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?
Colored Pencils or Markers
String or Ribbon
Oven Safe Flat Pan
Pick a Coloring Book
I used designs from my friend Sue Chastain’s Ornamentals series for this tutorial.
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.
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. Colored pencils only work on the ruffed shrink film while permanent markers work on the clear film.
Preparation for Baking
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.
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.
Tie a piece of string or ribbon through the hole in the ornament and it is ready to hang!