Shrinky Dink Magic!

Hey Everyone!

Hannah has had a lot of time off from school lately (Spring Break and now Easter Break), so I have had to get pretty creative when it comes to crafts to keep her busy.  I was poking around on the net the other day and I came across the Disney craft website.  Hannah loves all things Disney, so I figured I would print out a few coloring sheets and be done.  Nope.  I stumbled across a project page for Disney Princess Charm Bracelets, and things took off from there.

As a kid, we had Shrinky Dinks once in a while.  I honestly don't remember what we used them for, so we couldn't have done them too many times.  I had no idea that they still existed, or that you could make your own at home!  So, off to Michael's we went...

We found the Shrinky Dink paper, and I will warn you, it isn't cheap.  For 6 sheets of inkjet paper, it was $22.  I had a coupon that took 40% off, so I wasn't too upset.  Also, if you want to purchase the type that you draw on, rather than print, it was much cheaper and comes in a bunch of different colors.

While at Michael's, we also purchased a pre-made charm bracelet, jump rings and split rings.  I figured I'd need the jump rings to attach the charms and if I wanted to make zipper pulls, the split rings would come in handy.  Thankfully, these both come in large packs, so I can make them last a while.

Once home, we had to decide what characters we would include on the bracelet.  The Disney site has quite a few options (a quick search for charms or cutie charms will lead you to several options), and Hannah had trouble deciding which ones she wanted.  In an attempt to satisfy my little one, and not waste paper, I saved all of the PDFs and then cut and pasted them closer together in Photoshop.  I managed to take 6 sheets and cut them down to 3.  all of the designs she picked printed nicely, just be sure to set your printer for Matte paper and High print quality.  (This is explained in the paper packaging.)

Next was the tricky part, cutting them all out.  I would suggest an adult doing this part, as it involves lots of tricky cuts.  Also, I encourage you to use smaller cuts, rather than trying to cut the shape out in one piece.  I found that the paper tended to tear beyond where I stopped cutting, so trimming off the sides periodically worked much better.  Once your shapes are cut out, you'll need to punch a hole in them for hanging.  My hole punch was touch larger than the circles already pre-printed on the shapes, but it still worked.  We only lost one charm because of the hanging loop falling off (Princess Tiana is now going to be made into a barrette or ring). 

The directions on the paper packaging says to bake the shapes on a cookie sheet lined with a paper bag.  They also suggest parchment or tin foil, and we went the foil route.  It worked great!!  Set your oven between 275-300F and within 3 minutes, you'll have charms!!  Hannah loved watching them shrink up!!

A few jump rings later and voila! a finished bracelet!  We still have lots of charms to use in other projects, so I may be headed back to Michael's for a few more charm bracelets.  I think we'll also make a few into barrettes by hot gluing them on to some clips Hannah already has, and I'm sure a few will become zipper pulls for her backpack.
One step that I don't have photos of, since we didn't have a chance to do it yet, is sealing the charms.  I suppose you don't have to, but I read that it is suggested to use a coat of clear nail polish on the finished charms.  Hannah has some clear with sparkles, so we thought that would look cool on the princesses.  You could also use a spray poly or other sealant to do the trick.
While making these, I was trying to think of other uses for Shrinky Dinks and these are a few I thought of:
  •  Zipper Pull with emergency contact info printed on it for when you are headed to a large public event.
  • A tag with medical information/allergies
  • Party Favors with themed pictures printed on charms or tags
  • Keychain for Mother's or Father's Day
  • Hand drawn Christmas ornaments...what a fun way to capture a child's handwriting!

The list goes on and on!!  The Shrinky Dinks website has a bunch of pattern and ideas too.

All in all, this was a great project and worth every penny!  Hannah loves her bracelet and I love that we can spend time together doing fun projects.

Happy Crafting!

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