Can You Put Shrinky Dinks in the Microwave?
Shrinky Dinks are such a fun project to make. You can make a variety of projects with the little Shrinky Dinks, there are really so many different ways you can enjoy the finished craft. This is a fun project for all ages to make. But can you put Shrinky Dinks in the microwave to speed things up?
Let’s look at the answer to this question, as well as tips and tricks for other baking methods you can use, as well as a tutorial on how to make Shrinky Dinks.
Shrinky Dinks are made from special plastic sheets of paper. The shrink film sheets are made from a special type of thin plastic that reacts to high heat temperatures by shrinking. You can usually find the special plastic paper for Shrinky Dinks in crystal clear shrink paper, or in paper for a frosted shrink. Both kinds work well, but one is frosted and the other is completely clear.
When the Shrinky Dink paper is exposed to the correct type of heat source it goes through the mysterious shrinking process, which is so fun to watch! Depending on what type of shrinking paper you are using, it can shrink anywhere from 20% of its original size to 45% of its original size.
Can you make Shrinky Dinks in the Microwave?
Most instructions for shrink paper will tell you how to make them using a regular oven. But you might be wondering if a microwave oven can be used instead. The short answer is no you should not use a microwave oven to make Shrinky Dinks, this will not work.
Microwave for Shrinky Dinks
Using a microwave to shrink your Shrinky Dink paper will not work. A microwave functions differently than an oven, or other heat source. There are other options that you can use besides a regular oven, however using a microwave to shrink your plastic paper is not one of them.
This is simply because of the way in microwave functions, which is very different from a regular oven. Due to this difference, you cannot put Shrinky Dinks in the microwave and have success.
Alternative Shrink Methods
Regular Oven. Even though a microwave does not work for Shrinky Dinks, there are other options for heat sources you can use to shrink your plastic paper. The main method to use is to shrink your plastic paper in the oven. The instructions for this are given on the packaging or your shrink paper.
Toaster Oven. Another option that you can use to shrink your plastic paper is a toaster oven. Essentially a toaster oven is a miniature oven, because it functions much the same way as a large oven does. This is why it works.
You will want to have a baking tray on hand for your toaster oven to put your shrinky dinks on. You will follow the same baking instructions on the back of your package. Keep in mind it may take less time for your plastic paper to shrink in size because your heat source is different.
Blow Dryer. Another heat source option you can use to shrink your plastic paper is a hair dryer or blow dryer. This may take slightly longer to work, and shrink your plastic paper, but in general, they do work.
Heat Gun. Another option for a heat source alternative that you can use is a heat gun if you have one. You will want to work very carefully if you choose to use this option to melt your Shrinky Dinks.
What about using an Air Fryer?
What about using an air fryer to shrink your shrinky dinks? Although an air fryer will work to shrink the plastic paper, because air fryers function by using a fan to move the hot air inside of the machine, your Shrinky Dinks are likely to blow around.
The Shrinky Dinks will not turn out as well as they could otherwise when you use an air fryer to shrink your plastic sheets, it will likely end up folding them in ways you don’t want. This can be difficult to correct after you pull them out of the air fryer.
Shrinky Dink Crafts
There are a ton of different projects you can create with your Shrinky Dinks paper. Here are a few of my favorite projects to make with them:
-Shrinky Dink Earrings
-A Zipper Pull
-Shrinky Dink Rings
DIY Shrinky Dinks: What You Will Need
Permanent Markers. Permanent markers are a great option to use for decorating Shrinky Dinks. Some other good options include colored pencils, acrylic paint pens, a Sharpie marker, or alcohol markers. Most packages say that any type of ink will become permanent on Shrinky Dinks as they shrink. It’s always a good idea to err on the safe side, than use something that you know will not come out.
Aluminum Foil. When baking your Shrinky Dinks in the oven, it’s a good idea to first line your pan with aluminum foil before baking them in the oven.
Parchment Paper. Another alternative to aluminum foil is to use a sheet of parchment paper to line your cookie sheet.
Baking Sheet. You will want to use a baking sheet of some kind to set the Shrinky Dinks on as they bake in the oven.
Hole Puncher. Having a hole puncher, to punch holes in the Shrinky Dinks before they are baked is a good idea. This way you can attach your shrinking dinks to whatever project you are making.
Jump Ring. You may also want to have a jump ring to attach your Shrinky Dinks to your project. This is useful especially if you’re making earrings, keychains, necklaces, or any other thing that you need to attach the Shrinky Dink pendant to something else with.
Shrinky Dink Craft a Step-by-Step Guide
To start making your Shrinky Dink craft, take the smooth side and place it against your surface, with the rough side of the plastic paper up. You will want to draw your design on the rough side of the plastic sheet.
Next, create your design. Keep in mind that the original size should be larger than your finished size because the plastic will shrink. How much the plastic shrinks will depend on your specific plastic sheets. Read the package to determine what percent of its original size it will become.
Feel free to design your own Shrinky Dinks as desired. Keep in mind that the design shrink ratio will impact what you draw. You may want to draw it larger than intended so that when it shrinks it’s the right size.
After your Shrinky Dink has been designed, cut the shape out from the sheet. Then follow the strengthening instruction located on the package of your plastic paper to determine exactly what temperature you should take it out.
Usually, it’s between 300°F and 350°F for approximately 2 to 3 minutes.
Once you have determined the Shrinky Dink instructions, place each Shrinky Dink onto a baking sheet with space in between. Bake according to the package instructions.
During the baking process, some of the plastic may curl, so after they are baked, remove them from the oven. Use a spatula to flatten the Shrinky Dinks if desired before the plastic cools, then allow the plastic to cool completely for the best results.
When your Shrinky Dinks have a cooled completely, finish assembling your craft project as desired. Keep in mind when your Shrinky Dink is assembled completely, you will want to have the smooth surface facing outward. For instance, if you’re attaching the Shrinky Dink pendant to a necklace, the smooth surface should face away from you.
Fun Shrinky Dink Crafts
There are so many different fun things you can make out of Shrinky Dinks. You can make jewelry, keychains, or lots of other fun crafts with this magic plastic paper.
Shrinky Dinks should not be put in the microwave to go through their shrinking process. Instead, they need to be exposed to heat sources such as an oven, toaster oven, or heat gun.
Now that you know how to go about making your Shrinky Dinks, it’s time to start your project! I hope that these tips and tricks have been very helpful to you. Have fun with your project!
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