Shrinky Dink Photo Charms

by Helga Strauss and Jackie McColl

Shrinky Dinks! Remember them? Boy have they changed from back in the day! They're so much fun that we just had to share them with you. :) We are now totally addicted to these little delights!

What you need to start: ARTchix Studio Digital Image Sheets (or your own digital photos), Shrinky Dinks for Computer InkJet Printers (available at Michael's craft stores) and your home InkJet printer.

Before printing your desired images onto the Shrinky Dink sheets, you will want to print a test page onto regular paper. Make a note on the side facing you so that when you print it out, you will know how to correctly load your Shrinky Dink sheets (you will want your images to print on the non-glossy side).

Before you print onto the Shrinky Dink sheets, be sure to lighten your images. In Photoshop, I adjusted the Brightness to +50 and the Contrast to +10. Here is a selection of ARTchix sheets printed onto Shrinky Dinks (notice how the colors seem a bit washed...that's what you want...the colors really brighten after you bake them). Sheets shown are Cool Silhouettes, Pretty Pink Flowers, Classic Vintage Buttons, Inchies in Paradise, Cool Butterflies and Chixies Art Happiness.

Once we printed our sheets, the fun really began. All you need for this step are scissors and a hole punch. We found that leaving a thin border around the edge of the image works best to frame your charm and go wild using different scissors to create fun edges. Simply punch a hole in each one to turn them into charms.

Try using different punches on background sheets like our Classic Vintage Buttons. Don't throw the scrap away! You can cut it up and punch holes to make more fun charms!

Now you are ready to bake them! Preheat your oven to 290 degrees (or follow the instructions in your shrinky dink package- temps may vary according to altitude). Lay out your images on parchment paper. Here's a handy tip: turn up one corner of the paper so you can quickly remove them from the baking sheet afterwords.

Here is the BEST part: slide them into the oven for about 3 minutes and watch them curl and dance while they shrink! We had to watch the whole time- yes, we were giggling. :)  Once they are laying flat on the tray again, leave them in for another 30 seconds and then pull them out.

Now, you have to be a little speedy here- once they are out of the oven, slide the parchment paper from the tray and quickly press a pad of paper, a magazine or if you are a Chixie, use your pad of watercolor paper and lightly apply pressure to make sure they harden flat.

Step back and admire your work- aren't they the cutest little things ever?! You can re-bake them for 3-5 minutes if they don't lay flat the first time around.

Almost done! The final step is to spray them with varnish to protect the images from scratching and fading. Helga devised this ingenious method of using masking tape to stick them to the bottom of a box so the spray doesn't flip them over. Do this outside as most spray varnishes are really smelly! Let dry approx. 20 minutes.

Voila! The easiest charms you will ever make and soooo many uses for them!

Here is a before and after shot of our Chixies Art Happiness sheet so you can compare the beginning and the end result. :)

A close up for you- they will shrink to just under half of their original size.

Check out the shrinky dinks we made using our Classic Vintage Buttons collage sheet and Martha Stewart punches from Michael's. Don't you just love the ones we made with the scrap that one would normally throw away? They would be great as mini photo frames!

Here are some ways to use Shrinky Dink Photo Charms in your art. Helga added a jump ring to the Chixies Art Happiness Shrinky Dink charm and slipped it onto the hanger for the flag she made using our Beautiful Garland Kit.

Can you spot the 3 little butterflies sewn onto this delightful flag? All 3 are Shrinky Dink charms made from our Classic Vintage Buttons sheet.

And the final touch to this little beauty is a cool butterfly tied to our Muse's hair. Very creative!

For more Shrinky Dink fun and excitement, see our Before and After Photos!

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