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Do I put shrinky dinks on parchment paper?

Shrinky dinks are a popular kids craft that have been around since the 1970s. They are sheets of plastic that shrink to a smaller size when baked in the oven. To use shrinky dinks, kids can color or draw designs on them before baking. Then when they come out of the oven, the designs are smaller but the color stays vibrant. Shrinky dinks can be used to make jewelry, ornaments, magnets, buttons, and more.

Can shrinky dinks go on parchment paper?

Yes, parchment paper is a good surface to bake shrinky dinks on. Here’s why:

  • Parchment paper is heat resistant up to 420-450°F. Shrinky dinks need to bake at about 325°F which is safely under parchment paper’s limit.
  • Parchment paper provides a nonstick surface. Shrinky dink plastic will not stick to it like it could on a plain baking sheet.
  • The smooth texture of parchment prevents shrinky dinks from warping too much. Warping is reduced compared to baking directly on a baking sheet.
  • It protects the baking sheet underneath from any color or ink that could potentially leach off the shrinky dink plastic.
  • Clean up is easy. Simply dispose of the parchment paper after use.

Parchment paper is readily available in grocery stores or online. Look for paper labeled specifically “parchment paper” rather than wax paper which has a lower heating tolerance.

Step-by-step instructions for baking shrinky dinks on parchment

Follow these simple steps for flawless shrinky dink baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. This is the ideal shrinky dink baking temperature.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Smooth out any wrinkles or folds.
  3. Place your finished shrinky dink designs face up on the parchment paper. Leave at least 1 inch space between pieces to allow for shrinkage.
  4. Bake for 2-3 minutes. Times vary slightly by brand. Watch closely until the plastic shrinks and flattens out.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely before handling. The plastic will be very hot!
  6. Once cool, peel the shrinky dink off the parchment paper. Enjoy your shrunken creation!

It’s that easy to make miniature works of art. The parchment paper provides a protective barrier and prevents sticking. Now get creative and try baking custom shrinky dinks!

Tips for baking great shrinky dinks

Follow these tips and tricks to master shrinky dink baking:

  • Use oven baking, not a microwave, for best results.
  • Buy shrink film specifically labeled for shrinky dinks. Regular plastic sheets may melt or burn.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area – shrinky dinks may produce a slight plastic odor when baking.
  • Color before baking with permanent markers, acrylic paint pens, or pencil crayons. Avoid oil-based markers.
  • Print inverse image designs on printable shrink film using an inkjet printer.
  • Avoid intricate designs. Shrinkage may cause fine details to disappear.
  • Hole punch shrinky dink pieces before baking to add keychains or hangers after.
  • Bake a test piece first to get the right time down for the brand you use.
  • Let cool completely before handling. Dip in ice water to speed cooling.

Can you reuse parchment paper for shrinky dinks?

You may be tempted to reuse parchment paper when baking multiple shrinky dinks to save paper. However, this is not recommended for a few reasons:

  • The parchment paper properties change after heating. It may be more likely to burn or stick when reused.
  • Pieces may not shrink evenly on warped or wrinkled reused parchment.
  • Sanitation can be compromised, especially if young children are involved.
  • Fresh parchment provides the ideal smooth and nonstick surface for shrinkage.

Parchment paper is relatively inexpensive and readily available. Play it safe and use a new sheet each time you bake shrinky dinks for best results.

Can you put shrinky dinks directly on baking sheets?

It’s not recommended to bake shrinky dinks directly on metal baking sheets. Here’s why:

  • The plastic pieces may warp or develop ripples when baking directly on metal.
  • Shrinky dinks can potentially burn where they make contact with the hot baking sheet.
  • There is a risk of the plastic melting and sticking firmly to the baking sheet.
  • Any ink or color on the plastic could transfer onto the baking sheet.
  • The baking sheet requires careful scrubbing after use to remove residues.

Parchment paper acts as an insulation barrier and prevents many of these issues. For best results, play it safe and bake your shrinky dinks on parchment paper.

Other nonstick surfaces for baking shrinky dinks

In addition to parchment paper, here are some other nonstick surfaces that can work for baking shrinky dinks:

  • Silicone baking mats – These provide reusable, nonstick surfaces that resist temperatures up to 480°F.
  • Wax paper – Wax paper has a lower maximum temperature than parchment, so monitor closely to prevent burning.
  • Aluminum foil – Use foil with the shiny side up for a smooth, nonstick surface.
  • Shrink film sheets – Some brands make specific reusable nonstick sheets for baking multiple shrinky dinks.

Always check the maximum recommended temperature for any surface before attempting to bake shrinky dinks on it. And test a small sample piece first to ensure the plastic won’t stick.

Storing and displaying finished shrinky dinks

Once your shrinky dinks have baked and cooled, you’ll want to store or display them safely. Here are some tips:

  • Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight to prevent warped shapes.
  • Slide a piece of cardstock into openings before hanging shrinky dink ornaments or jewelry to help retain the shape.
  • Apply a clear acrylic spray sealer if needed to give the pieces a glossy finish and extra protection.
  • Glue a magnet to the back to display shrinky dinks on the fridge or other magnetic surfaces.
  • Laminate pieces or encase them in clear plastic shrink wrap to make them more durable.

With proper care, shrinky dink creations can last for many years to come. Enjoy this classic kids craft that never goes out of style!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bake shrinky dinks on wax paper?

Wax paper has a lower temperature tolerance than parchment, so it’s not ideal. But in a pinch, you can bake shrinky dinks on wax paper for a shorter time while monitoring closely. The wax coating may lead to more sticking.

Do I need to poke holes in shrinky dinks before baking?

It’s not mandatory, but piercing shrinky dinks with a pin before baking can help prevent excessive warping or bubbling. Just be careful not to pierce through any important design areas.

How do I prevent shrinky dinks from curling?

Working in thin layers, baking on parchment, and ensuring the plastic cools completely before handling will all help minimize warping. Flatten curled pieces under books or weigh them down until they lie flat again.

Can shrinky dinks go in a convection oven?

Yes, a convection oven works well. The circulating air helps ensure even heating. Just watch the cook time closely and adjust temperature down 25°F from a conventional oven.

Why aren’t my printed shrinky dinks shrinking correctly?

Double check that you printed the design backwards as a mirror image. Also ensure you are using inkjet printable shrink film, not regular shrink plastic. Printable plastic is formulated to shrink properly with the ink.

Surface Temperature Tolerance Reusable? tendency to warp shrinky dinks
Parchment Paper Up to 450°F No Low
Silicone Baking Mats Up to 480°F Yes Low
Wax Paper Up to 300°F No Medium
Aluminum Foil Up to 500°F Yes Medium
Baking Sheet Up to 500°F Yes High

This table compares different baking surfaces for use with shrinky dinks. Parchment paper is the best choice for preventing warping and sticking.


Shrinky dinks are a beloved craft that provides hours of creative fun. Baking them on parchment paper is the ideal way to get perfectly shrunken pieces every time. Parchment provides a smooth, nonstick surface and protects the baking sheet. Follow the baking and cooling steps carefully for best results. With the right techniques, you’ll be displaying your colorful shrinky dink artworks in no time!