As kids in the 80’s we remember the Shrinky Dinks craze – when we would huddle in front of our oven to see our creations magically shrink before our eyes.
Well, the kid in us is so excited to breathe some new life back into the shrink film of our childhood, and teach you how to create a stunning keepsake that is not only unique and meaningful, but super easy to make.
With just a few simple supplies and your children’s creativity, you can create seriously stunning personalized keychains that will be a total hit with Mom or Grandma this Mother’s Day.
So grab your shrink film and let’s get shrinking!
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PIN for when Mother’s Day is drawing near and you need an awesome gift!
Before we get into the full tutorial, how about a sneak peak at these awesome creations?
- Shrinky Dinks Paper: We used this Shrinky Dinks Frosted Ruff N’ Ready Creative Pack, but any shrink film will do.
- Keychain: We went with one of these handy Lobster Claw hooks we picked up from our local craft store, but they’re fairly inexpensive on Amazon (and you’ll end up with plenty so you can make these for all your family and friends!)
- 10mm Open Jump Rings
- Hole Punch
- Sharpies, colored pencils or other permanent markers
- Optional: Leather Tassels
To create these beautiful initial keychains, you’ll first want to print out the initials you’ll be using (we selected the initials of our kids, but you could use Mom’s initials or get creative and spell out M-O-M or I-❤-U)
We found that creating a simple Word document and typing the letters using “Franklin Gothic Heavy” font in size 400 worked perfectly. If you want to get fancy and try a script font, have at it.
Once you have your letters printed, simply put the Shrinky Dinks Paper over them (rough side up) and have you or your kids trace the outline with a Sharpie.
Then let your kids go wild creating designs and coloring them in. Colored pencils or more permanent-type markers work best (washable Crayolas tend to blead and smudge). We used a fine-tipped Sharpie and these Paper Mate ones with great results.
You can even have your kids write a sweet message on them to amp up the aww-factor even more.
Remember that when you shrink them the colors will intensify and any “mistakes” tend to magically disappear – so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Once your letters are colored, you’ll want to punch your hole slightly above the top outline. You can then take a sharp pair of scissors and cut around the edges, about a ¼” or so from the edge of the outline and around the hole. If you have letters with a middle section like “D” or “B” you can use a utility or X-acto knife to cut out the center (or honestly, save yourself the trouble and just let it be).
Now you’re ready to bake!
Preheat your oven to 350ºF and place your creations on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, a few inches apart.
Pop it into the oven, turn on the oven light and anxiously await the shrinking to begin.
After about a minute your heart will start racing as your handi-work starts to shrivel up and look totally warped. But keep calm and watch on. We promise, everything will be OK.
In due time (usually another minute or so), the designs will flatten out and stop shrinking. At that point, give them another 30 seconds and then take them out of the oven.
If they’re not completely flat against the baking sheet, take a spatula and press down on them while they’re still warm.
Ta-da! Aren’t they incredible!
HEADSHOT KEYCHAIN CHARM
Now if you want to go one step further and personalize these creations even more, try your hand at adding a custom headshot of your child by following the steps below.
Grab a head-and-shoulders photograph of your child (4×6 school photos are great for this) and place the key chain on top. Using a fine-tip Sharpie, trace the outline of their features and clothing. Older kids can do this themselves, younger kids will likely want to leave this step to mom or dad if you want to end up with any sort of resemblance.
Color them in or leave them as is. Follow the steps above to punch the hole, cut, shrink and assemble.
Combine with your child’s initial for a super custom feel. If you’d like to jazz it up even more, add on one of these cool leather tassels.
And there you have it, the perfect meaningful Mother’s Day gift for Mom or Grandma that didn’t break the bank.
What do you think – will you be making these as a special keepsake this Mother’s Day?