Do Colored Pencils Work on Shrinky Dinks?

Feel like making some ornaments? Want to try out your artistic side and maybe make some earrings, a key holder, or you want to try out a simple DIY project with your child. Then you should try out a shrinky dinks project.

Shrinky Dinks have been around for a while now. They were invented in 1976 and became popular in the 1980s. However, they have started making a comeback. Shrinky Dinks are great for artists, DIYers, and families.

Shrinky dinks are also a great way to pass the time and also make some memorable ornaments while you're at it. All you need are some colored pencils, sheets of shrinky dinks paper, an oven, and you are good to go.

Do Colored Pencils Work On Shrinky Dinks
Do Colored Pencils Work On Shrinky Dinks

Shrinky dinks may be one of the most underrated craft supplies of all time. Shrinky Dinks are made of thin, flexible polystyrene sheets. The sheets can be colored, and when heated, they shrink to a third of their size and become nine times thicker and more rigid but still retain their colored design.

Some shrinky dinks come pre-cut in various shapes, while others come in sheets, which can be customized in different shapes. After getting the required forms, one can color them using sharpies or colored pencils and bake them to produce rich colored shapes.

You can color shrinky dinks using various mediums such as sharpies, colored pencils, and even acrylic paint. However, the medium you choose has a different effect on the shrinky dinks' color quality. How do other mediums affect the shrinky dinks' color quality?

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    Colored pencils: What are Colored Pencils?

    Colored pencils feature a wood casing that is filled with an oil-based pigment. The oil pigment is mixed with bonding agents to produce a rainbow of colors. Colored pencils have bright hues; they are thin, precise, and easy to handle, making them great when working on shrinky dinks.

    Color pencils vary significantly in terms of quality and usability. Therefore, it would be best if you bought some high-quality pencils to work with on your shrinky dinks. The higher your colored pencil's quality, the better your shrinky dinks will come out.

    So, Do Colored Pencils Work on Shrinky Dinks?

    You can use colored pencils on your shrinky dinks since the drawings do not bleed when exposed to heat. They are also a great option since they allow you to draw accurate figures perfect when decorating shrinky dinks.

    However, for the color to transfer more effectively to the plastic, the plastic must be sanded lightly. Sanding will allow the shrinky dinky's material to retain more color from the colored pencils and help you make better decorations.

    Frosted shrinky dinks come pre-sanded, allowing you to decorate them using colored pencils without the fuss of sanding them yourself. They are the best option in case you want to avoid the hustle of sanding them yourself.

    How Do You Sand a Shrinky Dink?

    If you want to sand a shrinky dinky, you need fine-grit sandpaper. Using this sandpaper, rough up one side of the shrinky dinks, the side where you want to color and wipe it clean with a piece of cloth. After doing this, go ahead and color the roughed side with colored pencils using your preferred colors.

    What Side Do you Color the Shrinky Dink On?

    You should, preferably, color the shrinky dinks on the side that's going to face upwards in the oven. However, you could also color the shrinky dinks on both sides since the images will not show through. If you're using colored pencils, you should ensure that both sides are sanded to allow for better color retention.

    Things you'll need

    · Scissors to cut out the shrinky dinky's shapes.

    · A hole punch to make holes on the shrinky dinks.

    · An oven for baking the shrinky dinks.

    Procedure Design and decoration

    If you have the sanded shrinky dink plastic sheets or you have smoothed the plastic non sanded sheets, then you could go ahead and decorate them with your preferred designs and decorations. After doing this, you'll be ready for your next step.

    Cutting the Sheets

    Cutting the sheets can be done before or after decorations. However, cutting them before doing any decorations can be a little risky since you won't have the right idea of where you should make your cuts. Cutting them after gives you more precision since you'd have already defined the shape you want on your shrinky dinks.

    Doing this should help make the process much more comfortable since it allows you to get a more precise outline for your shapes. Therefore, it would be preferable to make your cuts after doing your decorations.

    Punch a hole before baking the shrinky dink

    If you need to use the shrinky dink as a form of decoration like earloops, for instance, then you should cut a hole that's big enough for the ring to pass through. Keep in mind that shrinky dinks shrink after they are baked. A standard-size paper punch should be ideal for making the hole.


    It would be best if you baked the shrinky dink in a toaster oven; however, a conventional oven could still work. Keep in mind that shrinky dinks cannot be baked in a toaster oven. Place the shrinky dinks on a baking sheet, place them on top of a tray, put them in the toaster oven with the colored side facing up, and cover them with foil or brown paper.

    Heat the shrinky dinks in the oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 163 degrees Celsius for one to three minutes. Keep an eye for the shrinky dinks as they shrink. After shrinking, the pieces will lay flat. You should then wait for about 30 seconds before pulling them out of the oven.

    The Final Step

    After removing them from the oven, you should flatten them using a soft, smooth object. You should then give the shrinky dinks about 3-5 minutes to cool down before handling them with your bare hands.

    Tips for baking your shrinky dinks

    · Check on your shrinky dinks very often since other shrinky dinks take different amounts of time to bake. The bigger the shrinky dinks, the longer they'll take to bake. It won't hurt if they take a bit longer in the oven.

    · It's normal for shrinky dinks to curl. However, you should ensure that they don't come into contact with themselves or other shrinky dinks. You could take measures such as laying a wire rack on top of the shrinky dinks to avoid this.

    · You should also ensure that you don't place too many pieces in the oven simultaneously. Give the pieces an allowance of about four centimeters to avoid the shrinky dinks touching each other.

    · There is a probability that some shrinky dinks will become distorted during baking, depending on the type of shrinky dink used. To get the best shrinky dink, you should research the internet for the best shrinky dinks available on the market.

    · Oven temperatures for baking shrinky dinks vary depending on the manufacturer. It would help if you inspected the different shrinky dinks manufacturers for instructions on the best oven temperatures and how to bake the shrinky dinks.

    Other Preferred Coloring Media 


    You could color your shrinky dinks using sharpies. They work best for non-frosted, transparent shrinky dinks sheets, and it is the most preferred coloring medium. Sharpies work best because they do not evaporate. They shrink with the shrinky Dinks to bring out deep, rich colors.

    Acrylic paint

    Acrylic paint markers are also the right choice, especially for people above 12 years. They bring out more vivid results; however, they are a bit hard to apply. Acrylic paint markers require more care when painting and cannot be layered until after the first layer is dry, so that they can be frustrating for young kids.

    What not to use

    You should avoid using water-based markers or wax-based material such as crayons for coloring your shrinky dinks. They won't work since the water will evaporate, and the wax from the crayons will melt, leaving your shrinky dinks looking messy.

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    How to cut your shrinky dinks

    Bubble cut the shrinky dinks to allow for the rough edges to heal themselves. Using this technique is also great to use when you want to avoid breaking the shrinky Dinks when cutting them. If you accidentally cut something off completely, you should keep on baking all the pieces and glue them together once you're done.

    Can shrinky dinks be overbaked?

    Leaving your shrinky dinks unattended could leave you with a hot gooey plastic mess, especially if you've preheated your oven. It would be best if you were around since the whole process takes under five minutes to complete.

    Do colored pencils work on shrinky dinks? Yes, they do, and they are great coloring media. Making shrinky dinks can be a great family project and a fun way to make yourself some trinkets. If you want to discover your artistic nature, you should try coloring your shrinky dinks, baking them, and creating unique art.

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      Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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