Friday, July 20, 2018

Custom Letterboard Accessories (made from Shrinky Dinks)

Some toys are just classic.  We all remember playing with them as kids and they are equally as fun as adults.  One example of this is the ever classic: Shrinky Dinks.  I remember making charm bracelets and fun little designs out of the simple but irresistible craft material.  However, this week I stepped my Shrinky Dink game up a notch and did some crafting- adult style!

Did you know you can make custom letterboard accessories from Shrinky Dinks? I use my letterboard for home decor and also for featuring sales and news on our business page.  Accessories such as symbols and even things like coffee cups, special words and emojis can be purchased online or in store but the options are limited.  You also can't buy them with your custom logo on them.  But now you CAN make them... (and it's easy too!)

[Disclaimer: I have received free product from Alex Brands in exchange for a DIY post and honest review of Shrinky Dinks.  All opinions and ideas are my own.  Any links to Amazon are affiliate links and I receive a small commission when your purchase from these links at no extra charge to you.  This helps support my blog and fund future craft projects. Thank you. Any reference to Chubby Bunny, Happy Home or "my business" directs you to my personal business's social media pages.]

{I can use my DIY accessory as a way to include my logo into every business photo I post such as this one for our monthly bow subscriptions}

You don't need much to make a slew of these fun accessories.  All you need is:

Shrinky Dink Sheets (I used crystal clear but I think I'd go with white next time)
Sharpie Markers
- Scissors
- An oven
- Printer or image of your logo that you can use for tracing.

Let's begin!

I didn't just make our business logo, I also made some "leaf" pieces that can be used to create wreaths or just arches around my words. I made 6 of them all facing one direction and 3 additional ones in the opposite direction for when I wanted them to both curve inward with the leaves pointing up.  I free-hand drew the first one and then used it as a template to trace all the others so that they were the same exact shape.

I used black outline on all of them to make it look a little more crisp but that is personal preference.  I also made sure to angle the ends so that the pieces could fit against each other when places together in a "wreath".

Keep in mind that your colors will get MUCH darker in the oven.  Also- be careful when cutting out more intricate designs such as these leaves.  The first one I made ended up with a lot of break marks where the plastic split because it put too much pressure on it as I tried to cut into corners. (changing the direction I cut fixed that problem).

As you can see, the piece on the left had several of those "break marks" and the piece on the right did not.  I thought the breaks might just melt together and fix itself but it does not (see photo below).  As a matter of fact it made them even bigger!  So be aware of how you cut and try to keep it clean.

It still works fine but it doesn't look as nice close up.

I also made a few flowers and will probably make about a dozen more in different styles when I have some more time.  I love the "texture" that is made from the sharpie getting shrunk.

As I mentioned in the materials section, I used the "crystal clear" sheets because I thought it would be the best for tracing.  However, it really does make the pieces transparent (even with the sharpie on it).  When placed on the dark, lined letterboard, the pieces were difficult to see.  I ended up taking white paint and painting on the back of every piece to make the colors shine a little brighter and to keep the letterboard from peeking through.

Here's the difference between one that has been left unpainted vs. one that has been painted with a white back:

This wasn't difficult to do but it might just be easier to start with the white sheets to begin with. I think they are probably still see-through enough that you could trace just fine.

What about my custom logo?

Now onto the really cool part.  I've seen tutorials online that show various ways of making your own "letterboard accessories" but they all stem around using paper of some sort.  It seems to me that paper would get bent, torn and let's admit it... we've all spilled our coffee a time or two while setting up our letterboard *No? Am I the only clumsy one here?*  which would immediately destroy it.  Plus it just doesn't have the nice thick plastic look that all the alphabet pieces have.

Have no fear, Shrinky Dinks is the best solution to this problem!  

Here's how I made mine:

Step 1: Print off a photo of your logo to use for tracing.  (You can also buy printable Shrinky Dinks sheets but I opted out because my printer is not very good at all!)  Make sure that you make it 3x bigger that you want your finished logo to be.  I sized mine to about 9x9 so that the finished piece would be 3x3.

Step 2: Place a Shrinky Dink sheet over your printed paper and trace your image.

Step 3: Cut it out and bake it! (use directions on the packaging. It only takes a minute or two).

Tip: When it says use parchment paper, use parchment paper. I thought this foil baking sheet would work fine but because of the circle shapes on it (and that it's kind of beat up) it made my design shrink in a funny way.  You can see how much better it turned out when I used a regular cookie sheet with parchment paper on top:

I opted out of painting the back of this piece because I couldn't get it to paint without streak marks (and since there is so much clear it was very obvious). I attached a piece of white paper to the back of it instead.  I don't love that there is still paper involved, so I'm going to try the white sheets next time and make some more, but it works great for now.

To make all of the pieces fit into my letterboard slots I simply cut 2-3 small rectangle "tabs" of shrinky dink material, glued them together (so that it was twice as thick) and glued that to the back of the shapes I made. (See the back of your store bought letters for a guide on how big to make them) For the "leaf" pieces, I used cut up safety pin chunks so that the part that went into the board was a circle instead of a long rectangle (and thus can be placed in any direction on the board). I wouldn't recommend doing that for all the pieces, only ones that wont always be straight up and down.

The first time, I cut rectangles and shrank them in the oven to make sturdy tabs.  This made them *too thick* to go into the slots on the board. That is why I recommend using unbaked pieces instead.

For more awesome DIY ideas, follow the Shrinky Dinks Instagram page or if you prefer, they also share ideas on their FacebookTwitter or of course Pinterest.  For easy to follow VIDEO tutorials, head to their YouTube channel.

To see some of my past Shrinky Dink projects, check out the links below:

Custom necklace DIY

Scrapbooking Hack
Dimensional card making

I plan on making even more custom letterboard accessories in the weeks to come.  I'm thinking a fancy font of our last name, a giant "sunshine" that goes around the letters and some tools for my son's upcoming "tool" themed birthday party (maybe with his name/age on them for extra customization)!  What would you like to make?

1 comment:

  1. I love how you were able to find simple solutions to all the problems that came up! The world is such a happier place with shrinky dinks...and pompoms! LOL.