Using Clip Art to Create Shrinky Dinks

Using Clipart to Create Shrinky Dinks

It was tempting to title this post “You Know You Live in a Small Town When. . . ” because I’m giddy about the new craft store that just opened nearby, and upon visiting was even more giddy to discover they still make Shrinky Dinks?!! I had no idea these childhood favorites were still around!

So, the kids and I spent a fun afternoon of crafting and for this project, we used:

how to create Shrinky Dinks with clip art

1. Place clip art in a new document.

I use Photoshop, but any program that inserts clip art (such as Microsoft Word) will work. Move the graphics around so you can fit as many as possible in one document. Keep in mind that these images will shrink about four times smaller, so keep the original images quite large.

shrinky dink1

{Kangaroo Has a Mother, Too! clip art set} 

Tip: Pay attention to the size of your Shrinky Dink plastic sheets to determine how much margin to leave when preparing to print as the size of the shrinkable plastic varies.

2. Print the clip art images.

print the clip art

Side note: After completing this project (using printer paper and regular Shrinky Dinks) I discovered there is also printable shrink film! My local craft store didn’t carry these, but if you purchase this type, printing directly on the plastic sheets would save the next step.

3. Trace the Clip Art

Place the plastic Shrinky Dink sheet on top of the printed clip art images, and use a permanent marker to trace the images. It’s easier to trace if you have a light source behind, so use a lightbox if you have one, or go the old-fashioned window route!

trace the clip art on Shrinky Dink plastic

Don’t stress about perfect tracing. The kids will be coloring over the lines, anyway!

4. Color the Shrinky Dinks. 

You’ll need colored permanent markers for this step. My kids were in artist’s bliss when they were allowed to use mommy’s coveted and very off-limit markers.

Creating shrinky dinks with clip art

If your kids are really young, or you’re nervous about letting them use permanent markers (which I TOTALLY get), have them color the printed clip art sheets with crayons or washable markers while you fill in the Shrinky Dink graphics with Sharpies.

coloring the clip art sheets

 5. Cut out the colored graphics.

cut the shrinky dinks

6. Bake.

The Shrinky Dink packaging suggested placing a piece of brown paper (a cut-up paper bag is fine) on a cookie sheet, then putting the plastic pieces on the paper before baking in a preheated 325F oven for 1-3 minutes. (Parent’s help, of course!)

place on a paper covered cookie sheet

Baking was a bit of trial-and-error for us. Some of the pieces shrunk up great, but others curled into themselves. I ruined and broke a couple before going back to the directions and reading that sometimes they do curl, and you need to attempt to flatten while they are still hot and pliable. This (of course) would be a job for an adult, and please be careful and wear an oven mitt.


We still have a few sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic left, so I think I’ll do a bit more experimenting (and report back!) because I suspect simpler shapes might curl less than these detailed animals.

But, once the art is perfected, think of all the fun scrapbook embellishments, magnets, story-telling props, jewelry charms, even chore chart pieces you could make with this shrinkable plastic!

shrinky dinks with clip art

Have you crafted with Shrinky Dinks before? What did you make? (And do you have any tips to prevent curling!?)

9 Comments on Using Clip Art to Create Shrinky Dinks

  1. Linda from Arizona
    April 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm (3 years ago)

    I also live in a small town with the nearest craft store 3 hours away!!!! That entails a total trip of 6 hours on the road, 3 to get there and 3 to get home. I hardly have the energy to shop once I get there. I am happy for you that you now have a craft store near by. Great job on the shrinky dinks.


    pameladonnis Reply:

    Oh my goodness! Three hours! Do you do most of your shopping online?


  2. Mandy
    April 19, 2013 at 5:24 am (3 years ago)

    This last Christmas we made shrinky dink ornaments for a tiny Christmas tree that sat on my husband’s desk at work. They curled up as they baked, but when I pulled them out of the oven, I turned them upside down, and they flattened out again for the most part.


    pameladonnis Reply:

    Oooh, good tip. I’ll have to try that next time.
    Love the idea of making mini ornaments, too!


  3. libbywilko
    April 19, 2013 at 10:40 am (3 years ago)

    I remember having fun with these when I was little, I think they came in chip packets.


  4. Krista Jensen
    April 22, 2013 at 2:53 am (3 years ago)

    My 21 year old daughter and I played with Shrinky Dinks a couple months ago! We each made a TinkerBell keychain! :) Here’s a pic of mine:


    pameladonnis Reply:

    That sounds so cute! The picture didn’t come through, but I love the idea of making a keychain!


  5. Debra Gallagher
    October 11, 2013 at 12:07 am (2 years ago)

    My daughter just made some last night! The packaging suggested laying a piece of parchment paper over the top of the shrinky dinks to help keep them from curling into themselves…worked for us



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