Friday, February 11, 2011

Shrinky Dinks | 1970s & 1980s Arts & Crafts

Image from BlueBuddies.com

You weren't a true '80s kid if you didn't play with Shrinky Dinks. These cool arts and crafts kits came with colored pencils and thin flexible sheets of plastic cut-out style figures. Once cut, the figures could be filled in or designed with colored pencils and then baked. 

I remember how thrilling it was when Mom would flip on the oven light allowing us to witness the shrinking action. We'd watched the plastic melt before our eyes and take on a smaller, thicker shape. Like magic, the color would remain intact. I loved the feel of the texture of the Shrinky Dink once it was cooled.

I especially enjoyed making Shrinky Dinks Christmas tree ornaments and charms -- but it was important to make sure the whole was punctured BEFORE baking, otherwise you were screwed. It was impossible to break through the hardened plastic once baked.

Check out this vintage "Glow in the Dark" Shrinky Dinks commercial.


Five Fun Facts About Shrinky Dinks

  1. Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by Wisconsin moms, Betty Morris and Kathryn Bloomberg.
  2. The very first Shrinky Dinks were sold at a shopping mall in Wisconsin.
  3. Cashing in on the popular characters of the 1980s, kids could purchase Smurf Shrinky Dinks, Scooby Doo Shrinky Dinks, Mr. T Shrinky Dinks, Pee Wee Herman Shrinky Dinks, you name it! 
  4. In the early '90s, Mark McGrath's band was originally called Shrinky Dinx, but changed the band's name to Sugar Ray avoiding a lawsuit from Hasbro.
  5. Shrinky Dinks are still available and marketed by the original inventors. Click here to purchase or view today's Shrinky Dinks.

14 comments:

Oilfield Trash said...

I remember those.

Amber said...

I've never actually shrinky dinked, as it were. I think I should add it to my bucket list.

Bossy Betty said...

I LOVED Shrinky Dinks!!!!!

Pat Tillett said...

I remember these things! There were out when a basic microwave cost hundreds of dollars...

Cotton Blossom said...

Seems like it would have been much smarter for Hasbro to let them use the name.

Man, Us babies born in the 70's were so tough... melting plastic in the oven, breathing in the fumes and not threatening to sue a soul.

baygirl32 said...

I loved them so much as a kid!

LaraAnn said...

I only did these once over at a friends house. Mine had a doggie on it and I'm pretty sure it glowed in the dark. My brother and I were more into the Make It Bake. I'm not sure if that is considered sun catchers or stained glass window type ornaments - maybe both.

Cheeseboy said...

The Smurfs always had the best Shrinky Dinks.

Blast from the Past said...

Well - I guess I missed out because I never had these. Based on the comments here, they must have been pretty cool.

Oh well, my brother, cousin, and I did like using the easy bake oven! Guess I should clarify that we would throw my female cousins' barbie dolls in them and set them on high for fun...

Kids can be so cruel (although we all laugh at it now...)

Melanie McFadden @ The McMommy Diaries said...

Oh my gosh I totally remember Shrinky Dinks!! What a flashback. Toys were WAY cooler back then! Awesome blog :)
Melanie
www.TheMcMommyDiaries.blogspot.com

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

These were a favorite of mine. I wish they were still around.
xoRobyn

Teachinfourth said...

Can I say that I used to love those things? Also, the mom in the commercial looks like Kevin Arnold's mom from The Wonder Years. I know she isn't, but I'm just saying...

Georgina Dollface said...

I remember those! But here's the stupid thing. I always thought they were for boys because of the name. It just seemed like a potty-mouthed name to me and so I only envisioned boys playing with them. Instead, I made those little stained glass window catchers with the coloured plastic beads that you poured in the frame and then baked. - G

~ Noelle said...

lol, i do not remember these... and when they were brought up on RAISING HOPE, it made me want to get some

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