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"Home made 'shrinkies' markers..." Topic

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Bozkashi Jones15 Apr 2019 10:02 a.m. PST

After an interesting post by FlyXwire about using 'Shrinkies' ( TMP link ), I decided to experiment with them myself to make some gaming tokens. For those who don't know, Shrinkies are sold as small sheets, onto which one can draw a design. After a few minutes in the oven they come out up to seven times smaller and seven times thicker, so they can make quite good counters.

Drawing on the designs was quite straight forward – I just wanted to do a few as an experiment to start with so I did a variety of designs.

Once they come out they're neat discs with fairly vibrant colours. Here the USS Wainwright has been activated and is using active radar. I use an initiative system, so the national flags are drawn from a bag – apologies to all the Americans on the forum: I realised that I should have had a white bar below the blue as soon as I started colouring it in.

And the Iranian frigate Sahand being jammed.

As a first try, I'm quite encouraged by the results. I might try printing the designs and I obviously need them to lie flat, but they feel really nice in the hand and, if I can get them right, I'll save a fortune on Litko markers!


Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 10:20 a.m. PST

Nick, great job!

Yep, and as you pull them off your "cookie tray" with a spatula from out of the oven (one at a time, or by dumping them off onto your kitchen counter), you can "tap" them with a couple of your fingers to flatten them up against the counter-top's surface. Tap 'em to keep from burning your fingers that is. ;)

Hey, once you go "Shrinky" you can never go back…… :)))

The first time I tried this stuff was when converting the Battle Cry board game for using little "flats" made for unit pieces in a 3Dized version of that game -


(we're only limited by the skill we can cut the outlines out with our scissors)

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 10:34 a.m. PST

I've done this before, and will again, for markers; it's fun (if time-consuming) and shiny.

I quickly found that the brand name Shrinky Dinks plastic works a lot better than the cheap brand-X. SO much so that I just tossed out the cheap stuff.

Blog report here: link

rmaker15 Apr 2019 3:24 p.m. PST

Is a polymer clay oven hot enough for this, or do you need to clutter up the kitchen?

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2019 4:15 p.m. PST

I cook mine at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, for 2.5 mins. Probably can go for a shorter duration of heating if a smaller size 'dink', but this is a good timing number for near-full-sheet-size objects (this gives them time to unwrap and flatten out on the sheet pan). I also use a piece of brochure paper to arrange the 'dinks' out on, and lift this down and into the sheet pan. After cooking, a spatula can be used to elevate the carrying, card stock up and out of the pan, ready to begin any flattening pressing if needed.

Some more examples of types of game markers that can be made with Shrinky Dinks plastic (the red hearts seen below are commercial-bought products) -

The black powder (reload) markers seen served double-duty as broadside firing indicators for Sails of Glory.

Here's some more spam for Nick's thread – Shrinky Dinks game aircraft. These were made from profile artwork off the web, and printed out to a rough scale to each other, and at a size that estimated their shrinkage rate size post-baking. Some of the vertical and horizontal tail surfaces were separate pieces glued into place and/or slotted into place like the old balsa wood, rubber-band powered toy planes were assembled.

Bozkashi Jones16 Apr 2019 1:57 a.m. PST

You've done some really cool things there FlyXwire! MiniMo – I like the translucent effect too and the hole punch would make life so much easier.

Looking at what you've done I reckon I've barely scratched the surface of what can be done with these – those planes look very cool.

I did try printing at first but had problems aligning properly due to the small sheet size, and the ink was easy to smudge if it was touched to soon but the colours started to bleed if left to long – you've obviously got round these problems so grateful for any advice.

Oh, and 'shrinkles' are the same product as 'shrinky dinks' – just a different brand name in the UK for some reason.



Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2019 5:59 a.m. PST

Nick, then see if Shrinkies brand makes an inkjet printable version, this is what you'll need if you want to use them in a printer. The surface of the regular shrinkies is too slick, as opposed to the inkjet version sheets which are grainy-topped (and maybe a little porous). I've also used a hair dryer sometimes to speed up and assure my inkjet ink is dried on the sheeting before handling them for cutting.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2019 6:41 a.m. PST

Whoa, cool airplanes!

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2019 8:20 a.m. PST

I also made some small markers for Girls und Panzer games. I found with the small translucent ones that it helped to spray-paint the back in gloss white for the best visibility.

Legion 416 Apr 2019 2:24 p.m. PST

thumbs up

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2019 9:57 p.m. PST

When my son was five or six (now 49) he made figures from what were then called " shrinky dinks". He would trace pictures from Wargame figure catalogs, Color them, heat them and ended up with a huge army, he must've had hundreds of them. I think they would fight against his cicada shell monsters.

Personal logo FlyXwire Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2019 6:23 a.m. PST

What a great story and remembrance Bobgnar!

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2019 8:17 a.m. PST

That reminds me, I'll be wanting to make numbered speed markers for Mad Maximillian, and Shrinky Dinks will be great because I can do the Green, Yellow, and Red speeds in different shapes so my colour-blind friend can quickly spot the speed band at a glance.

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