Shrinky Dinks Still Delight

shrinky dinksRemember Shrinky Dinks? I vaguely did. I recall having fun with some of those pre-made sets as a child. You know the ones. Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Ninja Turtles and others would clutter up your desks and shelves, eventually falling to the floor, underfoot, to become carpet shrapnel.

Which is why, when one of my best friends suggested we Shrink all the Dinks the other day, I heartedly agreed with and backed the plan. We’re mature, elegant, artistic adults! We don’t need any stinking, ready made sheets. We would strike forth to create our own magical, perhaps even lucky, charms.

Our journey took us to Michaels, which we knew would have to have Shrinky Dinks. A knowledgeable guide provided safe passage to the correct aisle and, after some debate, we had acquired the sheets. Collecting the Sharpees to color them in proved harder. Can you believe, in some areas of Chicago, Michaels locks up the Sharpees? Apparently, there were… incidents. Let’s not get into them.

The funny thing about a communal art project is that you suddenly get an inflated self-image. We knew all about Shrinky Dinks. We’d made them as kids. We had this. There were at least 20 years of knowledge and experience between our last Dink Shrinking escapade and now. We were of the delusion this would be easy. Not to say that it wasn’t, but that some people were better than others. For example, this is a picture of my in-progress Dinks.
shrinky dinkTo compare, a certain, show-off-y friend who might just be a professional artist decided to Shrink these Dinks.

shrinky dinkClearly, someone set out to make the rest of us look bad.

The second issue came when it was time to begin the Shrinky Dink process. They become the teeniest, most adorable things ever after being placed in an oven or toaster oven. We had access to the later, and were prepared to watch the magic happen. First, however, we prepared sacrifice charms. I would offer up my Rosie (from Animal Crossing: New Leaf) head and one of my friends agreed to put her cockatiel inside.

We watched, we waited, and it seemingly failed.

Yes, failed. The Dinks certainly shrank a bit, but also curved and contorted. Distraught (and impatient), we withdrew our sacrifices and attempted to gently bend them into a proper position. (A choice quote for this moment was, “Why didn’t this work?” ) We attempted to gently bend them into shape for a few minutes. Meanwhile, our more reasonable friend sought the advice of the Great Google, discovered that it needed more like 2-3 minutes, rather than the single minute mentioned in the instructions, and we went on to shrink 15 of the cutest, teeniest Shrinky Dinks ever.

shrinky dinkAs for the whole moral/point of this little anecdote, well… over 40 years after their creation, Shrinky Dinks are still fun!