tutorial for shrinky dink pins

I got the shrinky urge the other day and made some more shrinky dink pins. I took photos so I could write up a little tutorial. I’m no shrink plastic expert but here’s what I know. Also I’d love to start a shrinky dink pin gallery like the wee gallery. I know I’ve seen some really really cute pins out there. If you’ve seen some or have some you’d like to add please email me (hillarylang at gmail) and if there’s enough interest I’ll set up a gallery. And if anyone has any other tips or info to add that’d be great! Please leave us a comment.

1. get some shrink plastic. I bought a Rose Art shrinky dink kit at the Hobby Lobby. You can get shrink plastic at most craft stores, Michaels, Ben Franklin, etc. I know there are different kinds like this kind that you can send through your printer. That looks very cool! Mine is old school, just for drawing on.

2. draw your pictures. I put the tape measure in there for scale. 3/4" seems to be a good average size to start with. I use colored pencils and sharpie fine tip markers. I tried my Sakura pens again but this time realized that they smudge very easily. I had no smudging problems with the sharpies. I drew little faces with the markers and then colored them in with my colored pencils. (just regular old everyday colored pencils) Oh, and color on the rough, not smooth, side of the plastic!

3. cut them out. You can cut right along the drawings or leave a background, the shrinky plastic ends up an opaque milky white.

4. stick em. I’ve been using Iris Swiss Super Fine 1 1/4" pins that I found in my sewing box. Any pin with a flat head would work fine I’d imagine. Stick the pin through so that the smooth side is on top of the pinhead. That way when you place them upside down on the pinhead in the oven the rough side will be up.

5. cook. I’ve been following the instructions on my kit: "Preheat oven to 325 F (163 C). Put your creation onto a non-stick cookie sheet with the colored side up. Place in oven and WATCH the baking process. It takes 1-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the cookie sheet. Piece will curl and then flatten out. Bake another 30 seconds then remove. Let cookie tray and art cool for 3 minutes before touching." Mine always take just under 2 minutes. The pins go in standing upright and then come out on their sides. If I cook them too long my pins start to melt/curve. I do a few at a time instead of all of them in case I screw up a batch.

Oh, and I think since this is a craft of the 70s that it helps to do this project in a 70s kitchen like our brown and orange one.

6. all done. about 1/4" now.

7. stick them in your favorite pincushion and admire their cuteness! (this beautiful pincushion was part of my back-tack package)

50 thoughts on “tutorial for shrinky dink pins

  1. sunni says:

    Please set up a gallery! :) I have been wanting to make these since you first posted about them months ago and funny story – I actually found some random place online to order shrink paper from and placed an order with some printable fabric sheets too and it never came! So since that I’ve been discouraged to go out and buy shrink plastic but I still have the urge to make cute pins so now I think I will.

  2. Leslie says:

    Thanks for the step-by-step demo. I tried some shrinky stuff a few years ago but was disappointed with the lack of color I was able to get from my colored pencils. The Sharpies are a great idea!

  3. jenny says:

    I have been making shrinky dinks of my four year old’s drawings. Its so much fun… I will have to email you a picture.
    Now I want to try to make some pins!

  4. dawn says:

    oh Hillary, they are perfect. Thanks so much for all the work you’ve gone to in putting together the tutorial. (I realize now I probably wasn’t much help with your question, so sorry!)

  5. Sandra says:

    Hi Hillary,
    Thanks a lot for posting this! I bought some shrink plastic about 3 weeks ago, and have been wondering what I should do with it. I’ve been trying to get my 6 year old boy interested in it, but he has the attention span of a gnat… I’ll let you know if we make anything! :o)

  6. June Tan says:

    Thanks so much for sharing, Hillary, this afternoon, I’ll go out to buy some of this paper. It’s Teachers’ Day tomorrow, in Singapore, so I’m going to reward myself with this task! = )

  7. Som says:

    I made a few of these after you posted pics the first time, and it took me a while to find Shrinky Dinks. The Michael’s stores around here only stock them during the Christmas shopping season, but Hobby Lobby carries them year-round.

  8. jess says:

    Thanks! I just bought some the other day to try to make some pins… and now I have the instructions!
    Your pussycats are v. cute.

  9. Leigh-Anne says:

    thanks so much for the helpful hints, I gotta say that’s basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen

  10. kelly says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial, and those kitties are adorable! I can say that I used the inkjet sheets, and they were much more tempermental in the oven – they never flattened out. I had to use a heat gun and manually flatten mine with a spoon – a challenge to hold the heat gun and flatten them without getting burnt!

  11. susanne says:

    thanks for the tips! i’m so paranoid about melting plastic i haven’t done it yet even though i’ve had the shrink plastic for months now. i’m definitely going to try to buy a used toaster oven this weekend!

  12. kelly says:

    a word of warning on using printers:
    Inkjet printers use water-soluble ink, which smears just like water-soluble pens would. The inkjet shrinkies I bought (Grafix brand) say that you have to top-coat the shrink film with clear fixative spray when you’re done, if you want them to be smudge-proof. You also need to make your design very, very light when you print it, because as it shrinks all those tiny dots of dark red that make pink or red will shrink together and make… dark red. Ditto for the dark cyan and the dark yellow and the black.
    My recommendation is to forget all that and go for the sharpies. If you really feel like you’re not good at drawing, print something out and then put the sheet of shrinkies on top and use your Sharpie markers to trace it. You KNOW you needed an excuse to buy that 17-color rainbow of Sharpies, right? Even the more-expensive inkjet shrinkies work great with Sharpies.

  13. amy k. says:

    thanks so much for doing this. i have been meaning to try it but realy needed something like this to get started, cause, you know, I was lazy and didn’t want to figure any of it out.ha!

  14. kelly says:

    forgot to say in my earlier comment that your shrinky pins are adorable – and they inspired me (and my 4-y-o daughter) to make our own pins. We used white shrinkies, which was fun – but I think I like your clear ones pinned upside-down even better. 😉

  15. carly says:

    I am so in on making some more shrinky dink pins… I was inspired by you the first time and now again… i have the paper sitting there… and new illustration ideas… yah!

  16. Barb says:

    Great idea, Hillary, and thanks for the tutorial. My tip is to finely sand the plastic, then your colored pencils will take. I got that off Aleene’s Creative Living show, when it used to be on tv. For a different project, I copied photos in Disney books, colored in with pencil, cut then out, shrunk them, then glued them all around a frame. Turned out adorable!

  17. Melanee says:

    I made these last night and had to let you know that I love the idea and the tutorial was very helpful. I also made some cool keychains and mixed them with old 50s and 60s charms. I’ll post the pics soon on my site. I linked you today! Thanks so much!

  18. Heather says:

    I made your fabulous pins and have a tip for you! You can use a heat tool (like the ones those scrapbookers use for embossing) to heat the shrinky dinks. I just poked mine into some foam core board, turned on the heat tool and voila! No melted pins and immediate gratification. I did a family of pins — mom, dad, brother, sister. Don’t have a blog or website yet, but when I do, I’ll drop in a photo. Thanks for the inspiration.

  19. Debi DiVenti says:

    My Girl Scouts use rubber stamps to put their chosen theme on their shrinky dinks. Just use a regular ink pad and then colored pencils. I took a set of coasters that have cork on the bottom to give each girl their own easel. They straight pin it to the cork and then use a heat gun (embossing tool). Quick and easy.

  20. madmommy says:

    When I was very young (6 or 7 yrs old) my dad was an accountant for the toy company that distributed the original Shrinky Dinks to toy stores like K.B. Toys. I had LOADS of them. I’m so thrilled to see them making a reappearnce, and I love this idea, thanks for the tutorial!

  21. Jo says:

    This looks great. My grandchild want’s to make pins but I have not been able to find any shrink plastic anywhere, I live in Australia (Melbourne)
    Help please.

  22. bernadette says:

    I am thinking it might work to use two identical pieces of plastic – one laid face-up on top, and one face-down laid under pin top (pin not poked through either layer). Hopefully,this would result in a thicker head with the pin embedded in-line with the head. But….I have not actually tried this. HaHa

  23. paula says:

    Love the shrinky faces..am interested in where you puchase the products do they sell it in Australia? I live in Melbourne

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