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Bust Kiddie Boredom with Shrinky Dink Keychains

By Sobia Hussain 

In a fast-paced environment, it’s nice to slow down sometimes and enjoy the little things with your family. And what better way to do that than crafting together? Take out a little time in your afternoon and try making these creative keychains with the mysteriously (yet fascinating) shrinkable Shrinky Dinks! I remember being inspired by these as a child when my mom first brought them home one day. Oh, did we have fun! These large sheets of plastic transformed into small durable decorative plastic tags and accessories right before our eyes!

Single Keychain with key

So for this tutorial, I’ve decided to revisit a part of my childhood memories and introduce this craft to all the MHK readers: vibrant personalized keychains! Gather your kiddos around the table and get prepared for some quick creative fun. It’s such a great activity for children of all ages. In fact, once you see the stunning finish, you will definitely want to try these out yourself! Just be warned:  these are highly addictive…and fun!  

Materials

Here is what you need:

Materials:

  • Shrinky Dink (Frosted Ruff N’ Ready) pack
  • pencil crayons
  • pencil
  • permanent marker
  • scissors
  • scissors with decorative edge (optional)
  • hole puncher 
  • split key rings
  • scrap paper
  • parchment paper
  • cookie sheet (for baking)

You can find the Shrinky Dink package in most large craft stores such as Michael’s. Decorative scissors can also be found at craft stores or even the dollar store. I like to use scrap paper whenever I can. We always have a bin full of them whenever munchkin art inspiration strikes!

Cut Plastic

Begin by cutting out large shapes from your Shrinky Dink plastic sheet. Keep in mind that the finished project will shrink down to 1/3 of it’s original size. So, keep your shapes relatively large. For this particular project, I cut 3″ x 4″ rectangles with decorative edged scissors.   

Sketch Idea
 

 Trace the outline of the plastic onto your scrap paper. Fill it in with your drawing. Keep the design simple so it is visible after shrinking. Here, my daughter wanted to draw a cloud raining with hearts!       

 

You may have noticed that the Shrink Dink plastic sheets have two sides which vary in texture. One side is shiny and glossy. The other side is rough and frosted. Place your plastic piece on top of your sketched design, shiny side up. Using your permanent marker, trace the design onto the shiny side of the plastic rectangle.

Hole Punched
 

 To create a hole for the split key ring, you will have to hole punch the plastic before baking.

Now let your munchkin color the design on the rough and frosted side of the plastic. Get creative and use some shading for added dimension.  

P.S.  Can you see the butterfly necklace my daughter made?  It’s also made with Shrinky Dinks!

 

Here is what the rough side should look like after coloring.  

Preheat the oven or toaster over according to instructions on the Shrinky Dink package (usually it’s 325 F). Place the plastic pieces, 3″ apart, on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Once the oven is heated, place the cookie sheet in the center of the oven. 

Now here comes the fun part! Turn the light on in your oven and watch what happens. Initially, the plastic will begin to shrink and curl but don’t worry. After curling, it will soften and straighten out relatively flat again. Let it sit in the oven for another 30 seconds to set and then remove from the oven. If it is still slightly curled, you can carefully flatten it under a flat plate. Now, let it cool completely (1 min).  

Single Keychain with key white

Add the split key ring through the hole and you’re done! Attach these to your child’s backpacks, home keys or anywhere else! A touch of vibrant colors always bring a smile!  

Here are some other designs we created the same day.  Let your child use his/her imagination and get creative! Personalize it with a name or favorite phrase.

Not into keychains? Use these as pendants for a kiddy necklace by threading the hole with a thin satin ribbon.

Since these are so quick and simple to make, you can manage to make plenty in one sitting.  give them out as gifts to family, friends, neighbours and teachers!  

Happy Crafting!

 ~Sobia     

 

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8 comments

  1. This is so cute Sobia!!! I’m definitely picking up Shrinky Dink next time at Michaels!

  2. JazakAllah Khair for sharing the tutorial! Inshallah I will definitely be trying this with my baby :)

    • Wonderful! Let us know how it turns out here! The kids have so much watching it shrink. You can even attach a brooch backing and make it a pin for your little one. The possibilities are endless!

  3. These look really cool Sobia! I know a couple of little kiddos in my life that would love to do this! :)

  4. Thanks for the tutorial, Sobia :)

    I have been doing “research” on Pinterest and I wonder if you need to seal the keychain with something to preserve the colors? Some say you do, but others do not.

    There are also different kinds of Shrinky Dink…some are translucent that don’t have a rough and a smooth side…but I guess the package will have the directions on it!

    Thanks for your help!

    Lois Burgess

    • Lois, you do not need to seal the keychain. The colour remains vibrant even after many uses. I’ve never sealed mine :)

      For this project, purchase the frosted ones which have a frosted rough side where you will draw using the coloured pencils. The clear ones are not intended for this project although you can experiment with those for a clear glass-like finish.

      Hope that helps and happy crafting! :)

      Sobia

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