Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tutorial: Shrinky Dink Necklaces for Valentine's Day

I never was much of a fan of the holiday/craft thing till I had kids and now I feel like I am making up for lost time. My son was interested in making something for Valentine's Day this year, but candy is not allowed at his school. A few days later a co-worker and I were talking about creative Valentine's Day cards and she told me about how she and her daughter (this was back in the 90s) used Shrinky Dinks to make name plates for the children to put on little handmade satchel bags one year. The Shrinky Dink idea stuck with me and when I mentioned it to my son, he was all over it. Mainly because it involved using the oven and an oven mitt. But instead of name plates, we decided on making necklaces for his classmates. Below is a short tutorial on how we made Shrinky Dink Valentine's Day Necklaces for my son's first grade classmates.

Shrinky Dink Valentine's Day Necklaces
Makes 35 necklaces

Here is what you need:

1 package (6 plain sheets) of Shrinky Dink paper
A hole punch
Sharpie markers in a variety of colors
Necklace string (you could use yarn or even embroidery thread)

Have your child draw all over the sheets of Shrinky Dink paper with the Sharpie markers. This took us a few days since my son lost interest pretty quickly with drawing. I didn't want to prod him too much with the drawing, so he did a variety of rainbows, stars, smiley faces, squiggly lines and lots of hearts with arrows.

I cut a heart out of an index card measuring 2-1/4" across the widest part to use as a template. You can play around with the size of the heart, since the Shrinky Dink will... wait for it... shrink quite a bit. Our hearts shrunk down to 1 inch after it was baked. Carefully cut out the Shrinky Dink hearts.

Put a hole punch in the heart, but not too close to the edge. If the hole is too close to the edge then it will crack like an egg. I wrote out each child's name on the heart to personalize it a little bit.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and have your foil covered cookie sheet in the oven while it warms. You want the cookie sheet to be hot when you are ready to bake the Shrinky Dinks. Place the cut-out hearts on the cookie sheet in the oven quickly. Make sure to turn the inner oven light on so your kids can watch the Shrinky Dinks do their magic. This was by far the best part of the whole process for my kids.

When the Shrinky Dinks stop moving and flatten out - usually within one minute - take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let them cool off. If any were a little lumpy when they first came out then I used my oven glove to gently press down and flatten them out. If they are not done yet or look a little wonky, then you can put the sheet back in the oven and they will flatten out.

Lace the necklace string through the hole punch and, Viola! You have just made a totally cute handmade Shrinky Dink Valentine Necklace!

I cut 4x4 cards from some cheap-o card stock paper we got on clearance from Michael's and my son signed the cards.

Other cool Shrinky Dink tutorials:


  1. Thanks for this idea. The thought of ME doing all the work on her kindergarten Valentine's Day cards is not exciting...nor are store bought cards (at lease not to me). This is a great craft her to take the lead in and, we happen to have several sheets of shrinky dink paper at home! She loves to make jewelry. We're going to do necklaces for the girls and backpack tags for the boys :-)

    1. I am so glad you liked it! It was a fun thing to do with my kids and I was surprise at how much they could do by themselves. Once I showed my (then) 6 year old how to thread the necklace, he even took over that task. I hope yours turn out well! Happy Valentine's Day!