Shrinky Chihuly comes with child-size eyepatch
September 11, 2013 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Elementary school students are using Shrinky Dinks to make beautiful Chihuly-style minisculptures. And so can you! You don't need to buy official Shrinky Dinks - just save your #6 plastic and Chihuly it up.
posted by moonmilk (21 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
ah, cool stuff.
posted by sweetkid at 9:56 AM on September 11, 2013

I forgot to credit dawkins_7, whose ask.meta answer prompted this.
posted by moonmilk at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2013

Yeah! Totally cool project for kids / me. I haven't shrinky-dunked in, like, 30 years. Jeez, what have I been wasting my time on?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:57 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

fantastic, thank you!
posted by spinturtle at 10:08 AM on September 11, 2013

This is so cool -- and just in time for me to try to make sukkah decorations!
posted by Mchelly at 10:15 AM on September 11, 2013

This is lovely, thanks for posting it!

Someone who knows their plastics: how concerned should I be about the fumes given off when heating the "#6 plastic" (polystyrene)? Is there reason to think that it's any less safe than using actual shrinky-dinks? The linked page has a fairly dire warning, but e.g. this MSDS [pdf] just says that there may be vapour that causes eye and respiratory irritation, and that if you touch it while it's really hot it might burn you.

To me, that puts it in roughly the same threat category as the spiced mackerel I cooked last night. Can anyone better informed correct me?
posted by metaBugs at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

You know those red plastic Solo cups people drink beer from at parties? They shrink to a perfectly flat round disk about three or four inches across when heated...

... as one of our friends discovered when she tried to pour hot paraffin into one, intending for it to be a candle mold. Whoops.
posted by Westringia F. at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Is that art? Even my kid could do that."
posted by Nelson at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hmm. You think this would work on a pan on a propane burner? We've got a mefi camping meetup this weekend, I'm wondering if we should have a craft hour now.
posted by cortex at 10:27 AM on September 11, 2013

Only one way to find out! I wonder if it would help to put a lid on the pan, to get more heat from above as well as below. Preferably a glass lid so you can see what's going on in there!
posted by moonmilk at 10:38 AM on September 11, 2013

Just found this page with more tips about using generic shrinky plastic.

As far as I can tell from The Internets, real shrinky dinks are exactly nothing but #6 polystyrene, so there should be no difference in toxicity.
posted by moonmilk at 10:44 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fumes? The fumes must be fun.
posted by OwlBoy at 11:06 AM on September 11, 2013

I hope they don't get sued.
posted by oneironaut at 11:11 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

You mean everybody doesn't have a few boxes of #6 plastic in their guestroom/studio/room that all the shit goes into once their partner found out this information and everybody doesn't have to check plastic before putting it in the recycling bin?

What the kids are doing are pretty cool and I look forward to it inspiring the artist-in-my-residence to great things beyond my pretty nifty shrinky-dink lucky charm bracelet.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:12 AM on September 11, 2013

Hold on a sec, my 9-year-old self wants to chime in:

Wait, you mean I can melt plastic and call it art? YES!!
posted by not_on_display at 12:00 PM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Wait, you mean I can melt plastic and call it art? YES!!

I took shrinky dinks to my Girl Scout troop a while back so they could make their own buttons (took pin backs to glue on and everything) and they thought it was the best thing ever.
posted by phunniemee at 12:15 PM on September 11, 2013

Confession: When I was a kid my friends and I discovered that if you applied the heat of a lighter to the clear plastic Solo cups that our church used to serve after-service lemonade then the plastic would become soft and droop into interesting shapes. If we colored on said cups with permanent markers and then burned them the colors remained! The most convenient time to work on our projects was when our parents were distracted; during the service of course! We snuck out the back each week, grabbed a stack of cups from the parish hall and headed down into the alleys of our town's ageing and disused downtown district. There we'd make fabulous artworks until the service ended and then we'd slip back into the hall as if we'd been piously attending the service.

One Sunday we got greedy. We got just too many cups and too many lighters. In order to concentrate on our work we had to set the smoldering cups up in the window frame of one of the shops. The one we chose happened to be one of the last functioning downtown businesses, a "meat-and-three" type diner frequented by the lawyers on lunch-break from trials in the near-by courthouses. The owner lived upstairs and happened to be one of the small southern town's few Jewish residents (thus he was not a churchgoer). Apparently he heard us outside the back window, looked out and assumed that we were fire-bugs trying to set his place on fire. He called the cops. We were at a crossroads in the alley and down three of the four streets came cop cars, down the third came a fire truck. We had no where to go so we just froze. After a little milling around they decided to chuck us in the back of a cruiser and take us down to the booking room. My friends sobbed. I tried to stay calm and be strong. That was probably not what the cops wanted me to do.

They took our names and found out that our parents were in church. They asked us what we were doing and had a little trouble believing what we said, but with the stacks of cups, markers, and lighters, it was pretty clear that we were doing basically what we said. After a while they decided to try a little "scared-straight" routine on us. One cop gave us a long sob story about how he'd done some terrible tragedy as a kid and the guilt of it had set him on the straight and narrow leading him to become a cop. Then they took us to the booking room just off the jail. It was hot and it smelled. One of the cops slipped into the jail (I learned later he told the inmates to start "acting-up" to get us scared) he returned and propped the door open so that the inmates could yell things like, "put that little blonde one in here with me!" and "I'll give you something to cry about sweet thing!" They left us there for a while, returning occasionally to shake their heads and look stern like they were worried what the big bad convicts were going to do to us when they put us in there. My friends sobbed more. I started to actually think somewhere in my mind that this was a little fun after I figured out that if we were going in we'd have been in by now, but I kept a sober look for the sake of my friends and the cops and cons that were putting on such a good show for us.

After a while they sent us down to our parents who had gathered downstairs along with the judge who was a member of the church, my friends sobbed more. The adults all tried to look angry, but they were clearly holding back laughter and embarrassment. It was agreed that we would have to go in and speak with the county probation officer and we would have to spend the next Saturday cleaning the alley we had defiled. The probation office visit took all of 5 minutes of course, why did he care about us? We were more of an annoyance to him than a case. We cleaned the alley while the restaurateur watched. I swear I think he put extra trash out for us! We didn't sneak out to burn cups anymore, and one of my friends never saw the light of day for a while after that, but otherwise life returned to normal.

Glad to see these kids are not facing the same sort of sacrifices for their art!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:16 PM on September 11, 2013 [14 favorites]

Holy cow, but the art teacher in link four ("make") is illiterate.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:17 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

She's a K-5 art teacher with a pretty great positive attitude, however.
posted by spitbull at 5:11 PM on September 11, 2013

Ok, I'm doing that with my students this year.
posted by Huck500 at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Luazinha (ms. umbĂș) is a master of shrinkydink matchbox dioramas. Those are a lot of fun as well.
posted by umbĂș at 11:49 AM on September 12, 2013

« Older There is a man wandering around California with...   |   Savor your newspaper. This is what it feels like... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments