Seasons Greetings LIFEers! We ended our 2011 year of LIFE with a fun class making holiday ornaments the old fashioned way - with Shrinky Dinks! Librarians Tracy Williams and Rose Botkin reminded us of childhood fun, 1980s style, by bringing back the shrinky dink - an image you can color on special plastic sheets which you then bake in the oven.
You can buy Shrinky Dink kits at toy stores or craft stores, or you can buy just the plastic sheets at craft stores like Hobby Lobby. First, draw your source image on a blank sheet of paper, or you can use a ready-made image (like we did in class). Place the sheet of plastic over the source image, and trace it onto the plastic with permanent markers. Color and draw to your heart's content. When you are finished, cut out the plastic image. Don't try to cut out the image precicely, it is better to cut items out in an oval or circular shape since pointy parts will be sharp and might fold over on themselves when they bake. Be sure to leave a large space big enough for a hole punch, if this is to be an ornament or necklace. Next, line a cookie sheet with tin foil or thick paper (grocery bag thickness), and bake the cut-outs at 325°. They are done when they've shrunk and are laying flat. Keep an eye on the cut-outs while they bake so they don't curl up on themselves.
Tip 1: Make your source image big; they aren't called "shrinky" dinks for nothin'. After baking, the final image reduces down by at least half.
Tip 2: Markers on the plastic sheets makes for a glossy, stained-glass like finish. To get a matte finish, rub the plastic sheets lightly with sandpaper before coloring.
Have a safe and happy holiday. We'll see you next year!