How To: Shrink Art Jewelry


 So a while ago I wrote about how awesome shrinky dinks are. One of the things I made during my pre holiday shrinky dink extravaganza was a Unitarian bot for my roommate Lara. (She'd wanted a robot necklace for a while and I didn't want her to have to choose between reppin' the UUism and a robot) Ever since, I've been jealous and wanting my own baker bot. So today I finally sat down and made my own and took pictures along the way to create a basic working with shrinky dink tutorial (in case you maybe haven't worked in the medium for say... 20 years). The advanced techniques shown here certainly don't need to be limited to making robot jewelry but I think everybody probably could use a robot representation of themselves... so go for it!

Things You'll Need:

  • Shrinky Dink Plastic
  • Colored Sharpies
  • Scissors
  • Clasps, rings, pin backs, earing hooks... whatever you need for the type of jewelry you'r making
  • Pencil and Paper for sketching your design
  • Cookie sheet
  • Oven
  • Standard hole punch

Preheat oven to 325˚F

P1000579 First off, draw your pattern. It's going to shrink to about ⅓ the original size, so you can start off pretty big. I drew Baker Bot on an index card. Sure, you could draw directly onto the plastic but drawing usually involves erasing everything 50 times for me, so I draw on a seperate sheet first.

P1000581 Place the plastic sheet over your drawing, rough side up and trace over your initial drawing in the color of your choice. I usually use a fine point black sharpie.

P1000582 Color it in! Don't worry about covering up some of the lines, this is going to be the back of your piece.

P1000584 See? This is what baker bot looks like from the front. Notice the flames for eyes... she can bake a pizza just by looking at it!

P1000588 Cut around, as close to the edges as you want. I decided to punch a whole right in her hat but you could also cut out a tab at the top in which to punch a hole. Make sure not to punch the whole too close to any edges or the plastic will just shrink into non existence and you'll be left with a weird dip or a not structurally sound piece (ask me how I know...). Place it rough side up on a piece of thin cardboard on top of a cookie sheet.

P1000592 Stick it in the oven for 2-3 minutes. It's going to curl up as it shrinks and then magically uncurl.

P1000593 Even if rolls over onto its side, don't be concerned! It's magical!

P1000594 When it has flattened back out pull it out of the oven! You can continue baking it if you want the colors to darken. If it's not completely flat, use another cookie sheet or a pyrex pan to flatten it out.

P1000596 Woo! Look how much finished baker bot shrank!


P1000615 Attach a ring and put it on a chain or cord, attach it to an earring (you might want to make 2 for that plan) or use super glue to attach a pin back.

Complicated, I know.