Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Shrinky Dink Experiment

There are two words that bring as much joy to a little kid as it does for an adult who is in her late twenties- SNOW DAAAAY!!! To clarify, there is hardly any snow on the ground, but the temperature is below zero. School administration thought it best for employees to stay home and hibernate for a day or two. 

I thought it was my opportunity to try something I've always wanted- shrinky dink jewelry! I've been into stud earrings lately. It started when I found out the toddlers at school like to yank dangly earrings out of ears. "No, thank you!" as we say in Montessori. So the best solution is wearing studs, which I included in my Christmas list this year and have recieved many. But I want more! So here's what I did to make these...

Things you'll need...
1. paper and pencil to doodle ideas
2. shrinky dink paper you can buy at the craft store
3. permanent markers
4. scissors
5. foil and baking sheet
6. oven (toaster or conventional)
7. earring findings
8. nail file or fine sand paper
9. E6000 glue, which apparently may cause kidney damage and cancer. Fun.
10. a nice cup of tea just for kicks

1. Start by doodling your ideas on paper on what kind of earrings you'd like to make. Know that if your design is 10" it will shrink to 4.25" once completed. So you do the math. I hope you remember simple algebra from 4th grade.
2. When you are content with your design you are ready to trace it onto the shrinky dink paper. Shrinky dink paper has two sides, one shiny and the other more rough. Trace the design with thin permanent marker on the SHINY side. Black marker works best, but I couldn't find mine...
3. This is when tracing paper would have come in handy, because you could flip it over and trace the mirror image. If you don't have any like me, I just flipped the design I had just traced and put another piece of shrinky dink paper over that. Trace the mirrored image of the desing onto that second piece of paper. Now you have two.
4. Flip both pieces of paper over so the rough side is facing up. Fill in the design however you wish. This is second to the best part! It's just like coloring when you were a little kid. This is when you whip up some tea and listen to some happy sounding Pandora station, like Regina Spektor. Have fun!
5. Cut out both designs with scissors. There's room for error because you will file the edges at the end to make them more smooth, so don't sweat it.
6. Preheat oven to the instructions that came with the shrinky dink paper you bought. Mine was preaheated to 325 degrees F.
7. Line a baking sheet with foil, and place the two pieces of shrinky dink on it. Make sure the baking sheet is nice and flat. Place it in the oven and prepare to be amazed!
8. Okay, so this is where it gets foggy for me. I also lost the English worded directions that came with the pack of paper. I had to translate the Spanish directions...Ugh, apparently my algebra is way better than what I remember from Spanish class. So...you leave the baking sheet in there for only 1-3 minutes. Hopefully, your oven has a little window you could look through and watch the magic happen. Your shrinky dink will begin to move and curl. Don't panic! Keep watching!
9. Breathe out! And by the time you do, you'll notice your shrinky dink designs begin to flatten themselves back onto the baking sheet. After the 1-3 mintues, take the sheet out. Let the work cool for 30 seconds before handling.
10. Use a nail file or fine sand paper to sand down any sharp corners or to smooth out the sides.
11. Glue earring findings with E6000 glue, following the directions on the tube.


Here is a before picture of my work before I popped them in the oven, and here they are after they've shrunk. Pretty impressed! I like how they shrink but become thicker.

I want a couple more snow days to make more! :) 

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