Shrinky Dinks entered the toy and craft scene in 1973. Inside the boxes were sheets of plastic – they came with either outlined drawings that you could colour in yourself, or blank pages, upon which practically any tracing, drawing or rubber stamp picture could be imposed.
After the artwork was coloured in, you cut them out, laid them out on a baking sheet (or looked over mum’s shoulder as she did), and then slid them into an oven for a few minutes. The plastic sheets shrunk to nearly a third of their original size and became many times thicker.
When you plucked the cut-outs from the oven, they had become hardened little masterpieces – their colours were brighter and more intense and if you had accidentally coloured outside the lines when your creation was in its plastic sheet stage, your mistakes were miraculously baked away!
There were TV and movie tie-in Shrinky Dinks, as well as arcade and toy store salutes. To name just a few: Star Wars, Pac-Man, Smurfs, Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbie, Power Rangers, and Mr T from The A-Team.
There was also a whole realm of other more practical possibilities. You could make jewellery, game pieces, gift or pet tags, magnets, ornaments, zipper pulls, bike plates, traced photos and key chains.
And besides the coloured pencils or markers or paint, all you needed for products like these was a paper hole punch and some good glue.
This was the perfect rainy day activity when you were looking for something a little more interactive than your colouring book.