Monday, October 15, 2012

DIY shrinky dinks from recylced plastic containers

    Clean #6 Plastic
    Permanent Markers
    Aluminum Foil
    Oven (or small toaster oven, we used the toaster oven since we were only making a few pieces)

 1. Recycle a piece of #6 plastic (polystyrene). You can get them at local salad bars, delis, and grocery stores. Just flip it over and look for a “6” inside the recycling arrows.

2. Start by making sure your plastic is clean, wash away any food debris. You can then cut any excess plastic away to make a flat sheet (use both the top and the bottom).

3. Draw image on your plastic canvas using permanent markers. The total image will shrink to about a third of its original size, and five or six times its original thickness.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 350°, and place a rack in the lowest position. Create a “tray” out of the aluminum foil by bending up the sides.

5. Place your art in the tray, then with an oven mitt or tongs place the foil on the bottom rack.

6. Watch your art curl up in the first minute, but soon, it will flatten itself out. Watch it transform through the oven door. (Sarah squealed! "this is sooo coool mom!")

Total time for a larger pieces (5-6” starting size) will be about 3 1/2 minutes.

7. Using the tongs or oven mitt, remove the tray. At this point, it’s still pliable, so if you want to flatten it more, or add waves or bend the corners, do it carefully within the first ten seconds. (I used a rolling pin on mine to flatten it out).
8. Now its ready to made into what ever you have in mind. You should still be able to cut it, sand it, and drill a hole in or glue it. (I think it's best to use hole punch before baking). Make earrings, bracelet charms, wine glass charms, luggage tags, key chains... lots of things!

Note: polystyrene does let off fumes when it's baked so use a fan, or open windows while baking to reduce inhaling fumes.

 **Sarah made some bats for a necklace and I made some sugar skull faces. We finished off the pieces with Triple Thick glaze for a shiny surface and it also helps to keep the image from rubbing off. If you don't have Triple Thick you can also use nail polish or even Future Floor Wax...( I swear by it as a glaze, plus it has less fumes and dries really fast too.)**

I glued my sugar skull plastic to a piece of recycled aluminum from a used (clean) tray. I used a ball point pen to emboss a simple design on the edges. Then added some glitter glue for sparkle. Let it all set and dry over night. The next morning I glued a piece chip board (you can use a piece of cardboard or cereal box) to the back side of the ornament and cut out a small hole so that I could add a hook or some ribbon to hang it.  

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