Shrinky Dinks (also known as "Shrinkles") is a children's toy and activity kit consisting of sheets of polystyrene which can be cut with standard household scissors. When heated, the cut shapes become about nine times thicker while their horizontal and vertical dimensions reduce to about one-third the original size, resulting in hard, flat forms which retain their initial color and shape. They reached the height of their popularity in the 1980s. Most sets are pre-printed with outline images of popular children's characters or other subjects, which are then colored in before baking.
Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by two housewives (Betty Morris and Kate Bloomberg) of Brookfield, Wisconsin, as a Cub Scout project with their sons. The first kits were sold at a local shopping mall and became very popular. Shrinky Dinks were soon licensed to be manufactured by the major toy companies of the time such as Milton Bradley, Colorforms, Western Publishing and Skyline Toys. The shrink plastic is still available from many retailers and can be used for a variety of things like charms or pins.
The base material consists of thin, flexible polystyrene plastic (#6) sheets. Prior to heating, the plastic sheets can be colored with felt-tip pens, acrylic paint, colored pencils, etc. and cut into shapes. However, oily or waxy substances (such as cheap colored pencils[clarification needed], crayons, or oil paint) are not suitable because they melt or burn in high heat. When heated with the Easy-Bake Oven, a conventional oven, or a heat gun, the plastic shrinks and becomes thicker and more rigid, while retaining the colored design.
Although Shrinky Dinks are primarily an arts and crafts product marketed for children, many adult crafters and artists find the product to be suitable for jewelry making and other projects. Blank sheets are available in bulk for this purpose, and Shrinky Dinks have, rather unexpectedly, become a serious artistic medium.
In 2009, an art therapy supervision class at Emporia State University explored the use of Shrinky Dinks in art therapy. In 2014, Shrinky Dinks were presented as an art therapy medium in a workshop at the American Art Therapy Association Conference.
- Doris Hajewski, "Shrinky Dinks founder hopes to sell toy business", The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 27, 2008.
- Ceceri, Kathy (2008-05-23). "Shrinky Dink Science Creates Tiny Dark Evil Creatures". Wired.
- Shrinky Dinks becomes a serious art medium. Who knew?
- Anthony Grimes; David N. Breslauer; Maureen Long; Jonathan Pegan; Luke P. Lee & Michelle Khine (2008). "Shrinky-Dink microfluidics: rapid generation of deep and rounded patterns". Lab Chip. 8 (1): 170–172. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.462.3406. doi:10.1039/b711622e. PMID 18094775. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
See also "Shrinky Dink Microfluidics". Chemical Technology. 2008 (01). 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- Wolf Bordonaro, G.; Blake, A.; Corrington, D.; Fanders, T.; & Morley, L. (2009). Exploring media processes and products: Rediscovering Shrinky Dinks. Arts and Activities. June 2009.
- Wolf Bordonaro, G.; Stallings, J.; Miller, K.; Schreiner, L. (2014). Trailblazing with non-traditional media: The use of shrinky dinks in art therapy. American Art Therapy Association Conference 45th Annual Conference.
- Anthony, Sebastian. "Harvard & MIT create first self-assembling robots". Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- Huey, Steve. "Sugar Ray - Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
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