Not all Shrink Plastic
is created equal....
There are many different types of Shrink Plastic on the market today, but the
product has been around for quite awhile. The first product was made by Wham-O
in 1968 and were call "Shrinkies". It was similar to the Easy Bake
Oven, in that it used a 40 watt light bulb to melt the plastic. 15 minutes
to shrink something that now takes seconds depending on the manufacturer.
"Shrinky Dinks" were invented by Betty Morris in Wisconsin
in 1973. In the seventies and eighties there were many companies such
as Milton Bradley, Colorforms, Western Publishing and others making
pre printed sheets for different popular characters of the time. According
to the "Shrinky Dink" website some of these old kits are
now being sold for 20 to 75 dollars on the internet.
Science and facts about shrink plastic
Shrink plastic is a polystrene that is capable of shrinking evenly in both
directions, although I have found this is not the case in some of the products
I have tried. Since it is polystyrene, which is what a lot of the recyclable
containers are these days, some people use the containers which have the
recycling symbol,the number 6, and the letters PS on them. This supposedly
can be sanded and painted and shrunk just like all the other products on
the market but I have yet to test it. I haven't heard if this method is safe,
and don't recommend it.
When you get on the internet and do a search on shrink plastic there are a large
number of companies who make shrinking plastics, but not all of them work the
same way. The two that have the most references are the "Shrinky Dink" brand
and Lucky Squirrel, makers of PolyShrink.
Both of these rather well known shrink plastic brands work well. One
of the biggest differences is that Shrinky Dinks come pre-sanded, whereas
the PolyShrink needs to be sanded by the user. This is personal preference,
does the user want the plastic ready to go, or would they like to be
able to control the amount of sanding depending on the medium they
will using to color the plastic.
Both products have white, clear, black, but PolyShrink also has a
translucent as well. However, Lucky Squirrel does not have an ink jet
version of their plastic, and Shrinky Dinks have a white version that
can run through an ink jet.
Recently, I purchased a third kind of plastic, Grafix Shrink Film
for ink jet printers, first in a white then in clear. There were no
with the white ink jet sheets, except for a little doming. However,
the clear did not shrink evenly. On their directions they state, "Grafix
Shrink Film will not shrink perfectly proportinate, please allow for
some distortion. " This is the first time I have seen this amount of
distortion. After reading about the nature of shrink plastic I guess
that their polystrene doesn't have good multi-directional shrinkage,
or maybe the ink jet coating affects the shrinkage.
Of all the brands tested, kudos goes to Lucky Squirrel for their informative
website. They have made a lot of information available on the plastic
that they sell, glues that work, mediums to color the plastic with,
techniques and tips.
Tips and tricks