In Elementary

Once upon a time in a land far away, before cable TV and video games, when kids had to chase the ice cream man with their Big Wheels – not their parent’s SUVs – doting moms were concerned that their children would overheat from too much freeze tag, so they had to pull some amazing stuff out of their apron pockets to entice kids to come inside for a few minutes each day. A glass of Tang and a Ding Dong weren’t enough, no siree, these smart moms knew they had to shrink it so they would come.

Arts & crafts fads come and go.  Weaving potholders on a loom?  Gone with the last episode of The Partridge Family. Paint by numbers and latch hook rugs?  Gone.  Gone.  But Shrinky Dinks, on the other hand, have withstood the test of time, and we’ve come up with a cool sculpture project that will take these amazing miniatures into the 21st century – a Shrinky Dink Dream Catcher + Memory Keeper!  Draw all of your favorite people, places & things, shrink ’em and hang them onto a wire sculpture, along with lots of other little treasured mementos!

You Need:

  • Two to three sheets of shrinking plastic.  When heated in an oven, Shrinky Dinks shrink to approximately 40% of their original size, and become about the thickness of a nickel and very hard, without losing their original color or shape.
  • Sharpies or other permanent markers.
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Wood base
  • Flexible wire that is easy to bend (14 gauge is recommended, but any flexible wire will do)
  • Staple gun
  • Lots of stuff to wrap around the wire to form the dream catcher / memory keeper – such as fishing wire, yarn, string, thread, ribbon, etc.  Load it up! This will help you hang all of your cool stuff!
  • All of your favorite stuff to decorate the sculpture!  This could include beads, buttons, jewels, ticket stubs, small pictures, notes from your friends, scraps of fabric, paper, ribbon, etc.

How to Do It:

  • Using Sharpies or other permanent markers, draw as many pictures on the Shrinky Dinks as you would like. The more populated the dream catcher, the more interesting it will be. Do not use waxy materials to draw on the Shrinky Dinks (like crayons, oil pastel, waxy colored pencils etc.) as they will rub off. Punch them with a hole punch. The holes will shrink to the size where you can still insert a thread or piece of fishing wire.
  • Follow directions on the Shrinky Dink package to bake. Most shrinking plastic calls for heating at 300 degrees for approximately 3 – 5 minutes. There will be a lot of curling while they are shrinking, which is very fun to watch, but don’t interfere with the shrinking process by trying to flatten them out! They will eventually become totally flat on their own, and that is how you’ll know they are done! Let cool before removing from baking sheet.
  • With the assistance of an adult, attach a two to three foot length of wire onto the wood base with a staple gun (bend the edges where the wire meets the wood, and staple on top).
  • Bend and loop the sculpture wire to form lots of interesting twists and curves Wrap the wire with yarn, string, colored thread and anything that looks interesting. Use your favorite colors and materials!
  • Carefully hang your miniatures on the sculpture, along with lots of other stuff and little scraps of mementos that remind you of happy times with your friends and family, or help you dream about your future!

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