Drawing with little son

Shrink Art

Materials Required
  • Plastic Sheets: You can use #6 recyclable plastic containers/lids like those used for takeout food containers, or you can use clear plastic sheets designed for inkjet printers. Make sure it’s clean and free from any food residue.

  • Permanent Markers or Colored Pencils

  • Scissors

  • Hole Punch

  • Oven or Heat Gun


Creating Shrink Art can be a valuable educational activity for children, promoting their fine motor skills, creativity, and patience. As children design and color their shrink plastic projects, they enhance their artistic abilities and hand-eye coordination. The process of observing the plastic shrink in the oven or with a heat gun also introduces scientific concepts like heat-induced transformations, offering a fun way for children to explore science and learn about material properties.

  1. Prepare your plastic: Cut your plastic sheet into the desired shape and size for your project. If you’re making keychains or jewelry, make sure to punch a hole in the plastic where you want it.
  2. Create your design: Use permanent markers or colored pencils to draw or color your design on the smooth side of the plastic sheet. Keep in mind that the colors will intensify and become more vibrant as the plastic shrinks, so you may want to use lighter colors initially.
  3. Preheat your oven or heat gun: If you’re using an oven, preheat it to the temperature specified on the plastic packaging (usually around 325°F or 163°C). If you’re using a heat gun, turn it on and give it time to warm up.
  4. Shrink your design:
    • If using an oven: Place your plastic design on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven. Watch as it curls up and then flattens out again. This process usually takes only a few minutes, so keep a close eye on it.
    • If using a heat gun: Hold the heat gun a few inches away from the plastic and move it in a circular motion. The plastic will begin to curl and then flatten as it shrinks. Be careful not to overheat it, as it can cause the plastic to burn or warp.
  5. Remove from heat: Once the plastic has completely flattened out, carefully remove it from the oven or stop using the heat gun.
  6. Cool and finish: Allow your Shrinky Dink to cool for a few seconds, and it will become rigid and small. If you punched a hole, you can add a jump ring or string to create a keychain, necklace, or other jewelry.

Remember: exercise caution when using the oven or a heat gun, and always follow safety instructions for these appliances.

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