Yes, you can use acrylic paint on shrinky dinks. In fact, acrylic paint will give you vibrant, beautifully colored artwork on your Shrinky dink, better than most other types of paint.
It’s possible to use acrylic paint on your Dinks because acrylic paint is water-based and extremely versatile. But if you want to achieve the best result, there are certain things you must consider. These include the following:
- The acrylic paint you intend to use must be properly thinned before using it on the Shrinky Dinks. If you use thick acrylic paint, it will crack when you’re shrinking your Dink.
- Make sure that you do not use too much acrylic paint. Adding a thick or heavy layer of paint doesn’t make the color vivid. Instead, it will cause the paint to crack.
- Acrylic paint can be used on Shrinky Dinks either before or after baking (shrinking) it. But if you choose to apply the acrylic paint before shrinking Dink, allow the acrylic paint to dry completely. This is important, otherwise, the acrylic paint will peel off.
Like I said earlier, you can use acrylic paint on your Shrinky Dinks either before or after shrinking them. The choice depends on your preference.
But if this is your first time painting Shrinky Dinks, I’ll recommend that you apply the acrylic paint before shrinking Dinks.
Painting before shrinking provides you with a wider painting surface and also allows the paint to sink into the plastic while baking.
Painting after shrinking leaves you with a smaller painting surface. Also, heat may affect how the colors show on the Shrinky Dink after baking.
Do you want to give it a try decorating your Shrinky Dinks? Then read on!
How to Paint Shrinky Dinks with Acrylic?
To achieve the best result, I have put together a simple step-by-step guide on how to paint Shrinky Dinks with acrylic. To get started, you will need the following materials:
- Shrinky Dinks
- Scissors or X-Acto knife
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic paint pen
- Baking sheet/Parchment paper
- Clear acrylic sealer
Prepare Your Acrylic Paint
Shrinky Dinks are made of plastic. So, when choosing acrylic paint(s) to use on your Dinks, it’s important to use the type of acrylic paint(s) specially made for plastic. If possible, get the type of acrylic paints made for Shrinky Dinks.
Using glossy or ink-based acrylic paints will also work just fine.
Pour out the acrylic paint into a smaller container and thin it properly. Remember, if you paint Shrinky Dinks with thick acrylic paint, the acrylic paint will crack when you shrink Dinks in the oven. Don’t forget to also use different containers for different colors.
Create Designs on Shrinky Dinks
Depending on the surface of the Shrinky Dinks, you may need to sand the surface of your Dinks to enable the acrylic paints to stick well.
Get 320-grit sandpaper and sand the surface of them. After sanding, place the Dinks on a flat, clean, and white surface.
Use a pencil to carefully sketch out your desired designs on the Dinks. You can also use a cookie cutter to trace out the designs on the surface.
Make sure that the designs are very large else they will disappear when the Dink shrinks.
Designs on Shrinky Dinks usually shrink to about one-third of the original size after shrinking it. Once you’re done sketching out your design, you should use a pair of scissors to carefully cut out any patterns you make on the Dinks.
Paint your Shrinky Dinks
If you want to outline the edges of your designs, make the edges thicker by highlighting them with an acrylic paint pen.
After that, use a fine-tipped paintbrush to apply acrylic paint to your designs. At this point, get creative and use as many colors as you want as long as you achieve the beautiful designs you want.
Two layers of acrylic paint are enough to achieve a vivid and brighter color. Don’t forget that applying too many layers of acrylic paint can cause cracking. But make sure that the first layer of paint is dry completely before applying the second layer or any additional colors.
Use the paintbrush to also carefully add every detail to your design. Once you’re done painting, leave the acrylic paint to dry completely before moving to the next step.
Bake the Shrinky Dinks
Here’s how to bake your painted Shrinky Dinks:
Preheat your oven to about 325°F. Pull out the baking tray and lay a baking sheet or parchment paper over it. Then place the Shrinky Dinks on the tray with the painted side facing upward.
Don’t place the Shrinky Dinks too close to one another to prevent them from sticking together. Push the baking tray into the oven and bake for about 1 to 2 minutes or as specified in the instruction manual in the Shrinky Dinks pack.
As the Dinks shrink, they’ll reduce in size and also become about 9x thicker than their initial sizes. Once baked, remove the Dinks from the oven. Be careful not to overbake the Dinks, this might cause the acrylic paint to crack/peel, or burn up the Dinks.
Also, observe areas around the Shrinking Dinks that are curling more than other parts. Press down these areas gently with a spatula or place a flat board over the Dinks as the Dinks cool. If you don’t have an oven, you can bake your Shrinky Dinks using a hair dryer, especially if they are small-sized.
If you’re using a hair dryer, concentrate the heat on the Shrinky Dinks and watch them bake. Switch off the hair dryer once the Dinks are baked and allow the Dinks to cool. Once cooled, the designs on the Shrinky Dinks should appear brighter and more vivid.
Seal the Acrylic Paint on the Shrinky Dinks
To preserve and protect your designs from fading or peeling off over time, you should seal the designs with a clear acrylic sealer.
Use a paintbrush to gently apply a layer of clear acrylic sealer over your Shrinky Dinks. Dip the paintbrush in water and brush it over the sealer to have a smooth and even finish.
Apply a second layer of acrylic sealer and brush it over with water again. Allow the sealant to dry completely.
Once the sealant is dry, use a paper towel to rub on the surface of the Shrinky Dinks to make it shiny. In place of an acrylic sealer, you can also use embossing powder to give it a thick and glossy finish.
If you’re using embossing powder, preheat your oven to about 325°F. Place the Shrinky Dinks on the baking pan and cover its entire surface with the embossing powder. Place the Dinks back into the oven and watch it closely.
Take out the Shrinky Dinks immediately after the embossing powder becomes clear and leave it to cool completely before handling. Your Shrinky Dinks should come out amazing.
Advantages of Using Acrylic Paints on Shrinky Dink
1. Acrylic Paints are Water Soluble
This is one major advantage of acrylic paints over others. It’s water soluble and this allows for easy correction of mistakes while painting.
2. Acrylic Paints Dries Faster
Acrylic paint dries faster within a short period making it possible to finish up your work faster and also to paint as much as possible Shrinky dinks within a speculated time frame.
3. Acrylic Paints Allows for Additional Layers of Paint
Within a short duration, you can apply as many layers of acrylic paint as you want without affecting the underlying layers so far, each layer dries before adding the next layer.
4. Acrylic Paint Is Versatile
Acrylic paint can be applied on any type of surface without issues.
Disadvantages of Applying Acrylic Paint on Shrinky Dinks
1. Acrylic Paint Can Peel and Crack
When thick layers of acrylic paint are applied on Shrinky Dinks, it peels and cracks when baked. To avoid this, acrylic paint has to be diluted to have a thin consistency.
2. Can Change Slightly in Color
The shade of acrylic paint you apply on your Shrinky Dinks may change slightly due to the effect of the oven heat. This acrylic paint can become darker after baking.
Acrylic paint is a great medium to use on Shrinky Dinks, but there are some things you need to keep in mind.
Make sure to dilute the paint so it’s not too thick, and watch out for colors that might change after being heated. Other than that, have fun with your designs and enjoy your creation!