Friday, March 14, 2008

Fun with the Little Buggers

I worked in the child care room for Celebrate Recovery tonight, and man was I prepared! Nothing like a holiday to get you mulling over fun ideas. We had a special treat left by "Lucky the Leprechaun," and we made Shrinkydinks.

It was a fun time, though I was a little bummed that more kids didn't show up. On the other hand, it made it a really relaxing and fun night, because the only kiddo other than Nehemiah was my helper's daughter.

We went shrink plastic crazy! I had forgotten about this fun craft. And it turns out that it is cheap, easy, and takes up quite a bit of time, and in the end, you get a fun thing to take home. I'll tell you how it is done:

1.) Procure some #6 Recyclable plastic. This is the clear stuff that you often see baked goods packaged in at the grocery store. Look for that little #6 because it is the only stuff you can use effectively. They are normally clamshell style containers, and sometimes they come with salads too. Anyway, save those, because they are a little tough to find recycling centers for, and making shrinky dinks is more fun anyway!

2.) Cut it out so that you have a flat piece of the clear stuff (after you have cleaned it of course). Rough up one side with fine grit sandpaper.

3.) Then find a picture you would like to trace, or freehand something. Use permanent markers for the outlining and colored pencils to fill it in. You can use permanent markers for everything, but it is a little much for kids and gets messy quickly, so the colored pencils offer a cleaner, cheaper, more colorful option. You use these on the roughed up side of the plastic (which you made this way so that the color will stick).

4.) Use a hole punch to punch a hole on the side of your design so that you can later string it on a key chain or necklace. You could even use them as zipper pulls.

5.) Cut out around your shape and the hole.

6.) Preheat your oven to 350*F. Then place the plastic on a foil lined cookie sheet (not the airbake kind) with the foil shiny side up.

7.) Place the tray on the bottom rack and turn on the oven light if you have one.

8.) It should take about 3.5 minutes for the plastic to shrink up.

They will curl up first and then sort of flatten out. When you take them out, you can sort of flatten them out with a spatula if you need to (though we didn't have to).

I put the picture up so you can see how much they shrink.

These are really fun. And thanks to our local grocery store for donating some containers, since this was a spur-of-the-moment project plan.

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