by Noreen Doll.
Mini shrinky ornaments are perfect for Advent Calendars, as well as the tips of branches on a Christmas tree.
And they would be perfect for little girl’s jewelry, key chains, backpack or cell phone dangles, or zipper pulls.
More ideas for using them are hair barrettes and package decoratiions.
And these mini ornaments are something kids and adults can make together.
Look through coloring books, childrens’ books, or magazines for pictures to trace, or encourage your children to use their creative ideas for these ornaments.
I used these mini ornaments for some of the ornaments on the advent calendar I made for my kids.
It would make a fun family time to create them together during the week between Thanksgiving and the first of December.
What You Need
Shrink Plastic in clear, opaque/frosty, or white
Colored Pencils or Permanent Markers (I like Sharpies)
Pictures to Trace
What You Do
1. Find a picture you want to trace or draw one on a sheet of paper.
2. Place a sheet of shrink plastic on top of the picture and use a couple of small pieces of masking tape to hold the plastic to the paper. You don’t want the plastic to move while you are coloring it.
I used opaque or frosty shrink plastic.
3. I like to trace all the lines in black before I fill in the color, because it defines the areas of color.
If you aren’t sure about how you want it, make a couple of test pieces, trying different ways and then shrink them to see the result.
4. When you add the color, don’t color all the way to the traced lines, but leave a bit of space.
The color intensifies when the mini shrinky ornament is shrunk and can make details difficult to see.
In the two photos just below, the bear on the left is colored with pencil, and the bear on the right is colored with a Sharpie.
Color before shrinking.
Color after shrinking.
Light colors will look darker after shrinking. You can see how very dark the darker one became after it was shrunk.
5. Be careful to not rub your hand over the colored areas as you work, as the Sharpie ink takes a few minutes to dry.
6. After you’ve finished coloring, let your pieces dry a few minutes and then cut them out – using a pair of scissors.
7. Punch a hole in the top using a regular size punch. Remember, the hole will shrink as well as the ornament.
8. Place a piece of foil or brown paper bag on a cookie sheet and lay your ornament on top.
9. Bake. Be sure an adult does the baking part!
Follow the directions on your shrink plastic package for oven temperature.
I have 2 different brands of shrink plastic. One says to bake at 250 degrees, and one says use 325 degrees.
The 250 degree oven didn’t work very well – it didn’t get hot enough to melt the plastic very well. When I put the plastic back in and turned the oven to 325 degrees, the ornament finished melting properly.
Don’t panic if your plastic curls up into a ball. Leave it in the oven and it will relax flat. If not, gently pry apart any edges that are stuck together. (I use 2 forks.)
Sometimes it needs a little help to get flat. If it looks like a bowl and won’t relax further, remove it from the oven and turn it over. Press down in the center if you can.
Put it back in the oven and allow it to flatten. If necessary, you can use a spatula to finish flattening the ornament if it is almost flat, while it is still warm.
If your mini shrinky ornaments will be used for jewelry or dangles, give them 2 light coats (Very Light – as the color may run) of acrylic spray, allowing them to dry between coats.
This will help prevent the color chipping off.
Usually the plastic shrinks to about 1/4 of its original size, and is about 4 times as thick. However different brands shrink differently.
You can make an actual size ruler from shrink plastic, and then shrink it to determine the amount of shrinkage.
Or you can make a test piece before you start your actual project. For the ornaments shrinkage amount doesn’t really matter so much, though you don’t want advent calendar ornaments too big.
If the mini plastic ornament isn’t shrinking properly, relax. Give it time to finish its job.
If that isn’t working, then turn the oven heat up a little to help it along.