Upcycled Shrinky Dinks

image courtesy of Genevieve of SEWphisticate
[photo by SEWphisticate used with permission]

Genevieve over at SEWphisticate has an awesome tutorial on turning plastic take out containers or cups into shrinky dinks! It turns out that #6 plastic, a type that many cities do not recycle, will shrink beautifully in the oven!

For her first attempts, she cut the plastic into shapes and punched holes to make shrunken pendants. She said these shapes turned out pretty distorted. After some experimentation and fine-tuning, she came up with a method for turning out lovely plastic rings, like the ones above! I think they’d made really cool earrings or maybe you could wire them together into a mobile?

To achieve the effect, she first cut the cups horizontally to create 1 1/4″ tall, skinny rings. She stuck those into the oven at 325°F on a piece of parchment until they had melted down to form rigid, thick circles of plastic.

Genevieve is a seamstress, a jeweler, and the mastermind behind SEWphisticate. You can check out her detailed tutorial full of awesome pictures over on the SEWphisticate blog!

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .


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  1. Well I guess it is a good thing that I can not find #6 plastic here – since it is not on the preferred recycling list and all. I have been keeping my eye out for some for month. I guess I don’t do deli food enough or something.

    But darn it! I want to try this.

  2. I LOVE this craft & have tested every plastic and the only one that actually works is #6.

    My kids make fun of me because I shrink EVERYTHING! Some of those pre-approved credit cards that come in the mail are #6 – if you leave them in long enough, they come out Barbie sized.

    As for finding #6, sometimes lids of things like margarine are #6, even though the container is not. Bakery goods & fresh vegetables like grape tomatoes are sometimes #6 also.

  3. Upcycling plastic cups in the oven to some decorative thing you actually do not need – just for the fun of it – is the opposite of a greenworld and of recycling, imho.
    a) Platics cups are a waste of (mineral oil & water) resources and energy – use glasses or cups and totally avoid plastic for drinking beverages, buying food etc.pp
    b) Heating up the oven is the next place of energy waste – unless you do it after cooking/baking food and turn off the oven for the plastic. But then you might like to think about the emission and fumes you get in you kitchen and house (e.g. http://peoplepoweredmachines.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/3-plastics-to-avoid-3-6-7-and-why/).
    c) Then this is also a good read:

    and d) we are living in the age of plastic (and waste) – which is so ridiculous and should be avoided as much as possible:
    Just some couch side thoughts…

    • Well, the article didn’t state that the #6 plastic had to be new, and in my house, at least, there are only so many times I can wash and re-use a deli container. Crafters who work in as environmentally clean manner AND crafters who recycle are both eco-friendly crafters.

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