The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #380: Making Homemade Shrinky Dinks

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #380: Making Homemade Shrinky Dinks

This week, I’m discussing how I made homemade shrinky dinks using polystyrene (#6 plastic).  I experimented with both forms commonly found mostly in food packaging – styrofoam meat trays and clear plastic takeout and baked goods containers.  Of the two, I liked the clear ones best, since not only did I find they worked better, but you could color both sides (e.g. outline one side but color the back).  I found that adding a piece of parchment or freezer paper (which has a nonstick coating on one side) over the top of the film would keep the shrinky dink from folding in on itself (a problem I experienced with both the foam and clear kinds of polystyrene).  This tip I owe to Crafsman (see below), who did a video on making DIY shrinky dinks that I serendipitously saw when I was fiddling with this.  Check out his video:

In pictures:


For this project, you can reuse #6 plastic, which is often hard to recycle anyway.


Both the styrofoam and clear plastic forms work, though I personally found the clear form worked better.


You will want to draw your design on, aiming for on the larger side if you can, as the picture really will shrink about at least 50%.


One advantage of using styrofoam is that the colors stick better.  Light colors are fine, since they will darken when shrunk.


My son colored most of this one in and added the rainbow and a little dedication 🙂


I’m glad I took a picture beforehand, as my results were not great – the picture did shrink, just not in proportional ways.  It may have been a fluke, though.  I wonder if it stuck to the piece of freezer paper I put over it or the piece that was on the bottom.


I had better luck with clear polystyrene takeout container lids.  I used Sharpie markers to color in these.


Not all of these survived, unfortunately.  Some were victims of the experimentation process as I tried a variety of unsuccessful ways with a heat gun or uncovered in the oven. Regarding the latter, without someonthing over them, the pieces would commit suicide, essentially – they would shrivel up and fold on themselves, and the hot sides of the plastic would fuse together, rendering the image unintelligible.  


This one worked pretty well.   Had a pretty big piece.  It shrank relatively proportionally.  Below are some of the more successful shrinky dinks made with this method.





Give it a try!  Thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #279: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 4: Making a Silicone Mold and Shrinking with Mineral Spirits

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #279: Working on a Thirteenth Hour Custom Action Figure Part 4: Making a Silicone Mold and Shrinking with Mineral Spirits

This week, I’m making a silicone mold for the guitar I finished last week.  While the mold for the synthesizer is quite easy, this one is a bit more complex since I’m going to be trying a trick I learned on youtube with a video (below) made by Crafsman, who I support on Patreon.  (He has a lot of great resin casting and toy making videos; check him out!).  The trick here involves the use of mineral spirits mixed into the silicone with the idea that over time, the mold will shrink as the mineral spirits dissolves out, leaving you a smaller mold.  This effectively gives you the ability to shrink objects (in theory – I’ve never tried this before).


Since the guitar I made was a bit too big for Logan’s hands, hopefully, the technique will allow me to shrink it down by about 25%.   Here’s the video in more detail described by the Crafsman:

By the way, the one piece mold for the synth I finished recently.  Now it’s time to pour in the resin!


And the setup for the guitar mold seen from the top down. I ended up using a thin plastic box as an exoskeleton for the mold.  It was what I had lying around, though it didn’t have a flat bottom and the flexible sides meant it had to be supported from both sides, as shown below, where the body and most of the neck of the guitar are already submerged in silicone.  The toothpicks are meant as air vents.


The bottles on the sides are supporting the mold as it dries, so it cures straight (a consequence of me suing a somewhat flexible container).  Now, it’s a matter of waiting a few days for the mineral spirits to diffuse out of the mold to see if this actually worked.


Last week, a friend of the show and frequent guest / collaborator, AC of ACToyDesign needed some help for funding a surgery for his dog, Mooge.  In the span of the past week, Adam and Mooge actually exceeded their finding goal (click above for more info from Adam), so thank you to all that helped!

If you still have a cassette player, take advantage of the following deal and be transported to another world!  SALE!  While supplies last, grab Long Ago Not So Far Away on cassette!  Just $1/tape!




There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up ( and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!