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How to Make Word Charms

shrinky dink plastic + markers = inspiration

The Ingredients

  • Shrinky Dink plastic paper. 1 sheet
  • Fine point Sharpie permanent marker or PITT pen
  • Optional: Colored pencils, sandpaper
  • Small hole punch
  • Embroidery floss, raffia, or thin twine
  • Oven


  1. Think of words/phrases that inspire you. The names of important people in your life, positive words, action words, your word of the year, or random tasks you have to do. You can also trace tiny icons, doodles or pictograms instead of using words.
  2. Write your words or phrases on a sheet of shrinky dink plastic, a tiny bit larger than your regular writing. Use sharpie ultra-thin permanent markers or superfine nib PITT pens. Try colored pencils on the rough side (or sand the smooth side) of matte shrinky dink plastic. 
  3. Cut out each word or phrase, leaving space to the left of the first letter for a hole. Leave about 2x the width of the hole punch you will use.
  4. Punch a hole to the left of the words or phrases with a standard hole punch.
  5. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet; place the little words on top of the parchment paper. Don't place the words directly on the baking sheet or aluminum foil. Hint: Put 1 sheet of parchment paper on top of your words and put little stones on the corners of the parchment to keep it where you want it. As the words heat, they will curl up then back down and the parchment keeps them flatter.
  6. Bake in the oven per package instructions.... heated ours at 260 degrees F for 3-5 minutes. WARNING: shrinky dinks will be HOT but cool quickly. 
  7. Cut lengths of embroidery floss in vivid colors, or a color scheme you like, and attach to the word charms.

Ideas for using charms:

  • Make a charm bracelet by attaching words to leather/suede cord with jump rings
  • Use them to decorate tags for gifts, baskets, etc.
  • Make them without a hole punch, put them in a pretty little dish and use them for inspiration on your desk or kitchen counter
  • Hang or glue them to an art journal page
  • Attach the embroidery floss to a horizontal wire across your inspiration board

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Reader Comments (6)

These are fabulous! What a great summer vacation craft, I love it! I'll be linking.

05.14.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Your posts & projects just make me so happy. I'm definitely going to be trying this one! : *)

05.14.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

This is so cool. I remember Shrinky dinks fondly.

05.14.2009 | Unregistered CommenterShell

You are IT. If you want to play, come to my blog.

05.16.2009 | Unregistered CommenterZom

These are really cute! We never buy shrinky dinks but I read years ago you could use plastic food containers for a similar effect. Anybody know if those would work and whether the fumes would be safe?

I love these.
I came across them via your photostream months ago and made my own version.
I only just today figured out where I had seen that photo and so was able to credit you as inspiration on my blog (in the posts that showed those charms).
My apologies for taking so long to credit you!

I can't use anything that has any kind of fumes so I wouldn't be able to use shrinky dinks but they could be done so many ways. I love the idea of the inspiration dish.

05.25.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiberty

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