Sealing Shrinky Dinks

I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve played around with shrinky dinks, but I am mildly obsessed right now. If you’ve never been introduced to this fun and magical craft, you’re missing out.

At the end of last school year I used shrinky dinks to make custom charm bracelets with my students. One problem I began noticing afterward was that the sharpie was not very resilient and was rubbing off my shrunken masterpieces. I turned to Google to solve this problem, read about several techniques, tried two of them and found success in one of them. Read on for a summary of what I learned.

I decided to try two techniques:

  1. Spraying the finished item with Acrylic Sealer
  2. Melting embossing powder over the finished item

These were the two products I used:

I made two sample shrinky dinks using a variety of colors of ultra fine sharpies.

Here they are before and after shrinking:

The first method I tried was the acrylic spray sealant. It did not go well. Many websites said to spray a very fine mist several inches above your piece to give it the gentlest first coating. I tried this, but I was not pleased with the results. It gave it a nice glossy coating, but it caused several of my colors to bleed:

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The second method I tried proved to be much more successful. I used clear embossing powder and followed this video tutorial. The tutorial said to use Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel, but that stuff comes in a huge bottle for like $12. I wasn’t ready to make that kind of commitment so I just got a small bottle of regular clear embossing powder. Here’s the result I got from that compared to the first technique:

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The embossing powder lead to much less bleeding of the colors and it gave the shrinky dinks a thicker glossy coating that I really liked. I decided this was the better technique and I tried it out on some more test subjects. Here’s the process in a little more detail:

Step 1: Cut out and color your shrink plastic

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I use a standard hole punch for the holes. When shrunk, this is the perfect size to slip your charms onto a jump ring or keychain.

Step 2: Shrink them!

 

 

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I have used two different methods to shrink plastic. One is to use a heat gun normally used for rubber stamp embossing. The other way is to put them in the oven at 350° on a piece of parchment paper. I have found that they come out flatter when you shrink them in the oven because the heat hits them evenly.  However, the heat gun is more convenient when there’s no oven handy.

Step 3: Seal with embossing powder

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I put the shrinky dink marker side up on a piece of parchment paper.
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Next I covered the whole surface with embossing powder and put it in the oven at 350°
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I left it in the oven until all the embossing powder had melted and turned clear. When I pulled it out of the oven it looked like a big gooey mess. To get rid of the extra goo, just put a toothpick through the hole and drag it around on the parchment paper till all the excess is left behind.

Step 4: Let cool

My lightbulb actually came out the worst of all my charms. For some reason it curled up slightly when it went back in the oven. My best guess is that it hadn’t fully shrunk on its first round in the oven.

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This one also ended up with a bubble in it somehow.

Another interesting thing demonstrated in this one is that the black sharpie ran a little bit. When you hold it up to the light you can see how the black bleeds purple:

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Here’s how the other charms came out:

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I tried to get this one from 2 angles so you can see the nice, thick glossy-ness:

Step 5: Add hardware

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Once your charms are cool you can add them to bracelets, earrings, necklaces, key chains, zipper pulls and more!

 

Here’s one last bonus shrinky dink that I made and sealed for my friend Autumn for her birthday today:

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She liked it!

Happy birthday, Life Partner 🙂  ❤

Check out Autumn’s birthday post on her blog,

But With the Mind!!

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