Remember this stuff? Draw a picture on a clear plastic sheet, pop it in the oven and watch it curl up and thicken into half its original size. When I was a kid, I made my own Shrinky Dinks out of hard, containers from the supermarket. (Nobody in my family knew enough about chemistry to realize I could be releasing toxic fumes into the air, or creating a molten blob of plastic in the toaster oven…) I don’t remember what, if anything, I did with the results, but nowadays they’re popular for zipper pulls, jewelry, etc.
If you want to try make your own Shrinky Dinks, use only polystyrene plastic. It will have a triangular Recycling Code Number 6 on it. (Directions here from the American Chemical Society.) We made some (from store-bought plain sheets) as part of our exploration of polymers. You don’t have to make cute little keychain bobs — the boys made dark evil creatures with theirs. TINY dark evil creatures.
(See my less evil designs here.)
Kathy Ceceri posts about chemistry fun at HomeChemistry.blogspot.com!