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Be a Kid Again—Make Your Own Shrinky-Dink Buttons!

Jul 21, 2010

How long have you searched for the perfect button? Still searching? Well I've got the solution for you!

Remember when you were a kid and you used to do Shrinky-Dinks—where you colored in a shape, cut it out, and then put it in the oven for a couple of minutes and it magically shrunk?

Well, clear, blank shrink paper is now available at craft stores! I made some of my own buttons the other day using this magic paper, some Sharpie permanent markers, rubber stamps, and a hole punch.

Here's what I did.


First I picked a design. (Shrink paper shrinks A LOT—my designs shrunk about 60 percent, so be sure and pick a large enough original design for the size button you want.)

I printed out my design (a Celtic knot) and traced it with a Sharpie. I used a fine tip Sharpie for tracing and a larger tip Sharpie to fill in. The original design is on the right and the tracings are on the left.

I wanted to try black and orange to see which one turned out better, so I made two of the Celtic knot pattern.

I cut out the knot patterns and used a regular-sized hole punch to make the holes for sewing on the buttons.
    Then I got crafting fever, as you can see! I got out a couple of rubber stamps and some StazOn ink pads. StazOn is a permanent ink that works beautifully on shrink paper—just let it dry for about 10 minutes before you cut out the designs.

I stamped some smaller designs and five large, square designs. At this point, my mom came into the room and we got even more excited to see what was going to happen in the oven!

I used a small hole punch to make the holes on the smaller buttons. You can get a bunch of different sized hole punches at craft stores. They're really handy for lots of projects.
Here's the after! Can you believe how much these shrunk? You should have seen my mom and me crouching down and looking in the oven window watching the shrinkage happening!

I put a sheet of parchment paper on top of a baking sheet and put it in a 300 F oven for about 2 minutes. Nothing happened for about the first 20 seconds, then all of sudden the buttons began to curl up and shrink. I was a little nervous about the curling up part, but the directions said it's normal.

After about another minute the buttons started to flatten out. The orange one never totally flattened out, but when I took them out of the oven I just flattened it with a metal spatula. I slid the buttons off the baking sheet onto the granite counter top to cool, and voila! Buttons!

I was inspired to do this project after flipping through one of our sister publications—Cloth, Paper, Scissors. I get so inspired by CPS; every time one comes in my mailbox I want to break out the craft supplies, and this time I did just that.

  
Kathleen's hand-stamped labels
There are so many mixed-media projects we can do to enhance our knitting (remember my hand-stamped fabric-care labels?). I encourage you to check out Cloth, Paper, Scissors; you won't be disappointed.

Cheers,


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Comments

MarthaD@6 wrote
on Jul 22, 2010 9:19 PM

You don't have to buy special paper.  Clear number 6 ( has a 6 in the recycling symbol) plastic containers such as the ones bakery cookies come in works just as well.

Purrcat wrote
on Jul 22, 2010 3:11 PM

Are they thick enough to be a button? Can't quite wrap my mind around that.. They are very cool though, thanks for the tips!

MaureenH@5 wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 4:42 PM

Kathleen,

Thanks for sharing this fun idea. I made some Shrinky Dink buttons earlier this year. I thought I was a total genius! I made a set of ladybug buttons using colored pencils. I also made circular designs using spirograph and colored sharpies. I cut them out using a craft punch, and just like you describe here, I used a regular hole punch for the buttonholes. They turned out very pretty. I would love to see a gallery of reader's finished buttons!

Thanks again,

Maureen

@altonurse--Shrinky Dink paper is a special plastic. It is not the same as shrink wrap. It shrinks in the oven,  becoming smaller and thicker. Google it. It's way cool.

@BonnieJ@12--in American English the past tense of shrink is indeed shrunk. New America Heritage Dictionary Online. Google it.

@EllenD--mom and I / mom and me. The purpose of good grammar is so folks will understand one when one expresses one's self. Miss Manners. Google it.

EllenD wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 3:29 PM

"You should have seen my mom and I crouching down ..."

===>

"You should have seen my mom and me crouching down ..."

accusative case, object of the verb "seen"; try "You should have seen I crouching down ..." and you can hear the incorrectness.  Unless you're from Southwest England.

altonurse wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 2:52 PM

There's something I'm missing here. How does shrink wrap become a button? Does the product have thickness to it or are you placing it over a plain button?

BonnieJ@12 wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 1:15 PM

Please--the past-tense of shrink is shrank, not shrunk.

bcj

on Jul 21, 2010 12:22 PM

They are washable. I would use cold water, though, just in case.

JanB wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 12:19 PM

Are the resulting buttons washable?  I want all the clothes I knit for my grandson to be easy to care for.

Fastfingers wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 9:19 AM

I love it.  I am always looking for things to do with my granddaughter and this is so great.  We can create lovely buttons for her sweaters and for those missing button spaces.Thanks so much. Mary Lou

lynnepfeffer wrote
on Jul 21, 2010 7:50 AM

I hope you are using a craft oven and spatula!  For health reasons one should not use kitchen goods for both food and crafts-especially when working with any kind of plastics/polymers!!