Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Recycling #6 Plastic: DIY shrinky dinks

This is an ornament that I made for an exchange, and I wanted to show how well number six plastic works as shrinky dinks. This kind of plastic is usually the lids and clamshells for take out and bakery boxes. You can tell if you have the right kind if there is a number six inside the little triangle of recyling arrows, like the number one on water bottles. If you want to use colored pencils on it, you can sand it lightly with fine sandpaper. I kept mine smooth and used a sharpie for the coloring on it.

I started by drawing a rough pattern on a piece of paper and then laying my piece of plastic over it and tracing it. I cut it out and then punched holes in the upper corners. I used a regular hole punch, because the holes shrink a lot, along with the rest of the plastic. My plastic came from the bottom of a berry container.

I used the toaster oven to shrink my little plaque, because most of the instructions on shrinky dinks say not to use a gas oven, and I figured this would be the same. Your plastic will crinkle up as it shrinks, but it'll flatten it's self back out, and if you're careful, you can put something flat and heat proof on it when it comes out while it's still warm. I used the bottom of a pyrex dish to let it cool completely flat.

Here is the finished size next to the original pattern that I traced.

Here is the finished ornament, with the plaque hung under the mini knitting project.

To make the mini knitted part of the ornament, I used a scrap of sock yarn and size one needles and cast on six stitches and just knit back and forth in every stitch until I had a tiny scarf about an inch and a half long. I broke of a long tail halfway through a row, and then wound the tail into a mini yarn ball. The needles are made with a toothpick cut in half, a bead glued to the flat end of each one. After tranferring the stitched to the toothpick "needles" I used small dabs of glue to secure the yarn around the ball, so it wouldn't unwind or slip off. I just ran the hanging loop and the plaque's hanger right through the mini ball of yarn to finish it off.

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Lauriebelle said...

Woah! You just rocked my world! I'm really excited to try this!

Your ornament is adorable!

chicory cottage said...

yay! i love shrinky dinks and haven't done any since i was a child. altho' i still have the christmas stocking ornament i made when i was in 3rd grade (or around that time); i put it on our tree every year!

chicory cottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie said...


molly said...

totally cool. you should sell those.

so glad to be back home from VA and have time to read all your posts. . .I missed ya!

Happy 2009!

Bethany said...

I'm glad you ladies like it so much! I wasn't sure if it had turned out as nicely as I'd imagined it. I wanted to use more "Christmassy" yarn, but I was using scraps, and that's what I had.

Molly, Happy 2009 to you as well! I hope you had a great trip!

The Thinker said...

That is cute, cute, CUTE! I love the little miny knitting project and teeny tiny needles. Did you make those or buy them? I LOVE it!

Miss April aka SilverSunbeam said...

What a great little project... doubly so as we can't recycle #6!

Matriarchy said...

Cool! I bought some of the commercial shrinky plastic, but I would much rather be able to harvest my own from trash and recycling bins. My kids will love experimenting with this.

Bethany said...

Thanks for commenting!
The "needles" are a toothpick cut in half with beads glued to the cut ends. The last paragraph of the post tells all about the knitting part of this project.

Melonie said...

Too cute!!!

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