Make Your Own Shrinky Plastic!




Admit it, as a kid you loved the excitement of coloring on plastic and sticking it in the oven. The way it rippled and wiggled under the heat, and turned into something was--and still is--a bit of a rush. But who has time to track down a craft store that sells the real (expensive) stuff, or worse, wait for your online order to arrive? Well, head on over to your recycling bin and get started today!

What you are looking for is any plastic with the recycling number 6. These are often clear take-out containers from your local sandwich shop, but could even be your favorite and mine: the Solo cup.

Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

The basics for making your own shrinky dinks are:

  1. A #6 plastic container
  2. Permanent markers
  3. An image or two you want to copy, if you can't draw your own
  4. A pair of sharp scissors

You will also need access to an oven and a baking sheet to place your creations on. I highly recommend covering your baking sheet in foil before cooking your artwork

Step 2: Get Creative!

Now is the time for some fun! Draw your own design or trace one using your permanent markers. (Clip art books are great for this!)

FYI, expect to have your project shrink by about 2/3 its original size.

Step 3: Turn Up the Heat

It's time to shrink until it's dinky!

1. Set your oven to 325*

2. Lay your artwork on a sheet pan covered in foil

3. Place carefully in oven.

During that first minute or so your plastic will curl and look terrible. Don't worry, this is part of the process! Leave your creations in for approximately 2 minutes, they should be flattening out by then.

Step 4: Voila!

You're done! Leave your artwork to cook for 3-5 minutes, then carefully remove to finish cooling.


Need some ideas on what to do with your new project?

  • Add a magnet to the back and display on your fridge
  • Glue a small length of yarn to the back and make an ornament for a tree or plant
  • For next time, grab a hole punch and pop a hole in your plastic before baking
  • For tiny art, glue the back to a push pin for a personalized bulletin board

Have fun with your new skill!



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    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This worked very well for valentines for my kids one year I cut out hearts, punched the holes, and turned the boys loose with colored Sharpies. After baking, we laced yarn through, and put them in folded paper envelopes. Their classmates got hand decorated necklaces from my artistic sons.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    What a great idea! I did something similar as a kid and turned them into Christmas ornaments. The possibilites are endless!


    2 years ago

    I have a good question

    Can u clean this off of floors and walls?

    And what is the difference of this one and normal platic

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    #6 plastic is polystyrene. Each of the recycling codes on plastic goods will tell you which kind it is. Here's a great chart:

    These are not damp or sticky, so clean up is a breeze! They sweep or vacuum up quickly. Hope that helps!


    2 years ago

    Hello! You can clean the oven door so the kids can watch with vinegar and water on a rough pad.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Great idea! It's always good to have a clear view for the kids (and the kid inside us)

    Great idea! It's a fast and easy way to replace missing ones or make some for your own games. Thanks for the comment!