• Making Jewelry Out of Take-Out Containers

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    Remember Shrinky Dinks? Did you know that plastic #6 containers, frequently used in take-out food containers, can be used just like Shrinky Dinks? I’ve found #6 containers used in cuisine ranging from pizza to Lebanese.

    I came across this idea on the Skip to My Lou blog: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/01/07/how-to-make-shrinky-dinks-with-recycled-6-plastic/, and decided to try it out when I was visiting with my friend, Miss B, aged 7.

    Just look inside the recycling triangle on the bottom of your container to see the number.

    Just look inside the recycling triangle on the bottom of your container to see the number.

    Super simple instructions:

    1. Cut out the shape you want
    2. Punch a hole with a hole punch if you’re going to want to attach your design to something later
    3. Place your design on the plastic (Sharpies worked great for me)
    4. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees. (Use 2-3 minutes as your initial start time, but realize that it might take 2-3 times that long. You’ll know your figure is done after it curls and scrunches up then flattens out again.)

    Our experience:

    Miss B was quite the prolific crafter. She made 3 designs, 1 pendant and 2 figurines. Her design for her pendant was Charlie Brown.

    Charlie Brown on the pitcher's mound necklace.

    Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound necklace.

    I love how Miss B used the wavy design on his chest as a reference to Charlie Brown’s ever-present shirt. She had much greater success than I did in using the silver marker, as evidenced by her pitcher’s mound. In general, I found that the lighter colored markers did not work well for this craft.

    Where I was really impressed by her creativity was with her figurines. When I presented the project to her, I’d pitched this endeavor to her as making jewelry; however, she did not want to turn all of her designs into jewelry, and I’m really impressed with how they came out.

    B's figurines

    B’s figurines

    Do you see Tinkerbell and the Ballerina? I was blown away by her ability to evoke the characters as she’d planned.

    In contrast to my productive little friend, I only made one design, a pendant.

    Chevron Hexagon Pendant

    Chevron Hexagon Pendant

    My design shape was inspired by the original form of the plastic. The center of the pizza take out cover was a hexagon shape, and I just followed the lines already in the plastic.

    I like how the chevron design worked with the hexagon shape, but I’d like to figure out how to get cleaner lines with the Sharpies.

    A couple of notes from my experience with this craft:

    1. It wasn’t clear to me whether to let the oven pre-heat with or without the plastic figures. I let the oven completely pre-heat before I put the figures in, and it worked out fine. Also, I didn’t use a cookie sheet, I just used aluminum foil as the base for the baking.
    2. Miss B’s designs were significantly larger than mine and took longer than the 2-3 minutes recommended in the original tutorial. Her Charlie Brown pendant took 4-5 minutes, to the point where I wondered if it was even going to work.
    3. The curling up factor, that’s a part of the shrinking, is very disconcerting, but be patient! It will work!

    This activity is great fun for kids and adults. Make sure you leave the oven light on and watch your figures as they shrink up!

    If you end up trying this at home, send me your pictures. I’d love to see them!

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