Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shrinky Dinks Book Cover Bracelet

Today the fabulous Kim Hammond tells us how to make book cover bracelets with Shrinky Dinks.

This project took me back to my childhood. I didn’t do it justice like artist Pattie Tierney but I held my own. I got the idea from trolling a craft aisle at a Michaels store. There I saw a package of Shrinky Dinks for an inkjet printer. My mind started conjuring up all kinds of craft ideas. 

For those who may not be familiar with Shrinky Dinks, I made a visit to Wikipedia for you. Shrinky Dinks are a children's toy/activity kit consisting of large flexible sheets which, when heated in an oven, shrink to small hard plates without altering their color or shape. They reached the height of their popularity in the 1980s. Most sets are pre-printed with outline images of popular children's characters or other subjects, which are then colored in before baking.

Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by two housewives of Brookfield, Wisconsin, as a Cub Scout project with their sons. The first kits were sold at a local shopping mall and became very popular. Shrinky Dinks were soon licensed to be manufactured by the major toy companies of the time such as Milton Bradley, Colorforms, Western Publishing and Skyline Toys

I decided to involve the Queen of Crime for my project and used the Mystery Playground Pinterest Pulp Cover page and some Google images to find photos of Agatha Christie book covers in a higher resolution. Now for a little math, you need to decide what size you want your final project to be. It shrinks about 1/3 so you need to make your picture bigger to start out. I used a program called Paint Shop Pro to arrange and size my covers on a page.

My bracelet form has room for 11 covers, however, not one to waste,  I wanted to fill my Shinky Dinks page with as many as possible so I had a lot of choices. You can search the web for a good price on the bracelet forms, but here’s an example at Fire Mountain Gems.

The next big thing to know is that as the Shrinky Dinks bake your pictures darken. So you need to lighten your imagines before you print them. In Paint Shop Pro I increased the brightness by 50% and increased the contrast by about 10%. Your final pictures should look quite washed out.

After printing, allow the ink to thoroughly dry. I let it sit about 10 minutes while I prepped the remaining items. The instructions including with the Shrinky Dinks are fabulous and I recommend reading them and keeping them handy.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. I cut a piece of baking parchment paper and lined a metal cookie sheet. You can also use a piece of brown paper grocery bag (do stores even use these anymore?).

I cut out my book covers precisely. I tried to use a scrapbook cutter but the Shrinky Dinks page was a little too thick so I resorted to scissors. Once you have them all cut out, arrange them on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Make sure they’re not touching. I laid them out as far apart as possible because during the baking process they can move around like they have a life of their own.

Pop them in the oven and keep the oven light on. Do not walk away. Once the process starts it can go pretty quick and you need to be ready. Have potholders ready too.

The bake time is really different depending on the oven. I’ve even had it vary between different batches I am baking. That’s why I say stay close to your oven. It’s also pretty cool to watch. You’re going to see the corners start to curl slowly and then quickly. Don’t freak out, and I know it’s hard, because they will curl up into themselves and look like they’re ruined. But most, if not all, will turn out. However, you will occasionally have a few that won’t, and that’s another reason why I fill my Shrinky Dinks sheet with extras, especially of my favorite images.

The images will stay curled into themselves for a short time and then all of the sudden they will start to unfold and eventually go flat, or almost flat. If it looks like one is sticking, I’ve pulled it off the sheet and used a toothpick to pry it open and help it along, then quickly get it back in the oven.

Once you’re satisfied, remove the cookie sheet from the oven.  I then take the whole piece of parchment paper off and set it on the counter. I move all the items close together and I use an old book or something flat and heavy to push down over the Shrinky Dinks for about 20 seconds to make sure they’re flat.

Now you’re ready for assembly. I use Loctite Ultra Gel Control Super Glue and I only glued 1 book cover at a time. The assembly was the longest part of the project but I was doing other things around the house at the same time. I glued a cover on, made sure it was centered, and then let it dry for about 10 minutes.  After repeating the process 10 more times I had my finished product, ready to wear, and I had a lot of fun reliving my childhood.

Post Author, Kim Hammond


  1. I LOVE this idea! I am totally stealing it. *sneaking off with Deb's idea*

  2. Me three, I can't wait to try this. If only Santa would just make me one for Christmas, though.

    1. Oooh there's an idea. I didn't know Santa was into Shrinky Dinks...

  3. This is so cool! Thanks for this great idea and How-To! I saw this on Pinterest and had to follow the Pin. So glad I did :) Cheers!