Homemade Shrinky Dinks from Recycled Plastic

by Alissa Marquess on January 31, 2012

Beware- if you read this you will start compulsively checking plastic containers to see if they can be made into homemade shrinky dinks! This is what happened to me when I first read about homemade shrinky dinks. The poster said to use number 6 plastic, and it turn out that’s a little bit hard to come by.

The other day I found a cracker container with a number 6 on it. My first #6 find!  I wondered- could I make homemade shrinky dinks with rippled plastic??

homemade shrinky dinks from recycled #6 plastic

I started experimenting- sometimes it’s worth it to spend a little time experimenting before getting the kids involved.  I rifled through my recycle bin and grabbed a few other containers just in case they would work.   Soon I had determined:

  • Number 1 plastic shrinks a little, but not much and also sometimes just turns white and curls – it’s not a good material for DIY shrinky dinks.
  • I read that foam is #6 plastic so I gave this a try with craft foam- sure enough, it shrinks like mad too. It does not, however get stiff.
  • Meat trays from the deli, are number 6 as well – and they seem to be thick enough to make a shrinky dink.
  • The #6 plastic with the ridges has a pretty neat effect when made into a shrinky dink. I like that it adds a texture to the little beads.

Here’s how we made homemade shrinky dinks:

We cut out squares and heart shapes from the plastic container to decorate.  Each piece we hole punched, and then colored with permanent marker before shrinking in the oven.

homemade shrinky dinks collage image

For more detailed instructions:

Please see the post where I orginally found out about this idea: DIY Shrinky Dinks

Tips 1 homemade shrinky dinks imageTips 2 homemade shrinky dinks image

We put them in the oven at about 350ºF. I put them on a baking tray on parchment paper, but you could make a tray out of tin foil too.

After about a minute- oh no! They’re curling!

After about two minutes (maybe three?)- they uncurl, and that’s it, they won’t shrink any more.

I was worried about the fumes, and I did turn on the hood, but I didn’t really smell bad. In fact I think I got more fumes from the permanent markers than from the plastic.

creating homemade shrinky dinks image

I discovered that it’s not too expensive to just buy a Shrinky Dinky kit: Make Your Own Shrinky Dinks, but as for me, now I’m on the look out for more plastic I can recycle into my homemade shrinky dinks!

This craft is featured in the heart project.  Find out how to get your copy of this gorgeous crafts book, which is raising funds for an important cause [here]

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