Introduction: Super Shinking Plastic!

Picture of Super Shinking Plastic!

Never buy that Shrinky Dink crap, you can make your own, for free!

Step 1: What to Have

Picture of What to Have

You will need:
Type 6 Plasic
A Sharpie
An Oven
Aluminum Foil
Cookie Sheet

Step 2: Cut the Plastic

Picture of Cut the Plastic

Cut out the shape that you want for your plastic. If you want to, add a smiley face, some hair, whatever.

Step 3: Preheat the Oven

Picture of Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4: Prepare the Rest of the Materials

Picture of Prepare the Rest of the Materials

While the oven is preheating, cover the front of your cookie sheet with aluminum foil, shiney side up! Place your plastic creation on it and get ready for the next step.

Step 5: Place the Sheet in the Oven.

Picture of Place the Sheet in the Oven.

When the oven is finished preheating, place the cookie sheet in. Watch your plastic as it curls and "crumples" up. After the plastic has curled and flattened back out, take it out. The plastic will have shrunken!

Step 6: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Enjoy making your own shrunken plastic!


stella.cordero99 (author)2017-03-14

What if there is just the "PS" on my plastic without the number? Does it work anyway?

PallaviK9 (author)2016-05-24

hi, i dont have an over, tried it in the microwave but the plastic burnt. can anybody suggest the instructions for microwave

musicalducky (author)PallaviK92016-08-30

It won't work in a microwave because of the way a microwave works.
The oven works by heating the whole inside of the oven to an even temperature, which will heat all the components of the plastic relatively evenly and cause it to revert to its original shape (shrink) before it was heat formed the first time.
Microwaves work by causing the water molecules to gain energy essentially. It doesn't heat it evenly and won't cause the plastic to shrink at all.

worldstrad (author)2015-04-02

how can I make something with a hole for a key ring? hole punch? will that whole still be there?

AliceR2 (author)worldstrad2015-06-08

You have to do it beforehand or you run the risk of cracking the plastic. But I've found a hole punch is perfect!

Sarah in Brooklyn (author)2006-10-12

Shrinky Dinks are not 'crap'! They are great -- you can draw on them with color pencils or markers; anyone have any luck with anything other than a Sharpie on No. 6 plastic?

Iz D. (author)Sarah in Brooklyn2012-07-05

you can sand it in two directions to make colored pencil stay.

Yeah, markers. Just like you said. Or a pen, or even paint. Possibilities are endless. Why pay?

Shrinky Dinks are crap 'cuz they cost like $5 a sheet when you can find your own plastic in your recycling bin!

gtoal (author)2012-05-23

Would this work for making very small pinholes? What would be a good source of dark opaque plastic? Perhaps a coffee-cup lid?

Thanks, G.

KwartzKitten (author)2012-05-13

This is a great suggestion! I only buy pricey shrinky dinks for the frosted ruff 'n' ready. Unfortunately nothing else takes colored pencil quite as well.

rickharris (author)2006-10-04

Type 6 is Polystyrene eg. Yoghurt pots, foam meat or fish trays, hamburger boxes and egg cartons, vending cups, plastic cutlery, protective packaging for electronic goods and toys. Lots of products use this including crisp (Chip) packets etc as above.

Bad Donut (author)rickharris2007-03-10

Even though that has the type 6 sign on it, it isnt type 6 plastic. What youre talking about it type 6 styrofoam which will burn in the oven if cooked.

rickharris (author)Bad Donut2007-03-18

tyro foam is correctly Foamed Polystyrene so the base material is the same - Type 6 plastic - But in this case without the foaming agent. Yes Foam will just melt.

We used to make cowboy hats for the cats out of beaded polystyrene coffee cups. Most attempts resulted in amorphous blobs, but occasionally, an adorable little white Stetson emerged from the oven. Then we went a little odd from the vapours. You can also shrink mylar chip bags (crisps for U.K. ites) in the microwave. Preferably a microwave you have little regard for. Needless to say, both of these endeavors require careful monitoring.

*snicker* I think you were already a little odd from the vapors. Did the cats agree?

abfab (author)Bad Donut2008-07-29


mg0930mg (author)abfab2009-01-20

That wasn't negative.

rickharris (author)abfab2008-07-29

I am not sure if you are referring to me / my post - Either way I guess by some standards I am an "expert" as my degree is in Design Technology leaning heavily on plastics.

"Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)
Common uses: packaging pellets or "Styrofoam peanuts," cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, to-go "clam shell" containers. Many shipping/packaging stores will accept polystyrene peanuts and other packaging materials for reuse. Cups, meat trays, and other containers that have come in contact with food are more difficult to recycle. If you have large quantities call the Eco-Desk Hotline at 707-565-3375. "

From recycling plastics

Foamed Polystyrene is NOT suitable for heat shrinking AND will give off noxious fumes including Dioxins and Cyanide gas at relatively low temperatures.

My comments such as they are are not negative but intended to be informative and highlight safety concerns as were yours - I guess - HOWEVER it is true that a whole range of Thermoplastics can and do possess the "plastic memory" feature and will try to shrink when heated - the reasons for this are several. For the most part PROVIDED adequate ventilation is maintained - The temperature is controlled and monitored - the end user understands what they are doing and is responsible this is a fun and interesting thing to do.

Shrinky Dink do not have the monopoly on thermoplastics.

Lemon (author)rickharris2007-03-11

I thought egg cartons were made out of, like cardboard or something... they don't look plastic. But I may be wrong.

Shadowfury (author)Lemon2009-01-23

Most egg cartons are made of recycled paper. The foam egg cartons are foamed Polystyrene, and are not suitable for shrinking. The clear plastic ones are usually injection molded Polystyrene, and are suitable for shrinking, so long as they have the number 6 with the chasing arrows somewhere on them.

trebuchet03 (author)rickharris2006-10-05

mmmm... foam meats :D

Wynd (author)2011-08-15

I've noticed that Slurpee cups (the plastic ones, obviously) are #6 plastic.

PackRat4448 (author)2007-02-22

i would also like to know what some good sources for #6 plastic are?

Bad Donut (author)PackRat44482007-03-10

You can usually find them in your recycling bin (If you have one). Type six plasic comes from plasic disposable cups, plastic lids (but usually their type 1), and anything that has the little 6 symbol on it. Here is all of the regular plastic symbols, though i have seen type 80 plastic (no joke).

craftyv (author)Bad Donut2010-06-01

HELP. I have looked throughout the house and fridge and cannot find Number 6 plastic. Most packages  are 2 or 4.

zachninme (author)Bad Donut2007-04-25

Some scotch tape dispenser type things are type 6. I've never tried shinking it, will someone try?

How do you think they make those mini tape dispensers?

Plastic injection molding. High-Chromium stainless steel mold. Pretty simple.


That Hurt This Time (author)2007-04-07

you can do this with those crap credit cards you get in the mail. It shrinks a lot faster too.

woah!! can I make miniature credit cards? my kids would have a ball with those w/their dolls and such

I guess so. I tried it and it melted through the grate in the oven. Hehe.

haha too many spam offers? lol I called and opted out of prescreened credit offers for five years...maybe I could do this with gift cards or something

ginger snaps (author)2009-03-21

would it work if you use a small toaster oven

woosang (author)2008-11-21

I like this for making earrings. :) Thanks for the info about the No6 plastic!

lotusduck (author)2008-10-29

This. Is awesome. Where I live we can only recycle numbers 1-3, so it's totally great to have a use for number 6.

extremegtafan (author)2008-10-17

All your stupid brand nonsense is also an opinion. Seriously, what's up with the brand? Only 10 bucks? For only $10, I can do a heck of a lot because I don't waste my money on brand name garbage that's usually worse than the no-name stuff! I pay for product, not pretty lookin' boxes. And yes Instructables is a place you make your own stuff, not advertise some company. And maybe I want another brand of plastic! HUH?! IS THAT A CRIME!!!

korbin321 (author)2008-09-13

may i ask what is your problem abfab to defend shrinky dink company so much.

Bad Donut (author)2008-09-13

sorry mr. corporation, type 6 plastic gives doesn't give off any fumes and is just as flammable as shrinky dinks. right, only $5 to $10 a sheet? you can find type 6 plastic in your recycling bin for something called free. just like korbin321 said, instrucatbles is about making something yourself and the pride you feel afterward. hence i'm marking your posts as spam. anyone else who believes in instructables will do the same

korbin321 (author)2008-09-12

shut up abfab these instructables are about doing things your self and haveing that pride when its a success so i think i speak for everyone when i say shut up!

camel flag (author)2008-07-11

what about the fumes?

noornisaik (author)2008-06-23

very nice ... must try this. "Cheap", "recycled" and "easy" are my criteria for a great instructables ... and yours is perfect. (author)2008-03-22

This is more than one answer: Civilized?? Isn't England the place where ppl beat each other into a stupor over a bad soccer game? Admit it, they tax you to death, and if you had the extra $$, you'd all have as many guns and be as wild as we are! ; ) Have to say though, Scottish and Irish accents are VERY sexy. Part of the UK too, right? English is fun to listen to. Like Southern is here. P.S. We have all 3 types of the egg carton too. Cardboard / paper is most common. I've been saving clear plastic packaging from memory cards, cell phones, batteries, toys, make up, etc. Anything that has enough extra (usually flat on the back) to be a large enough area to use for this. KEYCHAINS! That's what this is for!

Bad Donut (author)2008-03-16

well, glad to help then

lemonie (author)2007-01-23

I have occasionaly wondered what the point of these things was, and I still don't have an answer...

SlothOnSpeed (author)lemonie2007-11-09

It is possible to make jewelry and little trinkets with amazing detail. It's a lot easier to make a jewelry component (why I use shrink plastic) much larger than it needs to be. I use rubber stamps or draw on the plastic and add as much color or detail as I choose. I shrink the item to the size I need and none of the detail is lost. There is no way I could draw images on a bit of plastic that tiny, but by using the shrinking technique I can add detailed and colorful components to my jewelry designs.

Miss World (author)2007-10-30

this is great, thank you :D

Kaiven (author)2007-10-24

sweet. I'm going to cut he plastic, my sister will draw the miley face :D

plasticmoth (author)2007-08-14

My research tells me that shrinking plastic no. 6 makes the end product roughly seven times smaller and seven times thicker. So don't fret, fussy ones -- you can safely calculate end-size from now on!

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