OrnaMENTALs Coloring Pages into Christmas Ornaments
by Liz Masoner
Coloring books for adults are all the rage right now. Finally grownups can color without getting strange looks from other grownups. But what do you do with all those carefully colored masterpieces? How about taking another page from childhood and making Christmas ornaments from Shrinky Dinks or other shrink film? These Shrinky-Dink Christmas ornaments are a fun and easy project for the holidays and you can even get the whole family involved!
Note from Sue: Thanks to Liz Masoner for testing the Shrinky-Dinks Christmas ornaments idea and writing this tutorial! It brings back such fond memories of the whole family crowding around the oven to watch the shrink film curl up, shrink, and then flatten down. A variation of this tutorial also appears on HubaDub.
Shrinky-Dink Christmas Ornament Supplies
- Shrink Plastic
- Colored Pencils or Markers
- Hole Punch
- String or Ribbon
- Oven Safe Flat Pan
- Plain Cardboard
- Coloring Book or Pages, such as OrnaMENTALs (Keep reading for a free sample!)
Pick a Shrink Film
There are lots of options on the market. From inkjet printable to frosted to clear. Just pick the right one for your preferred coloring method. You’ll need frosted for colored pencils but can use permanent markers with clear versions.
Two main companies make shrink film. Shrinky Dinks and Graphix. The Shrinky Dink film will shrink to 1/3 its original size while the Graphix shrink film only shrinks by half. Either works when coloring a full-size coloring page.
Shrinky-Dink Christmas Ornament Coloring
If you use the inkjet film you can print your design directly onto the shrink film, otherwise you’ll need to get creative.
Use a clipboard and clip your shrink film over an uncolored coloring page sheet. Now you can color the film just as though it was printed. Do remember the black lines won’t show unless you trace them though.
Test your color on a scrap piece of film to see if it will smudge, or how fast it will dry, so you know how careful you need to be about touching the page while coloring.
Preparation for Baking your Ornaments
Carefully cut around your design and use the hole punch in a corner to create a hole so you can hang the ornament when it is done. You won’t be able to cut the ornament after baking.
Baking the Shrink Film
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. This is a bit lower than the shrink film usually says, but with a large starting piece I find that slower and longer bakes result in less distortion of the finished piece.
Place the design color side up on a flat pan lined with plain cardboard. Scrap cardboard from a shipping box (no tape/glue/printing please) works fine. Place a second piece of cardboard on top of the ornament to help reduce curling.
Bake for anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. The cardboard slows cooking time but helps stop the panic of an ornament that seems to curl itself into a wad of plastic before finally uncurling and lying flat. With intricate shapes, they can sometime become stuck together if you don’t keep them flat during baking.
Note that you’ll need to be careful when checking the piece for doneness. Don’t lift the cardboard much so that you can drop it quickly if the piece is still curling. Of course, use tongs or oven mitts to protect your hands from the heat of the oven.
After the piece lies flat on its own, remove it from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes or so.
Finishing the Ornaments
Tie a piece of string or ribbon through the hole in the ornament and it is ready to hang!
More Shrink Film Coloring Page Ideas
Thanks for the fantastic tutorial, Liz! Sadly, I can’t play with shrink film as I only have a laser printer and that is not recommended.
Here’s a different take on this shrink film idea that my friend Jennifer made for me. She photocopied designs from OrnaMENTALs Volume 1 onto shrink film, then she and her son colored them and they strung the baked OrnaMENTALs together into an adorable decorative hanging art piece. The shrink film looks great with the sunlight shining through, so I’ve decided to hang this gift in my patio area. I love it!
Here are some tips from Jennifer, my friend who made this: “Make the hole both before you shrink and big. Who knew shrinky dink plastic was so hard!
I doubled the size of the designs in a photo copier to get dinks the size in the photo.”
And here are some additional tips from friends who commented on this project on Facebook:
“Glitter gel pen is very pretty after shrinking.” -Jenny
“Some people draw with a ruler before shrinking to get the true size for after shrinking.” -Jenny
“Measure on an unshrunk (? LOL) shrinky about 6 inches or so. Use a black marker – fine point preferable. Remember shrinking is going to MUSH lines and letters together. So use the finest line possible on the pre-shrunk. Shrink the ruler. Now you can see what a design at 6 inches preshrunk will shrink down to (approximately). Also, lower the brightness on colors by half on your design (if you’re doing the image off the computer on to printable shrinky). If you’re coloring, leave “gaps” in your coloring. Do not make it as dark as if this was the final product. On the computer use low DPI such as 150. The reasoning is everything you print is going to SQUISH. So a line that looks “unfinished” to you will squish together and appear just fine. If you press hard on colors to make them dark – they are going to be 3x’s as dark when shrunk.” – Carol
Post your pics and share your tips in the comment area below if you try this project. I would love to see what you make!