Christmas is almost here and I’ve got one more simple project to share with you. We took some of our favorite book characters and turned them into Shrinky Dink ornaments and charms. It all started when my daughter asked to make a caterfly ornament. Caterflies are the magical creatures in the latest book of the Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro. We were sent a copy for review. Affiliate links are included in this post. I may be compensated for purchases made from links in this post.
How to Turn Your Favorite Book Characters into Shrinky Dink Ornaments or Charms
Do you remember Shrinky Dinks? I had so much fun making jewelry and charms with Shrinky Dinks as a child. We used stamps. One of my neighbors had a huge collection of rubber stamps. She taught us how to make all kinds of crafts with them. My favorite was Shrinky Dink ear rings. Some people say you can use #6 clear plastic to make your own shrinky dinks. I prefer to buy the actual Shrinky Dink plastic. When some plastics melt (#6 being one type), they release unpleasant or even toxic chemicals. This is why I choose to use the Shrinky Dink plastic with a formula that’s been tested in the oven. The instructions do say to use in a well ventilated area. I have not noticed any odor or fumes from the store bought Shrinky Dinks.
I picked up the Frosted Ruff n’ Ready Shrinky Dink Sheets from Hobby Lobby. I originally wanted the Crystal Clear Shrinky Dinks but they were out of stock at the store. The frosted sheets have been sanded on one side so you can use colored pencils on the sanded side or permanent markers or pens on the non-sanded side.
We used our new Sharpie makers set we got for our Chromatography (Tie Dye) Christmas Ornaments sponsored by Sharpie. It was nice to have a mix of fine tip markers, ultra fine tip markers, and Sharpie pens.
The Book Characters
Let’s talk about the book characters for the ornaments or charms. My kids and I love the Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro. Caterflies and Ice is the latest book in the series and it’s my favorite one yet. Zoey and Sassafras are asked to help rescue the caterfly eggs that have been trapped behind some ice. As in the previous books, Zoey uses science and experimentation to try to solve the problem. I love how the science concepts are seamlessly woven into the magical storyline.
In addition to the caterflies from the latest book, we chose characters from the first book, Dragons and Marshmallows. Marshmallow (the dragon), Pip (the frog), two caterflies, Zoey, and Sassafras (the cat) are all available for your personal or classroom use. Download the Zoey and Sassafras Shrinky Dinks printable PDF. The character art is used with permission from The Innovation Press. Do not share or distribute.
How to Make the Shrinky Dink Ornaments
I have made the image sizes about 4.5 inches square. After they shrink, they will be about 1.5 inches square. The Shrinky Dinks shrink to 1/3 of the original.
Print the images on regular printer paper. Then trace them onto the Shrinky Dinks paper. Tape the Shrinky Dink paper onto the printer paper so it won’t move. (They also make some Shrinky Dink paper for ink jet printers. It’s a bit more expensive buy it will save time.)
Here’s a tip: we found it easier to color the images first with permanent markers/pens and then outline them. When we outlined first, it was more difficult to color in as the Sharpies outline smeared.
Lily (age 3.5) colored in her caterfly and then I outlined and cut it for her. Be careful when cutting the Shrinky Dink paper especially when turning around a corner. It tears easily.
Aiden (age 8) completed all of the coloring and cutting himself. In addition to Marshmallow, he made a Minecraft diamond sword. (I found an image online and adjusted it to the correct size.) Here’s a size comparison below. On the left is before shrinking. On the right is after shrinking.
You can add holes to the Shrink Dink ornaments with a simple hole punch. Be sure to do this before placing in the oven.
Follow the directions that came with the Shrinky Dink paper for shrinking. It’s cool to watch the plastic curl up in the oven and then flatten back out smaller. Notice how the colors intensify a bit.
Doesn’t the caterfly look lovely on the tree?
Caterflies and Ice Giveaway on Instagram
Head over to Instagram for a chance to win a copy of Caterflies and Ice plus a caterfly ornament. (Ends 12/22 at midnight.)
GIVEAWAY — I have an extra copy of Caterflies and Ice, the latest book in the Zoey and Sassafras series by Asia Citro! I’m partnering with @theinnovationpress to give the book to one of you. I’ll also send you one of the adorable little caterflies we made. ❄️ How to enter: 1️⃣ Like this photo 2️⃣ Follow me @inspire_labs AND @theinnovationpress 3️⃣ Tag friends. 1 tag = 1 entry (separate comments please) Giveaway ends 12/22 at midnight. US only, 18+. Random winner will be chosen. ❄️ Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
More Zoey and Sassafras Themed Activities
- Try a Food Science Experiment inspired by Dragons and Marshmallows
- Make Science Investigations Fun with Cool Science Tools – pair this activity with Merhorses and Bubbles
- Check out all of our Favorite Dragon Books for Kids
Subscribe to the Inspiration Laboratories newsletter. Each issue has exclusive hands-on science explorations for children, a recap of our latest activities, and special resources selected just for you!