STEP ONE: Trace a line drawing from a previously created illustration or freehand a drawing right onto the paper. You want to make sure you use a permanent marker, or else the colors will run when it goes into the oven. To add color you can also use colored pencils. Many people have started using rubber stamps as well, but again, you MUST use a permanent ink. I highly recommend StazOn. It is a bit pricier, but it last much longer than other ink pads and you can virtually use it on ANYTHING (paper, plastic, metal, wood, glass, aluminum foil, leather and acrylic) without worrying about the colors running or smudging.
STEP TWO: Cut out your drawing. You can also use a die-cut machine or paper punch for a more uniform and clean cut. If you need to cut out an interior, use an Xacto knife to make a cross then use manicure scissors to use away the unwanted pieces. NOTE: if you are making charms or buttons, don't forget to cut those holes as well. Everything will shrink, so even the holes will become much smaller. When in doubt, larger is better. The average shrinky dink shrinks to a third of its original size.
STEP THREE: Bake! Preheat at 325 degrees F. Make sure to use parchment paper to cover your cookie. Watch your shrinky dink shrink. This usually takes about 3 minutes. Make sure that you have some chopsticks or some type of non-stick utensil incase your shrinky dink sticks to itself while shrinking. Once you are finished baking, press your shrinky dink to make sure it stays flat while it cools. Alternatively, you can use this opportunity to shape or twist your shrinky dink. If you take your shrinky dink out of the oven too early, it may not flatten all the way, like the tree above. However, you can just stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes and it will flatten out again.
As you can see, my charms have holes in them because I intend to link them together on a bracelet.
For more great projects using shinky dinks, check these posts out!
Kimanh @ Paper.Scissors.Wok has a great tutorial on how to make clothing buttons using shrinky dinks. I credit her for my color choice of black white and red for my charms. She also has a post on how to create decorative pin heads.
Click here to see my inspiration for my charm bracelet @ Crafster.org
For the full tutorial, click below.