Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by Betty Morris and Kathryn Bloomberg 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. The shrink plastic is still available from many retailers and can be used for anything from charms to pins. The base material consists of thin, flexible polystyrene plastic sheets. Any sheets marked with code 6/PS can be reused as DIY shrink sheets. Code 6 plastic is common in packaging, and it can be easily recycled from discarded containers.
The first Shrinky Dinks were sold on October 17, 1973 at Brookfield Square Shopping Mall in Brookfield Wisconsin. Since then, there has been over 250 different Toy Activity and Craft Kits created and marketed. Shrinky Dinks shrink to approx. one third their original size and actually become 9 times thicker. Prior to heating, the plastic sheets can be colored with felt-tip pens, acrylic paint, colored pencils, etc. and cut into shapes. However, oily or waxy substances (such as cheap colored pencils, crayons, or oil paint) are not suitable because they melt or burn in high heat. After decorating, place the Shrinky Dinks piece into a Home Oven or Toaster Oven for 2 minutes and it gets smaller and smaller.Shrinky Dinks commercial 1980s:
Most sets are pre-printed with outline images of popular children's characters or other subjects, which are then colored in before baking. The kits of years past were manufactured by the major toy companies of the time, such as, Milton Bradley, Colorforms, Western Publishing, Skyline Toys and others. Those orignal kits are no longer being produced and the existing intact kits are in the hands of collectors and toy dealers.
Although Shrinky Dinks is considered to be an arts and crafts product for children, many adult crafters find the product to be suitable for jewelry making and other projects. Blank sheets are available for this purpose.
Click here to download baking instructions.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Shrinky Dinks price guide: sold listings for a value indication.