not to pivot around tight corners, but rather cut in towards the angle to prevent the plastic from splitting. Also, if there are lots of small cuts, it’s best to cut straight across them (see hula girl skirt in image below).
Tip 5: Use small detail scissors to cut the plastic as it can maneuver curves easier than large scissors. Also, try not to close to the image or cut the plastic with the tip of the scissors as it can cause the plastic to split. Use the inside or back end of the scissors to do the cutting.
Tip 6: It’s best to cut around details than try to make detailed cuts. Trying to make small sharp detailed cuts can cause the Shrinky Dinks plastic to split into the design/drawing and that’s no good.
Baking Shrinky Dinks Plastic
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet or baking pan with parchment paper to help prevent the Shrinky Dinks plastic from sticking to it. Place the tropical Shrinky dinks charms onto the parchment paper with the colored side up and bake.
This is the best part! The Shrinky dinks charms will curl and you’ll freak out, but it will eventually flatten out. It takes about 2-3 minutes to bake. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the charms cool, about 1-2 minutes.
Optional – spray the charms with clear acrylic sealer (gloss to keep it shiny or matte for a flat look). Let dry and repeat with the other side. If you don’t put a sealer, the color on the shiny side can be scratched off if repeatedly rubbed against rough surfaces.
Tip 7: If the pieces aren’t completely flat, you can take a piece of smooth paper and gently press on it to help flatten it when removed from the oven. Do not use anything textured or hard as this will leave an imprint on the soft plastic surface (I learned the hard way). Personally, I think it’s best to leave the piece alone as any little texture will show up on the piece when it’s still soft and can ruin it.
Tip 8: The instructions states that if a piece sticks to itself you can pull it apart with oven mitts. While you can pull it apart, it does leave a crease mark in the piece. So it’s best not to make super large images as the larger ones tend to curl up on itself.
Tropical Shrinky Dinks Charms, Pins, and Earrings
For charms, add a jump ring through the hole on the charm and attach it to a bracelet, necklace, key ring, or whatever you want to add a charm to.
To make earrings and pins, use a clear strong adhesive to glue the pin/earring posts to the back of the Shrinky Dinks charm. I used Aleene’s The Ultimate Multi-Surface Adhesive to attach the backings and it works like a charm.
Overall, Shrinky Dink charms and pins are something that I can see us making for a long time. They make a great activity for all ages and let kids express and capture their creativity in a fun way.