Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shrinky-Dink Dog Tags: The Tutorial

Let’s get down to it.  We’re here to make some Shrinky-Dink dog tags.

I’m amazed that a lot of people don’t seem to know what Shrinky-Dinks are.   They were a crafting staple when I was a kid so I assumed they were for everyone.  I guess not.  Anyhow, they are sheets of plastic that you can draw on with markers, pencils, pens, etc.  Then you can cut them out and shrink them in the oven.  When they shrink, the plastic gets thicker and stronger.  Perfect for a dog tag!

What’s great is that these days, they have printable Shrinky-Dink sheets that you can run through your ink jet printer.  A pack of 6 sheets cost about $8 after using my 40% off coupon at the local Hobby Lobby.  I could fit 8 on a sheet so that’s 48 tags for the price that one would cost at that big box pet store.  Ha!

To make this project you will need:
·        Printable Shrinky-Dinks
·        A good, sharp scissors
·        A quarter inch hole punch
·        An oven or toaster oven
·        Parchment or a brown paper bag
·        Spray sealer
First, you need to create your design.  I used Illustrator to design my dog bone shaped tag, but you can use whatever program you have available to you.  If you prefer, buy the regular Shrinky-Dinks and draw your design free hand.  You can use markers, colored pencils, pens, rubber stamps, or anything else that will stick to the surface.  You want to draw your design about 2-3 times as large as you want the final product to be.
My design printed on paper for a test run.
Next, cut out your design.  Use a small scissors that is sharp all the way to the point if you have one.  It will help you get into the nooks and crannies.  You could also use a craft knife and cutting mat if you wanted.  Craft punches work great, too.  As a matter of fact, that’s what I used to make the hole for the ring—a regular old ¼ inch hole punch.

My tag before shrinking is much larger than it will be after.
Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 275 degrees.  Cover your baking sheet with parchment or a piece of brown paper bag.  Place your cut out tag on the parchment and stick it in the oven for about 3 minutes.  It will probably start to curl and shrink within the first minute.  Don’t worry, it will flatten itself out.  Once it is into it’s fully shrunky-dunk state, pull it out of the oven, and remove the parchment from the baking sheet.  Let it cool.

Finally, the package instructions say to spray the finally product with a sealer to keep the inks fresh.  I used glossy because I like shiny things.

I do have a few other tips if you decide to try this yourself:
·        The Shrinky-Dink sheets are smaller than a normal letter-sized sheet of paper.  Keep that in mind when creating your design.  Keep everything centered on the page so it doesn’t get cut off when you print.
·        I created a semi-circle on top of my tag for my loop.  Make sure it’s big enough that after you punch it and it shrinks, it will still be thick enough to stand up to doggish shenanigans.  In other words, don’t punch too close to the edge.
·        Colors will darken and intensify when the Shrinky-Dink is shrunky-dunk so make sure your original design is a couple of shades lighter than you want the finished product to be.
·        If you want to be really cheap, instead of buying Shrinky-Dink sheets, you can use any plastic that is marked with the number 6 (like clear plastic containers that berries or prepared salads often come in). Before hitting the craft store, check your recycle bin!

That’s all there is to it.  Make yourself a whole sheet of dog tags at once and never have to buy them again.  
A dog as cute as this needs an extra cute dog tag.

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2 comments:

Marilyn said...

Your blog is awesome :)) Great tutorial..Awesome idea.. I found ya via Made By You Monday hop and I'm officially following your blog with smiles..Can't wait to read more..Hope you can stop in and say hello sometime :)) Ty.. I'm Marilyn from http://theartsygirlconnection.blogspot.com

Terry said...

Awww,..these are super cute. I've never heard of shrinky dink, lol.

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