Tuesday Tutorials – Shrinky Dink Buttons

Do you remember making Shrinky-Dinks when you were a kid?  I sure do, and it’s still just as much fun now as it was then.

In case you aren’t familiar with shrink plastic, it’s a nifty plastic that comes in a sheet which shrinks when you heat it into a small hard plastic piece.

I originally found this tutorial on SWP, and wanted to share it.  Definitely a fun but grown-up way to play with Shrinky-Dinks again!

Shrink Plastic Buttons

Use shrink plastic to make clothing buttons

1. The buttons. The buttons are cut from shrink paper. Make sure you use frosted, not clear! Clear works, but it won’t look like the buttons on this post. To cut the button shape, use a Fiskars Squeeze Circle punch – size large. To get the center holes, use a standard where to punch holes to make your own buttonssingle hole, hole punch. To keep each button the same, punch a large circle out on some paper, fold it in half, punch a smaller hole in place where the diagram (left) shows. Unfold it, and use it a template to get the sewing holes in exactly the same place every time.

2. The Pens. If you’re going to do this right.. use ZIG Millennium Pens, they were the best. Using this brand means you can wash your buttons and the ink won’t run or fade, whereas all of the other brands did (most of the time, the ink didn’t run completely off, but faded a lot).

3. The Template. You can download the template shown in the second photo with room to draw your own here. (This template fits the Fiskars Squeeze Circle punch – size large. You can use scissors, but you will notice the imperfections if you want the circle to be perfect.)

Okay.. lets get started!

Trace you design onto the frosted side of the shrink plastic paper

Tracing tips: You can use either colored pencils or permanent pens. At this initial stage it’s really important to keep the buttons clean from smudges.  When you shrink the buttons the colors will intensify. Any smudges (even the ones you can’t see), will become very evident.

Words must be written backwards in order to be readable. This is because the text is on the rough underside of the button, and once flipped to face the smooth side, the image will be reversed. An easy way to do this is to write your text onto the frosted side of some scrap shrink paper, flip it over, and then trace it as you see it onto your button.

Before and after.. shrinking the shrink plastic button

Shrinking the buttons: To shrink the buttons, you can use an oven or a heat gun (the kind used for embellishing). I would recommend using an oven as it’s the easiest way to start. While you’re creating your buttons, pre-heat your oven to 350F. When your buttons are ready, place the button on a baking sheet and then into the oven. Close the door and in seconds you will be able to see the buttons shrink before your eyes!!! (It never gets dull!)

After the buttons have twisted and twirled, and are LYING FLAT, it’s time to take them out.

Note: If the shrinking is taking too long, you may need to turn your oven up.


2 responses

    • Of course!

      Shrinky-Dinks is the brand name shrink plastic I use, and it can be found at most big craft stores (Pat Catan’s, Hobby Lobby, or Micheal’s). You can also check out Walmart, Target, or Toys-R-Us, I’ve had some luck finding Shrinky-Dinks there as well.

      Good luck! I hope you can find some pretty easily.

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