Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shrinky Dink Fun

My wedding ring doesn't fit anymore... not since I was pregnant with Talmage.  We plan to get it sized up half a size, but in the meantime I've been wearing a fake ring that looks similar... and turns my finger green!  I'm tired of feeling like I'm morphing into a leprechaun, so I decided to make myself a different ring.
I had so much fun making some rings.  I feel like such a little kid whenever I work with Shrinky Dinks!  Yep, that's right.....Shrinky Dinks!

Here's a picture of some the pieces I have made with Shrinky Dinks.

Some info before I tell you how I made my jewelry

I buy my Shrinky Dinks paper from Hobby Lobby.  They're probably sold in other crafts stores and maybe even Walmart.  I'm sure an off-brand works great too.  If you're going to Hobby Lobby make sure you remember your coupon (found online).

I've used 2 different kinds of Shrinky Dinks.  They have a kind that is made for printing on.  It works great, but it's kind of expensive and comes with just 5 sheets.  I've bought it a couple times and prefer it (for what I like to do), but I'm cheap and decided to buy the least expensive one this last time around.  I bought the frosted kind with 10 sheets (the sheets are a little smaller than 8 1/2 x11).  I figured since it was a cheaper, I didn't feel bad experimenting with printing on them.  (I used the printing variety on the all the bracelets pictured above and the frosted variety on the rings and necklaces).  It works, but next time I'll try on the clear (unfrosted) kind.


Shrinky Dink Paper
Some type of mold that is the same size of your finger
Printer/Pens/Stamps/Colored Pencils, etc... to decorate your jewelry
1/8" hole punch (for jump ring holes on necklaces or bracelets)
Jump rings and Chain, if you're making a necklace (and other needed jewelry making tools)

(There are a lot of details below, but the process really is suuuper easy.  I just like to include a lot of info/tips to help you out)

Before getting started go look around your house for some different small tube shaped objects (dowel, spoon handle, chap stick, etc).  Grab a ring that fits you and slip it over several objects until you find a good fit.  I have a size 5 ring finger and used one of these:
(I got those sponges from  For some reason blogger isn't allowing me to link the image, but that's where I got the image too.)

Also grab a pair of regular knit gloves.  I used these instead of oven mitts because you need good control and you'll be need to work fast.  I am not to be held accountable for any burns.  I found this technique easiest and didn't burn me at all, but use with caution.

If you don't know your ring size, measure your (warm) finger with a piece of string or wire (not too tight) then see how long it is in centimeters with a ruler.  A half size is measured by .5 cm.
Finger Size 5 = Finger’s measurement 5cm
Finger Size 6 = Finger’s measurement 5.5 cm
Finger Size 7 = Finger’s measurement 6 cm
Finger Size 8 = Finger’s measurement 6.5 cm
Finger Size 9 = Finger’s measurement 7 cm
Finger Size 10 = Finger’s measurement 7.5 cm
Finger Size 11 = Finger’s measurement 8 cm

I wear a size 5 ring on my ring finger and I found that a preshrunk 5.59" x .60" (or up to an inch depending on desired thickness) rectangle fits my finger perfect after its shrunk. 
I found those numbers by hit and miss, but if you follow the following math, it should help you find what size to cut your rectangle out at....

"Your ring size in CM" x 0.393701 = "Your ring size in INCHES"
"Your ring size in INCHES" x 2.84 = The length your preshrunk rectangle
This math isn't proven... it is just how you can get my 5.59" number.  They say that Shrinky Dinks shrink down to 1/3 the size of the original, but this size may vary.  To be sure what it will do for you, you could cut out a test rectangle from the preshrunk paper, write the original dimensions on it, shrink it, then measure the new dimensions. 

MATH TIME: To figure out what size your preshrunk rectangle needs to be, in inches, you'll want to do a little cross multiplying. Do you remember how to cross multiply?  If not, hopefully these next pictures help.
Here's a little example with random numbers to refresh your memory

Here's what we'll be doing ....

Below is a picture of a Word document I used. There are two rings on the image below (the rest are for necklaces) The blank rectangle in the picture below is my ring the bow one was one for my daughter. I drew some images on my computer in Paint (and with actual markers on the paper) and Googled other images. Using Paint to help me condense pictures saved me room on my paper inside my Word doc, so I could fill it up better
For example, check out the triangles in this picture below:

I drew the black and white triangles in Paint.  In Paint, I made one and then copied and pasted them to fit in that specific orientation so I could save room in Word (rather than making 5 upright triangles. I made some facing up and some facing down so they could be snug against each other) I selected the 5 triangles together then copied and pasted them into Word.

You may also notice that my text is backwards.  That is a preference and you don't need to do that.  In the frosted variety of Shrinky Dinks there's a smooth side and a rough side.  You are supposed to draw (or print) on the frosted side, but I prefer the look of the smooth side on the finished product so I make my text backwards so I can use the smooth side as my front.

Alrighty... now onto the official tutorial....

Be sure to follow the directions located inside your Shrinky Dinks packet.  Have your "mold" ready and nearby... you'll have maybe 10 seconds to use it after you pull the shriny dinks out of the oven.

If you've used Shrinky Dinks before, you'll remember that when they start to shrink they'll curl up and then when they're finishing up shrinking they'll lay flat again.  Don't freak out if they start curling up.  You can have a couple tooth picks ready, just in case.  TIP:  I did have two curl up and melt to themselves.  I found that if I put it in the toaster oven with the SMOOTH side UP, I didn't have a problem with any melting together.

Like the instructions say, wait 30-60 seconds after the Shrinky Dinks have stopped shrinking (that's when they're laying flat).  Then carefully and quickly pull out your tray.  Grab your mold and wrap that sucker around it as quickly and straight as you can.  My rings never closed or touched all the way when they were on the mold.  If this happens to you, quickly take it off the mold and gently push it closed with your hands. 

It cools REALLY fast (I only shrink one ring at a time).  I messed up on several rings because I didn't work fast enough (this was before I had gloves on and was working with bare hands... stupid I know.)  Well, I just plopped my "ring" back in (open end pointed up) until it lays flat again and waited 30- 60 so I knew it was heated well through again.  Then I tried the molding process again.  Let it cool and enjoy your work.

With the necklaces and bracelets, I could shrink many pieces at a time.  Just make sure you punch holes for jump rings BEFORE you bake.  You can't cut the Shrinky Dinks after they've been shrunk.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Here are some close ups of each piece...
cute scallop details on this ring (just cut before shrinking)
mustard chevron with "I need Thee every hour" detail
lovin some leopard
more chevron
 This notebook has a love note on it saying "I love you"  I'm sentimental so the 4 hearts represent our family of 4 and the 7 metal beads represent the 7 years my husband and I will be married this year.  The back page is blank and represents what our future holds.  Cheesy?... yes.... :)
a ring I made for my daughter

I added glitter to this one.  When it was done shrinky and laying flat still, I pulled it out and sprinkled glitter on it.  I put it back in and let it heat through, then I pulled it out and made the mold.  Most of the glitter stuck to the ring, but I ended up putting clear nail polish on and it is perfect.  Plus that coat of nail polish made it smooth again.

 Haha!  These two are silly to me... They don't really look like diamonds, just a design more or less.  It was fun to mess around and see what they'd look like though

 Here's another mushy sentimental necklace... perfect for Valentine's Day coming up
I love the banner look and especially in black and white
I actually wear this one in place of my wedding ring now.  Ha!

 a blue ikat design with red dot in the middle of the diamonds
 This is a bracelet for my daughter... can you tell??
I added that leopard circle to a broken necklace!
These were a LOT of fun to make.  I love all the vintage details. 
I got this last bracelet idea from this site:
They supply all these vintage pictures for you (along with more)

Hope you enjoyed!  Please take pictures of any jewelry you make... I'd love to see!!


  1. Emily, you are so creative! If you don't already have one, you should get an etsy account and sell some of the fun stuff you make. :)

  2. Thanks Tonya! I actually do have one (not that I've done a ton with it) It's a lot of fun :)


It's the cool thing to do.