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Happy Friday: Homemade Shrinky Dinks

5:44 PM MST
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

Sent from reader, Tera of The Accidental Blogger:

I thought your readers might be interested in how to make homemade Shrinky Dinks. I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, Shrinky Dinks were all the rage. A couple of years ago, I was thrilled to discover that they’re still available to purchase, however, I was dismayed at how expensive they are.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that you can make Shrinky Dinks yourself for FREE using items from your recycling bin! All you need is #6 plastic: polystyrene (look for the recycling symbol with a #6 PS in it). You’re looking for the thin, clear plastic, not Styrofoam.

All you do is draw on the plastic with permanent markers (we used the set of Sharpies that I got from Staples for $3 that Hip2Save posted about a few months ago), cut out, and bake them in a 350 degree oven until they’re done shrinking–ours took about 3 minutes. Just like Shrinky Dinks you buy in the store, they will shrink to 1/3 of their original size, and be 5 to 6 times thicker.


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique photo to share?! Email us at happyfriday@hip2save(dot)com. Every Friday, I will post one photo, submitted by you and/or another Hip2Save reader, that gives us a glimpse into your frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If your photo is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon e-card!

** Check out all of the previous Happy Friday pictures here.

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  • Katie says:

    Good to know!!! That plastic isn’t cheap if you buy it from the shrinky dink company!! What an awesome tip!!! Thanks for sharing!

  • katie says:

    ive seen these used for weddings as well.. a great way to make customized stuff!

  • Mrspurple says:

    Anyone have any examples of any items that are plastic #6? Are there any funny fumes that come out? I can’t wait to try this with my kids this summer! I used to love those. Thanks for sharing! It is cool that it is a way to reuse this type of plastic!

    • Trina says:

      The plastic tops to take out containers like when you get salads, things like that.

    • Tera says:

      I found it in take-out containers (not the Styrofoam ones, the clear plastic ones), tops of some bakery goods, a plastic tray from a package of cookies, tops of disposable aluminum baking pans, and disposable clear plastic plates. Also there’s a salad bar at our grocery store where you can fill a container and you’re charged by the pound–the containers are #6 PS

    • Jesse says:

      We stay away from plastics in our house. Glass all the way. I’d be worried about known (BPA) and unknown bad stuff in plastics, myself. Not something I’d want near myself or my kids.

      • sandralee says:

        I agree with you. In addition, using your toaster oven or regular oven must not be so healthy for cooking food after using it to shrink plastic. (BPA, and fumes that you would be breathing.) Just be aware of your enviornment……

  • dj says:

    Where do you buy #6 plastic: polystyrene? and what section of the store would I look in?

    • Tera says:

      Don’t buy it–recycle :)
      I found it in take-out containers (not the Styrofoam ones, the clear plastic ones), tops of some bakery goods, a plastic tray from a package of cookies, tops of disposable aluminum baking pans, and disposable clear plastic plates. Also there’s a salad bar at our grocery store where you can fill a container and you’re charged by the pound–the containers are #6 PS

  • R.A says:

    I used to do that when I was little girl…yup,it was fun!!!
    Thanks for bringging me a sweet memories. :D

  • R.A says:

    I used to do that when I was little girl…yup,it was fun!!!
    Thanks for bringing me a sweet memories. :D

    • Rebecca says:

      Same here. I was all about Shrinky dinks. I remember using rub-ons for the images on them, too. I was ecstatic to see them in stores again but set off the high price. Thanks for the recycling option, Tera! :D

  • Cheryl Booth Rogers says:

    While recycling and washing lids in my dishwasher, I noticed this type(#6) likes to somewhat melt in my top rack, its a good source for sure! Happy Shrinky Dinkying!

  • Elizabeth says:

    This is off topic & I’m sorry for posting it here. I’m looking for a little help in the Lowe’s Plantatweet sweepstakes (I’m 7 away from the gift card). If you have pinterest or twitter can you please water/nuture my plant:

    I’ll gladly help you out as well if you have one…..Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

  • Tori says:

    I bought the pack of shrinks dink at hobby lobby. It was $6.99 minus 40% off coupon. It was like $4. And it had like 15 large sheets. I just used this for my 10 yr old dd bday. I found an idea to make rings out of the shrinkydink on pinterest. It was a huge hit. The girls loved them. 5 girls each made 5 rings and we only used up 1 sheet. So it Definitly goes a long way.

    Forgt the recycling and just go buy a $4 pack. It is a blast for the kiddos

  • lindsey says:

    If I can go to Hobby Lobby and buy it im there, Cuz I worry about the “unknown plastic take out” containers melting, since im only 27 I have no clue what a shrinky dink is but my kids love any project like this! Are u talking like the lids from salads from cafe rio or bajio?? Just draw on it, cut it, throw it in the oven for 3 min or so and it done???? Not completely melted?? Sorry I am a little confused, thanks Ladies(and gents)

    • Ashley says:

      I’m 26 and used to shrinky dink all the time… :) They shouldn’t melt, just shrink waaaay down.

      We used to sand the shrinky dink ‘paper’ and then use colored pencils to color them. Anyone know if that would work with #6 plastics?

  • Jaime says:

    I’ve never heard of shrinky dinks. I’m 26.. My boyfriend is 33 and he never has either. Is it a northern thing?! Lol

    • misty says:

      I’m from the South, 24 years old and shrinky dinks used to be all the rage in our house! They’re awesome!

      Thanks for the tip OP, will definitely be on the lookout for #6. What a fun way to recycle!

    • Jamie says:

      I’ve heard of shrinky dinks but have never personally “shrunk” them when I was a kid, although I knew people that did. I’m 19 and grew up in CA. Definitely not a Southern thing… :)

    • Rebecca says:

      I’m 32 & from the North. Shrinky Dinks were da bomb & I was all about them when I was a kid/pre-teen. :P

  • Jess says:

    Thank you! This looks like a great way to make pet tags!

  • terri says:

    I know a lot of people played with shrinky dinks when they were younger, but we’ve learned that a lot of things we were exposed to as kids was not that safe. Yes, some safe, but some not. But I do think not you are not supposed to heat any type of plastic, safe or not.

    So, just do some research on #6 plastic before you try or buy:

    “Extruded polystyrene (#6 PS; commonly known as Styrofoam) is used in take-out containers and cups, and non-extruded PS is used in clear disposable takeout containers, disposable plastic cutlery and cups. Both forms of PS can leach styrene into food; styrene is considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It may also disrupt hormones or affect reproduction.”

    Here’s the Breast Cancer Fund on #6: “PLASTIC #6: Polystyrene (PS)
    • Common uses: packaging pellets or Styrofoam peanuts, cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, to-go clam shell containers, egg cartons, shipping blocks
    • Many shipping/packaging stores will accept polystyrene peanuts and other packaging materials for reuse. Cups, meat trays and other containers used for food are rarely accepted for recycling. Look for alternatives whenever possible.”

    • Jesse says:


    • Nicole says:

      You’re not supposed to microwave food in styrene because it can leach… but this is a craft, not a way to prepare food. Don’t ingest your shrinky dinks and I think you’ll be fine.

      • C says:

        ….However the fumes will be released into your oven and into the air in your kitchen. WHo knows how long this stays in the air in your home.

      • terri says:

        Nicole, just wanted to add that if your child is ‘handling’ items that can leach chemicals, his/her fingers are touching it. This can leach into their skin, they can lick their fingers later, etc., all in all it’s just not a good practice to get into. There’s so much information out there about the dangers of plastics and heating plastics.

  • Mika says:

    Is it dioxin safe? As long as I know, if you burn plastic items like bags, you will get dioxins, which are health hazardous.

  • amber says:

    Wow! One sure can learn a lot from reading comments on Collin’s posts!

  • Danielle says:

    Like other posters, I would also be concerned about toxic fumes and vapors released from cooking plastic and markings from permanent markers in my home oven.

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