My Material Life

Make Your Own Charms with Shrinky Dinks

These are fun, aren’t they? We made these for a 4th grade Project Cornerstone activity at school last week.  They were inspired by a Shrinky Dinks kit I’ve had my eye on, these American Girl charms, and the shape and symbol of a shield that came with my Project Cornerstone lesson plan.

My experiment and example shield is shown in the upper left corner of the photo gallery above.  In this lesson, we were talking about “standing tall” and feeling confident.  Thanks to a tip I got from another parent and Project Cornerstone volunteer, we also talked about “power poses” and how to use body positions to trick your mind into feeling more confident.  That’s the classic power pose position that you see on my shield and many of the kids’ shields.  You can watch social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk here and learn about the science behind this.  The video is about twenty minutes long.  Be sure not to stop watching before she gets to sharing her own story – it’s worth it.

So just what are Shrinky Dinks?  Shrinky Dinks are sheets of shrinkable plastic (similar look and feel to sheets of acetate) that you can color (we used Crayola colored pencils) and cut and then bake in a toaster or regular oven.  The material shrinks to 1/3 its original size and becomes 9 times thicker once baked.  And, you can actually shape it for a short period of time after it comes out of the oven.  Think of the possibilities!

The kids colored and cut their shields in class, then I took them all home for baking.  I used a hole puncher to make a hole in the top of each shield.  Then I baked 4 at a time for approximately 4 minutes.  I finished each tag or charm with an inexpensive jump ring and split ring.  All materials are available from Michaels.  We used the Frosted Ruff N’ Ready package of 10 – 8″x10″ sheets.  We still have plenty left over which should be fun to experiment with as the holidays approach.

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