Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shrink Plastic Project With Kids

In my post Recycled Bags Need Recycled Tags I shared with you how to use #6 plastic containers to make shrunken plastic tags.  At the time I thought this might be a fun craft project to do with kids.  Well I had my chance to try this project out recently with my 6 year old friend, Aubrei.

Hamming it up & ready for recycle fun!
Aubrei came to hang out with me one day while her daddy was at work.  Normally we like to go to the beach, playground  or just play outside in the yard when she visits. This time it was raining so that put a damper on our usual activities.  Time to get creative!

I took a look around the house for something fun we could do together and I found a clam shell container with the #6 in the triangle.  What luck!  I know just what to do with that.  We'll make some recycled shrunken plastic beads.

We had a lot of fun doing this project together.  Here's how you can too.

  • #6 plastic for recycling
  • scissors
  • permanent markers 
  • hole punch
  • scratch paper
  • cookie sheet
  • oven
  • string
  • beads
  • adult supervision
To start out, line a work area for the child with some heavy scratch paper.  I recycled a brown bag for this project.  Kids don't get to use permanent markers very often, so be sure to explain what permanent means or you may wind up with a "tattooed" little tyke or a redecorated work table!

Recycle artist in training!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheet with additional scratch paper.

Cut out different shapes from your plastic and punch a hole in each one.  These will be about 1/3 the original size after shrinking, so make them large enough for the child to draw on, but small enough to use for beading. 

While you are busy cutting out the plastic for the beads, have your child color a picture on the scratch paper.

All ready for the oven
Once the child has finished coloring interesting designs & pictures on the plastic, add them to the cookie sheet. Leave about 1/4" between each plastic shape.

When all your plastic shapes are decorated or you've  filled the cookie sheet, it's time to put them in the oven.  Be sure you run your range fan to ventilate any fumes.

Remove from the oven after 2-3 minutes and allow to cool out of reach of little fingers.  They will have shrunken down to about 1/3 of the original size and will have thickened up substantially.

Recycled beads make unique keepsakes
While your recycle beads are cooling, gather up your other beads and some string. 

For young children use large beads with large holes that are easy for small hands to work with.  Stringing beads is a good activity for developing  hand eye coordination.  

I like to tie 1 large bead to the end of the string as a stopper so they don't pull the string all the way through the bead.  Now just let them choose and add their own beads being as creative as they like.

Your homemade recycle beads will have holes too small for young children to string, so add a jump ring or string loop for them.

A special gift for Aubrei's special friend
You can make bracelets, necklaces and even sun catchers.

Aubrei decided to make a necklace for Bunny!

This project was a lot of fun!  We got to spend time creating together and we talked about recycling too.  Aubrei said her favorite part was using permanent markers! She was so proud of her finished necklace for her stuffed bunny too!

I hope you'll try this one with your children.  It's such a great way to encourage creativity and recycling. 


  1. I would be a little bit leery of heating plastic. The fumes are toxic.

  2. Dear Anon,

    If you are trying to reach me regarding an order or anyother matter, please note that I have a new email address: christi_spangler at I would be happy to help you resolving any issue you may be having. I have a delivery confirmation of all bags that were sent out in April and May 2010 and all orders were delivered according to the USPS and my records.


Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear what you think!


Share |
Related Posts with Thumbnails