Creating DIY Shrinkable Art has been on my list of things I have wanted to try for quite a while now. I can’t believe I haven’t tried it sooner. I did not know what I was missing! I have seen the hand print Shrinky Dink videos floating around on Facebook, and those are adorable, but my daughter isn’t really satisfied with hand print art anymore. She wants to be more involved in an art project than just contributing a simple hand print. There are so many things you can draw, and shrink, the possibilities seem endless!
The best part about this project is that you don’t even need special supplies. All you need is plastic from take out containers, salad containers, or in our case, the top of a disposable casserole pan, a set of colorful Sharpies, an oven, and a cookie sheet, or aluminum foil.
I am a crafty, creative person, but I have a confession to make. I’m not the best artist when it comes to drawing more than extremely basic drawings. You don’t need to be an artist to create beautiful shrinkable art, you just have to be decent at tracing!
- #6 Plastic (We used disposable casserole dish lids)
- Colored Sharpies
- Single hole puncher
- Templates for tracing (optional). We love the templates on firstpalette.com
- Grab your plastic container, and cut off the edges. You want a flat sheet of plastic, so that you won’t have ruffled edges after you shrink your design. You can use any plastic container that has a six on it. Just look on the container for a small triangle, and you should see a number inside the triangle. If you see a six inside the triangle, you are good to go! I bought a few aluminum cake pans, with plastic lids at the Dollar tree. I’m sure I can use the bottom of these pans for future crafts. You can also use take out containers if you eat out a lot, or you can purchase take out containers on Amazon, or possibly even at your local grocery store.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, so it’s ready to go when you need it. You need to make sure your oven is fully preheated before you try to shrink your designs.
- Place your template under your sheet of plastic, and trace your picture with a black sharpie. I love using firstpalette.com for templates, they have such a great variety.
- Color in your designs. If your child is still a little wild with their coloring, you might want to cut out the designs first, so they don’t color all over all of the designs at one time.
- Retrace your black lines if necessary. My daughter got a little enthusiastic with her coloring, and ended up rubbing out some of the black lines with the colored Sharpies. On our first go round, I retraced the black lines, and on our second batch I didn’t bother. I like it better when you can clearly see all the black lines.
- Cut around your design. If you want to make a key chain,or a charm, then this is when you need to use a hole punch to punch a hole near the top of your design. I cut as close to the edges as possible on my designs, except around the hole punch area. Some people have warned about sharp edges, and they prefer to cut an oval, or a square around their design rather than cut on the lines. This part is up to you, we never really had any issues with our finished product, I just thought I would warn you.
- Place your designs on a cookie sheet, with a piece of parchment paper, wax paper or aluminum foil underneath them. Some people recommend making a tray out of aluminum foil, instead of using a cookie sheet pan, so the heat can get to the plastic more directly.
- Place your cookie sheet in the oven for 2-3 minutes. We did ours for about two minutes, and thirty seconds. This part is the fun part. We like to sit, and watch as the plastic curls up, and then starts to flatten back out.
- Carefully pull the pan out of the oven. You can use a spatula to flatten your designs if they are still a little curled around the edges. Look how little they shrank! P.S. The poor whale did not make it! It curled up, stuck together, and hardened before I could get it to straighten back out. Maybe the whale was too long, and skinny? I guess if I want a whale, I will have to cut it into a rectangle next time.
- Wait for your designs to cool off, and then they are done! You can place them on a key chain, use them as charms on a bracelet, or necklace, or attach a magnate to the back, and use them as refrigerator magnets!
The possibilities are endless with DIY shrinkable art! I love how cheap this project is, and how much fun it is watching the drawings shrink. I can remember making these as a kid, and I am so excited to share this activity with my daughter. Don’t forget to pin this activity for later, you will definitely want to add this to your list of things you want to do with your kids!