Easy Pet ID Tags




About: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and likes to be in the centre of things, so you will see him in several of my instr...

I remember being able to buy pet identification tag kits which used shrink art shapes that you write your pets information on and shrink in the oven.   I haven't been able to find them anymore so I grabbed some polystyrene plastic (#6), scissors,  felt markers and made my own ID tags.

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Step 1: What You Will Need:

  • Polystyrene plastic (#6 plastic or PS )* -it is the clear plastic often used in takeout containers (not the foam).
  • Metal hoop to attach tag to collar
  • Parchment paper
  • Coloured markers and a black fine tip marker
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Ruler
  • Toaster oven and oven mitts
*If you have trouble finding PS plastic you can just buy shrink art sheets (Shrinky Dinks) from craft stores.

Step 2: Determine Shrinkage

One important thing to know when using polystyrene is that the different plastic containers do not always shrink to the same degree. Before you start cutting out the shape for your ID tag you will need to determine the amount of shrinkage. (I have also noticed that the length and width can shrink differently causing your final product to look skewed so it is a good idea to do a test run first.)

To determine the amount of shrinkage cut a small piece of the plastic, measure it (length and width), shrink it in oven (see Step 3) and then measure the end product. 

Step 3: Shrinking the Polystyrene in the Oven

  • Put the plastic onto a piece of parchment paper and place into a toaster oven (use with good ventilation -eg. with kitchen fan on, open a window).
  • Set the oven to 250 F (121C), and watch, first the plastic starts to curl, then it uncurls, then it shrinks .
  • The time it takes can vary, but once it uncurls and stops doing anything interesting, it is done.
  • With an oven mitt take out the parchment paper, if the plastic is still a bit curled, place something heavy on top, such as a phone book to straighten it out before it cools.

Step 4: Preparing the Tag

Once you have determined the size of the plastic that you will need, cut it out.  I cut a basic rectangle shape with rounded edges, but you can try different shapes such as circles, hearts, a dog bone, fish, fire hydrants etc, as long as there is enough room to write the information on.

If you are using clear plastic it is a good idea to sand the plastic so it becomes opaque making it easier to read the information.  A medium grit will do and sand evenly over the whole surface.  If you are buying shrink art sheets you can get opaque ones (and in different colours too).

Punch hole
I just use a standard hole punch to make a hole in the top middle of the tag, double check with the measurements in step 2 that the hole will be large enough after it has shrunk to place the hoop through.

Step 5: Add Colour, Name, Contact Information, and Decorate

Colour background
On a couple of the tags that I experimented with I coloured the background, this looks really nice and stands out when placed on a white (and ginger) cat, but upon shrinking the colour darkens considerably making the writing more difficult to read.  So I would recommend using lighter colours or leaving it white.

Name and contact information
The information you put on the tag is discretionary, the important thing is that someone will be able to contact you if they find your pet.  The pet's name and your phone number(s) are probably the most important,  you can also put on your address, and the pets medical information (if relevant) or even your own name. Write clearly and use a fine tipped marker  to ensure that the information is legible after it has shrunk. 

Add embellishment if you would like.  I drew hearts and flowers, fish or dog bones would be cute too (if your into cute).

Step 6: Shrink the ID Tag,

Once you have finished adding all the information and decorating your tag you can shrink it using the instructions in step 3.  Larger pieces tend to curl a bit more so when it comes out of the oven place it between the pages of a heavy book to flatten it out. 

Once it has cooled place the hoop through the hole and put it on your pet's collar.

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    24 Discussions


    Tip 1 year ago on Step 6

    Quick tip: Write your own name on the tag instead of your pet's. This prevents potential petnappers from being able to call your pet to them by their names.


    2 years ago

    Woo! I love this! I made tags for 3 of my dogs this weekend and they turned out so cute! I never would have thought of this. Glad you are so creative and shared.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very clever! I will have to make this for my pet now!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! I should have seen this instructable before I placed yet another order for id tags. My cats have lost 4 tags already and they weren't cheap. Shrinky dink tags sound more fun to make any day. Thank you for sharing!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I definitely need to try this. Our dog list his and I don't want to have to go to the pet store just to get one and spend the all the money!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Exactly what I was looking for, thank you!


    Loved your ibble it brought back many memories. I remember doing these in school as part of a design project, years later myself & group of friends studying art made them to order as part of a college charity drive, I couldn't belive some of the things people asked for but there were very few we could not make. They are great fun & an excellent way of keeping the kids amused on a rainy day, so much better than watching tv or playing on computers (I was so proud when they were growing up that my boys were among the few these days who actually read books). So glad you reminded me of them I have a whole basket of keys needing tags. :-)

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I do this for my naughty cat who loses tags! I sand the plastic and use coloured pencils then coat with a clear nail polish to seal. I did find the kits in the pet store but didn't want to pay $6 when I could buy a whole packet of shrinky-plastic at the craft store for the same price... Great instructable and cute kitty!

    1 reply

    Oo very nice. I am so saving this for when I'm getting a new kitty or kitties.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, good timing my cat lost her collar the 3 time last week so I might give this a try and make a few adress tags for her :-)