My kids had been playing some games with plastic cups and one night, I noticed a huge stack of them leaning up against a wall in the living room. I was debating if I should wash them out and put them back in the cupboard to use at a gathering but that seemed like a fair bit of work given that the stack almost reached the ceiling. I started to think about what kind of craft we could make with them and the idea to make shrinky dink ornaments started to form.
I was really determined to make this idea work but it wasn’t as simple as I had imagined. Through a fair bit of trial and error, I was able to figure out how to make this concept actually turn into something and I’m so excited with how they turned out.
Before I get to how to make these, I will explain how NOT to make them so that you can learn from my mistakes. Initially, I just grabbed some clear plastic cups from the giant stack and brought out a pack of coloured Sharpie markers and asked the kids to draw or decorate them however they wanted. Then we put them on a cookie sheet and baked them. The picture below shows how they went into the oven and how they came out of the oven:
As you can see, four of the five cups shrunk down into funny little hat-looking-things. One of them flattened into exactly what I had pictured when I had thought up this project. At first, I thought maybe it was because that cup had been the one in the center of the cookie sheet but on closer inspection, we discovered that the one that flattened was a different brand of cup. The Dixie brand cups shrivelled into hats but the Polar brand plastic cups shrunk into flat circles.
The kids got to work decorating just the Polar brand cups and the next tray worked really well. All of the cups flattened into lovely little disks. That is when we discovered problem #2.
I was not able to hole punch them after they had shrunk because the plastic had hardened too much. So those disks did not become ornaments.
Thankfully, my kids really loved colouring the cups and they happily coloured many more cups. I hole punched them prior to putting them in the oven this time!
Shrinky Dink Ornament Instructions:
- permanent markers
- Polar brand clear plastic cups (we used 10 oz.)
- hole punch
- string for hanging
How to make shrinky dink ornaments:
- Draw with permanent markers on plastic cups. (Remember that they have to be Polar brand!)
- Hole punch the cup.
- Place on cookie sheet and put in 250° oven.
- Turn the oven light on and watch until the cup shrinks down to a flat circle. Note that only the ornament in the middle of the cookie sheet will be completely flat.
- Thread a string through the hole and hang.
I’m very pleased with how these turned out and glad that I didn’t give up when the first few batches didn’t go well because they are really lovely. It was fun to see my kids’ creativity come out in their ornaments.
Christina @There's Just One Mommy says
We have done Shrinky Dinks one time, and they had so much fun! But I haven’t been able to find a kit again that they both like.
This is such a great way to reuse those plastic cups after playing a cup game! Definitely going to keep my eyes open for the right brand.
At plastic clamshell parts laying will work for shrinky dinks
Where did you find Polar cups?
Cute project! Where did you punch the whole? Thanks!
Yes, I was wondering where you punched the hole. I imagine it makes a big difference.
Lynn Perez says
Ladies, I believe if you look at the recycle emblem on the bottom and see what number is there. It might be a 6. Whatever number is there will identify the type material you need. Don’t buy by brand, buy by number. Keep track of the properties of each by their number. Later you will be able to choose what reaction you want, and choose by number for any project. The numbers work on all plastic stuff. Like the plastic flip top boxes from your local deli. Hope this helps make it easier to find your crafting materials. ?
Sharla Kostelyk says
Thank you for the tip!
Felicia Shockey says
Ok ladies, I am going to figure this out. We do not have polar brand cups where I live and I cannot find them on line either. So far I have used Solo Cups (recycling code#1) and they meted and looked like top hats…similar to Sharla’s first attemp. I have also used fruit cups (recycling code #5) and they meted and folded over on themselves creating a blob mess. I’m going around town tomorrow looking for other clear cups with different recycling codes. I’ll let you know what happens.