Creating Children’s ID Tags using Shrinky Dinks

Download a PDF version of this guide here: IDtags

There are plenty of options to purchase ID tags for your kids, and plenty of good reasons to have one somewhere on their clothing or body every time you go places where parents and kids tend to get separated.

Information on the tag can be as simple as a parent’s cell phone number. You can add the child’s full name, the parent’s name, an address, or information on medical conditions.

Joggers or anyone that recreates by themselves also should have some form of ID, one of these tags is an easy and lightweight way to have it with you at all times. It can be worn around your neck, or more easily attached to a shoelace.

They also make cheap and easy Pet ID tags!

You can usually find the basic Shrinky Dink plastic at WalMart, or online through Amazon. The least expensive option is their refill kit which includes 6 blank sheets for less than $6

Starting out you’ll need Shrinky Dinks Ruff N’ Ready plain sheets, a pair of scissors, a hole punch, and an oven. You can draw on the Shrinky Dinks using permanent ink felt pens, colored pencil, acrylic paints or any other permanent media. ANY colored pencil will work…but for artistic results, Berol Prisma Color, or Faber Castell work best. Color Crayola puts out a low cost pencil that works fine for kids. Colors intensify and get brighter after baking.

DO NOT use charcoal based pencils or water based markers or crayons.

Your packet should include a small ruler to determine your finish product size. The paper on top shows how big a 3″ wide design will be when it’s done shrinking. A raw 2.5″ to 3″ round design will be small enough to comfortably wear, and still be legible.

Next, you can design your own graphic, or use ours as a template. Print in black ink on regular paper and do not re-size the graphic. Be sure it measures about 3″ at the widest point.

Tape a piece of the Shrinky Dink plastic over the top of your graphic with the rough side facing up.

Get artistic! Color in the design, get as crazy as you want, but be sure the area with the phone number stays very legible. We recommend using an indelible black ink pen for the phone number.

Our design is done. We’ve stayed pretty basic, just using two indelible ink pens for the design.

Holding just the edges of the plastic, remove the tape (ink and pencils will still smudge at this point, so don’t touch the design).

Being careful not to smudge your artwork, cut around the outside edge, making sure you have no sharp corners.

Hold the cutout carefully by the edges.

Use a regular hole punch to make the hole. If you are using this as a shoelace fob, you could punch two holes (one in each ear) so the tag can be laced into the shoe more snugly (keeps it from flapping around).

You can see we’re right at 3″ here.

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Cut out a piece of flat brown paper bag or flat cardboard (no ink or shiny facing) and place your artwork on the bag.

Fold a corner of the bag up so it’s easier to grab, and place the bag and art on a cookie sheet (don’t use the air-filled ones).

Once the oven is ready (don’t do this with the element still on), place the cookie sheet inside, close the door, and turn on the oven light. Don’t walk away, this will be quick.

Soon your beautiful design will start curling up like a crumpled piece of paper. Don’t panic, they very rarely stick together (if they do, quickly separate with chopsticks and continue baking).

Whew! The Shrinky Dink magically flattens out and is suddenly much smaller that it was before.

After the piece lays flat, allow an additional 30 seconds of baking time to complete the process. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, if the tag isn’t completely flat, lay a non-wrinkled piece of foil on top and flatten with a spatula.

And here’s our masterpiece, all shrunk and cool looking. Finished size is exactly to the Shrinky Dink ruler.

Edges of your ID tag can be filed or sanded down. A metal fingernail file works very well for this, just be careful not to scratch the frosted surface. Round off the back edges also.

You can see after gently rounding the edges, this would be much more comfortable to wear.

You can use a shoelace, ID chain, or beading string to make a necklace.

Or lace it up in your shoes. If the hole isn’t large enough, use the metal fingernail file to open up the hole by rotating the file in the hole to remove material.

For even longer life, you can add a clear coat on top of the art. Here is a list of the coatings that work well Be sure that whatever you use, you start with a very light spray or a quick brush-on. Allow that thin coat to dry and seal the ink before adding a heavier coat. We recommend solvent-based products for the most water-proof and wear-proof seal.

That’s it! Now go create some fun tags!


One thought on “Creating Children’s ID Tags using Shrinky Dinks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s