Sunday, August 7, 2011

Adventures with Shrinky Dinks

Hi Friends and Fellow Crafters!
Did you ever have one of those crafting experiences that you just have to share so that you can prevent your crafting friends from suffering the same fate as you? If you scare easily, read no further, but if you wish to avoid the pain I have suffered over that past week, come with me on this journey...
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned I was in my first online swarm at the Cricut Circle Message Boards. I had so much fun, and even won a fun prize from my fellow Circle member Sara. When you participated in the swarm, you were asked if you wanted to be in a swap. It has been ages since I did a Cricut Swap, so I went ahead and signed up for a charm swap. Easy, right? Twenty-five charms by August 13th. Totally possible. Or was it?
Last week, on the swap thread, most members were saying they were using Shrinky Dink material and their Imagines. Sounded awesomely simple, pick an image from my Snow Angel Cart, place material on mat, cut, bake, done! So here is how it went for me.
Mt first attempt

I tried the imagine cart ornament first, blech...
Next I cut an ice skate from my Trim the Tree Seasonal Cart, and colored it with copics. the color was very light when I colored it, but I had the bright idea to add Holographic Embossing powder and heat it with a heat gun after I baked the shrinky dink. Another blech...
Next came a trip to AC Moore and I broke my spending ban, I picked up Grafix White Shrinky Dink Material. Using a coupon, it was under $4.00 so I didn't beat myself up too much about that. My Mom picked up a package, and I picked one up. That would give me 12 sheets. I figured that would be plenty to cut 25 images. Plus, I just knew that it would work great with the Imagine, or would it?
Here's what happened
Yuck. Then on top of that, I ended up tossing some material out because I had no idea I could wipe it off and use it again. Thanks to my Circle friends, I found out that it could be re-used, so I dug it back out of the trash! Since it was already cut, I couldn't use it on the charms, so I'll stamp or color them with copics some other day. (or year!)
Next came some great advice from my friends at the message boards. Test the Shrinky Dink material by licking my finger and when press it on the paper, it will stick on the side to use.
That worked! I made sure I had the right side, sanded the material and tried again. I had better results, but for some reason, the first image on my material still had the line running down it. I decided that I wanted to use this cute snowman, but even cutting on multi cut 3 with the Imagine, it was still giving me trouble and I ended up tearing about 12 snowmen trying to separate them from the material. Back to the message boards I went, where I read to make sure to clean the blade often. Sure enough, my blade had a powder substance on it that was what was causing me all that trouble! Thanks to Sara for that helpful tidbit!
I decided to switch to a round image and tried again after going to AC Moore and buying even more Shrinky Dink material. This time I was on my own at the store, but I had $10.00 off a purchase of a $25.00 art supply purchase. Seems that Shrinky Dink material is considered kids crafts. Thanks for nothing AC Moore! LOL!
I left my extra Shrinky Dink materials behind, and went home with one package that I used another 40% off coupon on.  I attempted to use Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel on my charms like a fellow swapper Nadia, did, check out her blog here, it's awesome. Here's how mine turned out
Yeah, it's not your eyes, that's how it turned out. Cloudy...I tried going a different route and slowly added the UTEE, this is what happened
It got bubbly and was uneven. It wasn't as cloudy as the first ones, but ick, not swappable at all. Maybe, I thought to myself, Diamond Glaze could work if I put it on slowly.
That doesn't work, unless you seal the charm first. LOL! Back to the message boards, and I got some great ideas about sealing them with spray sealers. I had a can of Duncan High Gloss sealer, so back to oven I went, made about 14  more, and off to spray them. The 1st one turned out great! I gathered up the other 13 or so and here's what happened to all of them
Yellowed! The whole lot of  'em! So here's what I was left with

What a bubbled, yellowed, cloudy, bleeping mess! LOL! By now it's Thursday night, and my sweetie is out jammin' with his band. I can't leave my Son and my Mom alone while they are both awake, so I get up early Friday morning before my son, and run out to Michael's, which is less than 10 minutes from me, grab a can of Krylon Triple Thick Clear Glaze, and head back home. My son is still sleeping, and my Mom felt like she helped out, so I am officially on a winning streak! I cut 20 charms, but didn't take into consideration the 1st one that smears as I mentioned earlier in this post. Still not considering the loss of material, I spray all the charms I have so far, and yeah! They look fabulous! I lost a couple of them, but still, they turned out good, right?
I was well on my way to having them finished and ready for mailing by Saturday, until I went to cut more of them and realized I was out of White Shrinky Dink Material!!! Oh No! I walk into the craft room, grab my Gypsy, open a new project. I chose the Circle Logo from Everyday Cricut, and a Santa Hat from Joys Of The Season, weld them together, size them to 3.5 inches and grab the Grafix Matte Shrinky Dink material that I originally had sitting in my craft area. I tape it to my mat and cut it on my Imagine! It needed one slight tweak, I had to set the multi-cut back to 1, because it tore the material at 3. Once I had the first cut the way I liked it, I copied the image to my Gypsy file page and cut away. I was able to cut 30 of them with the 6 pieces from the package that I already had! I finally had what I considered to be an acceptable swap charm! Now, with fingers crossed, I hoped I could finish them without the drama from the past 4 days!
Here's what I used ( I also used Candy Cane Stickles, but it was MIA for the photo)

I colored my Circle Logo with copic colors G17 and RV29. I decided to try embossing powder one more time and used red Zing on the hat after I colored it with the copic. It adhered nicely to the copic. I baked them at 300 degrees for about 6 minutes.

When I took them out of the oven, here's what they looked like

I didn't think I wanted to send them like that, the Zing looked OK, there was some sparkle, but, it could be better. I grabbed some Candy Cane Stickles and added it to the hat. I let that dry, then used some Diamond Glaze on the Circle and added MS Peridot Glitter. That looked pretty, very sparkly. The hat need something extra on the trim, so I used a Glitter Snow Writer on it and I was done!!!!!  I used my Imagine and Snow Angel Cart to cut cards for them. I used a dollar stamp to add Happy Holidays to the cards, and pierced them. Finally, I used some floral wire to attach the charms. Here is the finished product
And here are 25 of them!
I put them in ATC sleeves and they are ready to be mailed tomorrow!
If you have been considering making shrinky dink charms, I hope you will not have to ever follow in my footsteps! It was quite the experiment for me, and I still don't really know why everything went so wrong at the start. Maybe my Circle Charms were meant to be, well, Circle charms!
Happy Crafting!


  1. These are fabulous! Shrinky dinks! So much fun!

  2. thansk for this I will be coming back to follow your directions...want to try this soon

  3. Wow!! What a process you had to go through and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the final charms! How cute!!!!!!! Now, I love surprises, so I should not have peeked, but I know you have been having a crazy ordeal with these puppies and just couldn't help myself! Can't wait to have one in my hot little hands!

  4. Sorry you had so many problems, but the end result was worth it. These are so cute!

  5. Wow despite the mishaps they turned out great. I do believe that the cricut charms were meant to be. I have wanted to do some charms even went so far as to purchase the shrinky dink material, but I have not done anything with it. I hope I don't follow in the unfortunate part of the story, I just want the happy ending. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Colleen, I have not been able to check your blog for the past month, but wow, what you went through for your charms! I really like the final product though. And I am sure you will come up with something to use all the other things on too!

  7. These came out wonderful!! What an adventure getting them done, yikes! And FYI - I have not shrinky dink'ed since I was a kid and after reading this post I felt the need to pick up a pack of clear sheets and try them with my little one. Thank you for the inspiration! :D

  8. Wow, Colleen! You had quite an experience with shrinky dinks, but look at what you came up with!! Even though you had many mishaps, look how much trouble you saved someone else. I had some issues too. I'm just glad I got them done!

    Yours came out awesome and I can't wait to see them.