These buttons started out their young, plastic lives as a deli container full of gooey cinnamon buns. Shrinky Dinks brand plastic sheets are made of exactly the same stuff as #6 plastic food containers– a perfectly sound excuse to raid the grocery store bakery section!
Scrutinize the stamped label on the bottom of the container. Many plastics are now the #1 recyclable variety, and only #6 can be shrunk. The plastic shrinks to approximately 30% of its original size, and it can be used to make tags, wine charms, key rings, or jewelry. I made my own buttons– thrilled that I could create something functional out of something that would otherwise be in the landfill.
To state the obvious: this project involves melting plastic. If that freaks you out, don’t do it. I personally noticed no fumes, and Shrinky Dinks are marketed to kids, for pete’s sake; however, if putting plastic in the oven sounds like a bad idea to you, maybe try making a headband or re-furbishing a lampshade instead.
What You Need:
#6 plastic food container
foil-lined cookie sheet
What To Do:
2. For a circular button, draw a circle on a piece of paper to make a template. My circle is 2″ in diameter, and my finished, shrunk buttons are about 2/3″ wide. Trace the circle shape onto a piece of the #6 plastic with a permanent marker. Color in a design. I drew loopy scribbles that I hoped would look vaguely like camellia petals once they shrunk. The color really concentrates when the plastic shrinks, so keep in mind that what seems very sheer at this point will be much brighter in the finished product.
5. Place the plastic on the foil-lined cookie sheet and put in the pre-heated oven. Bake for three minutes. The plastic will curl as it shrinks and then re-flatten. Remove from the oven. If the plastic is still wavy, use an oven glove to press it down flat.