Upcycled Fun: Making Your Own Shrink Art

Below the slideshow are my step-by-step instructions for making your own shrink art. I hope you and your family have as much fun as my family and I have had!

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Materials Needed:
-Polystyrene container (imprinted with “PS” underneath #6 recycling triangle)
-Markers (Sharpies work well)
-Baking sheet

Optional Materials:
-Hole punch, if you want to hang or string your finished shrink art
-Templates, if you want to create a specific shape or size
-Painter’s blue tape, to hold the template in place while you trace around it on the plastic
-Parchment paper, helpful to ensure shrink art doesn’t stick to baking sheet

(1) Wash and dry your polystyrene container.

(2) Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

(3) Cut out desired shapes from container.

(4) Color or decorate these pieces as desired, leaving space to punch holes in the pieces if you want to hang them or string them together when done.

(5) Use hole punch to add holes for hanging or stringing your finished pieces.

(6) Place pieces onto baking sheet (or if using parchment, on parchment on baking sheet), spaced evenly around the baking sheet, making sure none are touching. (If they touch each other, they will fuse together during baking.)

(7) Place baking sheet into 350 degree oven and watch as your pieces shrink.
– They may curl, but will usually flatten themselves out while baking.
– Baking time will vary depending on many things—your oven, baking sheet, thickness of polystyrene, size of shapes—so watch closely as your pieces are baking.
– It will usually only take 1 to 4 minutes to completely shrink your pieces.

Things to remember when making your own shrink art:
** Don’t forget to punch holes into your pieces BEFORE baking if you intend to hang or use string with them. The plastic hardens upon baking and it is very difficult to drill a hole through a baked piece without breaking or marring it.

** Watch closely as your pieces bake. Depending on your oven, baking sheet, thickness of polystyrene used, and size of your shapes, bake times can vary greatly.

** Some polystyrene will curl and not flatten itself out during baking. In my experience, this is relatively rare, but it does happen, so you may want to test a smaller batch of pieces before you spend a lot of time creating more.

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  1. Pingback: Having Fun with Upcycled Materials | MakerKnit.com

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