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How To Make Keychains Without Shrink Plastic

how to make keychains without shrink plastic


How To Make Keychains Without Shrink Plastic: While shrink plastic has long been a favorite medium for crafting keychains, we’re here to show you an exciting alternative that allows you to make captivating keychains without using shrink plastic.We’ll delve into the art of keychain crafting using materials that are readily available and offer a unique touch to your creations. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or a newcomer to the DIY scene, this tutorial is designed to inspire and guide you through the process step by step.

How To Make Keychains Without Shrink Plastic

Discover the versatility of materials such as polymer clay, wooden pieces, fabric scraps, metal charms, and more. Not only will you learn how to shape and mold these materials into stunning keychains, but you’ll also explore various techniques to add intricate details, vibrant colors, and personalization.

No special equipment or extensive crafting experience is required. We’ll provide you with clear instructions, handy tips, and creative ideas to ensure that your journey into making keychains without shrink plastic is both enjoyable and rewarding.Unleash your artistic flair as we embark on this crafting adventure together. 

What can I use instead of shrink plastic?

Some polystyrene items, such as number 6 plastic, can be used like shrink plastic. These substitutes don’t reduce evenly like artist-quality shrink plastic, behaving differently depending on how the plastic was treated and pre-formed.

There are several fantastic alternatives to shrink plastic that you can use to create unique and personalized crafts, including keychains. One popular option is polymer clay, a versatile and colorful material that can be molded into various shapes and designs. Polymer clay keychains can be baked to harden, resulting in durable and vibrant creations.

Another option is wood. Wooden pieces can be engraved, painted, or decorated with various materials to achieve a rustic and natural look. Woodburning techniques can also be used to add intricate designs to wooden keychains. Additionally, fabric and embroidery offer a softer and more textured alternative. You can sew or glue fabric pieces together, embroider designs, and even add beads or other embellishments for an artistic touch.

Metal charms and beads are excellent choices for adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to your keychains. These materials can be easily combined to create intricate designs that reflect your personal style.

Recycled materials like bottle caps, old coins, or buttons can also be repurposed into quirky and eco-friendly keychains. Furthermore, acrylic or glass cabochons can be used to create a magnified effect over printed images or designs.

What plastic can I use for Shrinky Dinks?


Shrinky Dinks can be made from #6 plastic. #6 plastic is the classification for Polystyrene (aka Styrofoam). What is this? When you think Styrofoam you’re likely thinking of disposable cups or take out containers.

Shrinky Dinks, a popular crafting activity, typically involve using a type of plastic sheet that shrinks and hardens when heated. The most common plastic used for Shrinky Dinks is polystyrene, specifically #6 plastic, also known as PS plastic. This plastic is commonly found in various packaging materials, such as takeout containers, disposable cups, and some types of packaging for electronics.

When selecting plastic for Shrinky Dinks, ensure that it is clean, flat, and free from any residue or contaminants. You can cut the plastic into your desired shapes or designs before decorating it with markers, colored pencils, or even inkjet printer designs. Once your design is complete, the plastic is placed in an oven or heat tool, where it will quickly shrink and thicken, resulting in a smaller and more rigid version of your original artwork.

It’s important to note that not all plastics are suitable for Shrinky Dinks. Plastics like PVC (#3) and PET (#1) are not recommended due to their different properties that might not produce the desired shrinking effect or could release harmful fumes when heated. Always verify the type of plastic you’re using and follow safety guidelines while heating the plastic.

How do you make shrink plastic?

Bake the Plastic

​Heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and place your plastic drawings in the center of a cookie sheet. Once the oven is preheated, place the cookie sheet on the top rack. After about a minute, the plastic will curl, shrink, and then flatten out.

Making shrink plastic is a creative and engaging crafting process that allows you to transform plastic sheets into smaller, thicker versions of your designs. Here’s a basic guide on how to make shrink plastic:

Materials Needed: You’ll require #6 plastic sheets, also known as polystyrene or PS plastic. This can often be found in packaging materials like takeout containers. Ensure the plastic is clean and free from any residue.

Design and Decoration: Cut the plastic sheets into your desired shapes or sizes. You can decorate them using colored pencils, markers, or even inkjet printer designs. Keep in mind that colors may intensify and become more vibrant as the plastic shrinks.

Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven according to the instructions provided on the Shrinky Dinks packaging or around 300-350°F (150-175°C).

Shrinking Process: Place your decorated plastic pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet, with the decorated side facing up. As the plastic heats up, it will start to curl and then flatten out. Watch the process closely through the oven door or window.

Cool and Flatten: Once the plastic pieces have finished shrinking and have flattened again, remove them from the oven. You might use a spatula to press down gently and ensure they stay flat.

Can you use normal plastic as shrink plastic?

Number 1 plastic shrinks a little, but not much and also sometimes just turns white and curls – it’s not a good material for DIY shrinky dinks. I read that foam is #6 plastic so I gave this a try with craft foam- sure enough, it shrinks like mad too.

Using regular “normal” plastic that you might find around your home as a substitute for shrink plastic isn’t recommended. The typical plastic items like plastic containers, bags, or bottles are not designed for the shrinking process used in crafting, like Shrinky Dinks. Shrink plastic is specifically formulated to undergo a controlled shrinking and thickening process when heated, resulting in durable, smaller versions of your designs.

The plastic used in crafting Shrinky Dinks is usually #6 plastic, also known as polystyrene or PS plastic. This type of plastic has unique properties that allow it to shrink and thicken uniformly without becoming overly distorted or brittle. Other types of plastics, like those used in everyday items, might not behave the same way when heated. They could melt unevenly, release harmful fumes, or simply not shrink properly.

To ensure the safety of both your crafting process and your final creation, it’s highly recommended to use plastic specifically designed for shrink art projects. This will give you the desired results without potential risks associated with using ordinary plastic items. If you’re interested in shrink plastic crafting, you can often find suitable sheets at craft stores or online retailers, ensuring that you have the right material for a successful and enjoyable crafting experience.

How To Make Keychains Without Shrink Plastic

What are the alternative materials that can be used to create keychains without using shrink plastic?

There are several alternative materials that you can use to create keychains without relying on shrink plastic. These materials offer a wide range of textures, colors, and design possibilities. Some popular alternatives include:

Polymer Clay: Polymer clay is a versatile material that can be molded into various shapes and designs. It comes in a wide array of colors and can be baked to harden, resulting in durable and vibrant keychains.

Wood: Wooden pieces can be engraved, painted, or decorated with different materials to achieve a natural and rustic look. Woodburning techniques can also be employed to add intricate designs to wooden keychains.

Fabric: Fabric scraps can be sewn or glued together to create soft and textured keychains. Embroidery, appliqué, and fabric painting techniques can be used to add unique designs and details.

Metal Charms and Beads: Metal charms and beads can add elegance and sophistication to keychains. They can be easily combined to create intricate designs that reflect your personal style.

Recycled Materials: Repurpose items like bottle caps, old coins, or buttons to create eco-friendly and quirky keychains. These materials can bring a touch of nostalgia and sustainability to your creations.

Acrylic and Glass Cabochons: These materials can be used to create a magnified effect over printed images or designs. They add a unique visual element to your keychains.

Leather or Faux Leather: Leather or synthetic leather can be cut and shaped into stylish keychains. They offer a tactile and elegant option, especially when paired with metal hardware.

Resin: Clear resin can encase small objects or images, resulting in a sleek and polished appearance for your keychains.

Each of these alternatives allows for distinct design possibilities, and you can even combine different materials to create truly one-of-a-kind keychains that match your style and preferences.

What are some creative techniques for adding intricate details and personalization to keychains made without shrink plastic?

When crafting keychains without using shrink plastic, there are numerous creative techniques you can employ to add intricate details and personalize your creations. Here are some ideas:

Embossing: Use embossing powders and a heat gun to create raised designs on materials like polymer clay, metal, or leather. This adds texture and depth to your keychains.

Decoupage: Apply decorative paper or fabric to the surface of your keychains using decoupage glue. This technique allows you to incorporate intricate patterns and images.

Beadwork: Incorporate beadwork by sewing or gluing beads onto fabric or leather keychains. Create intricate patterns or even bead initials or names.

Embroidery: Add embroidered details to fabric keychains. Embroidery stitches can create intricate designs, textures, and even monograms.

Pyrography: Use a woodburning tool to etch detailed designs onto wooden keychains. This technique is especially effective on natural materials like wood.

Inlay: Create inlays by embedding smaller pieces of contrasting materials (like metal, wood, or colored resin) into your keychain’s surface for a striking visual effect.

Laser Cutting: If you have access to a laser cutter, you can create intricate and precise designs on various materials like wood, acrylic, or leather.

Mixed Media: Combine various materials, such as combining fabric with metal charms or incorporating beads into polymer clay designs, to achieve a unique and multidimensional look.

How does polymer clay compare to shrink plastic for crafting keychains, and what advantages does it offer?

Polymer clay and shrink plastic are both popular materials for crafting keychains, each offering unique qualities and creative opportunities. Here’s how they compare and the advantages that polymer clay offers:

Ease of Use: Polymer clay is generally easier to work with, especially for beginners. It’s pliable and can be shaped, molded, and sculpted without requiring intricate cutting or design beforehand, which is often necessary with shrink plastic.

Versatility: Polymer clay comes in a wide range of colors and can be blended to create custom shades. It can also be textured, imprinted, and mixed with other materials to achieve various effects.

Size and Shape: While shrink plastic starts larger and shrinks significantly, polymer clay retains its size after baking. This allows you to work on a larger scale or create more intricate details.

Durability: Polymer clay keychains are sturdy and durable after baking, making them less prone to damage compared to the thin and delicate nature of shrink plastic.

Complex Designs: Polymer clay allows for more complex and 3D designs due to its sculpting properties. It’s excellent for creating miniature sculptures, characters, and intricate patterns.

Baking Process: Polymer clay needs to be baked in an oven to harden, which offers control over the crafting process. Shrink plastic requires a quick shrinking process, which might be harder to manage precisely.

Are there any safety precautions or specific equipment recommendations when making keychains without shrink plastic?

When making keychains without using shrink plastic, certain safety precautions and equipment recommendations can ensure a safe and enjoyable crafting experience. Here are some guidelines to consider:

Safety Precautions:

Ventilation: Regardless of the materials you’re using, ensure proper ventilation in your crafting area. Some crafting materials, such as paints, adhesives, and finishes, may emit fumes that can be harmful if inhaled.

Safety Gear: When working with certain materials like polymer clay, it’s a good idea to wear gloves to avoid direct contact with your skin, especially if you have sensitivities. If you’re using paints, wear protective clothing to prevent staining.

Heat Tools: If you’re using heat tools like embossing guns or woodburning tools, be cautious of their hot surfaces. Keep them away from flammable materials and always unplug them when not in use.

Sharp Tools: When cutting materials like fabric, leather, or polymer clay, use sharp tools and handle them carefully to prevent accidents.

Children and Pets: If you have young children or pets around, make sure that crafting materials, tools, and equipment are stored safely out of their reach.

Equipment Recommendations:

Cutting Tools: Have a variety of cutting tools on hand, such as craft knives, scissors, and hole punches, to cut and shape your materials effectively.

Heat Sources: Depending on the materials you’re using, you might need heat sources like ovens for baking polymer clay, heat guns for embossing, or woodburning tools for etching wood.

Adhesives: High-quality adhesives, like strong craft glue or E6000 adhesive, are essential for securely attaching different materials together.

How To Make Keychains Without Shrink Plastic


In the world of crafting, innovation knows no bounds, and this guide has taken you on an exciting journey through the art of making keychains without relying on traditional shrink plastic. As you’ve explored the realm of alternative materials and techniques, you’ve unlocked a realm of possibilities for creating personalized and captivating keychains that truly reflect your style and imagination.

From the versatility of polymer clay to the elegance of metal charms, from the warmth of wood to the texture of fabric, you’ve discovered a multitude of options to bring your keychain visions to life. By experimenting with various materials, textures, and creative techniques, you’ve uncovered the joy of crafting pieces that are not only visually appealing but also deeply meaningful.

Throughout this guide, safety precautions, equipment recommendations, and design ideas have equipped you with the tools needed to embark on your crafting adventure confidently. As you delve into the world of keychain crafting, remember that every step is an opportunity to infuse your personality into your creations and share your artistic flair with the world.


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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