I’ve got a serious sweet tooth, but lately I’ve been avoiding sugar for health reasons, which is a whole other post. Today instead we’re going to relish in some zero-calorie sugary goodness, and I’m going to share my tips for how to use Cricut to cut Shrinky Dinks shrink film.
This month’s Fresh Cuts SVG Bundle is packed with tons of darling Sweet Shoppe projects and has lots of DIY Christmas gift potential! This bundle makes me think of a Gingerbread House, which of course makes me think of the upcoming Holidays… and all of the goodies in this Sweet Shoppe Fresh Cuts SVG Bundle would be perfect Christmas gifts. If you like DIY Christmas Gifts, then listen up because this one’s for you.
My daughter Attalie got a little carried away with this Sweet Shoppe theme and drew lots of adorable treats that you’d certainly like to eat if they weren’t made of plastic. It’s actually been so fun partnering with my daughter on these Fresh Cuts projects. She loves drawing the graphics and then I’m teaching her how to vectorize them and turn them into SVGs. Right now I still handle most of that part, but I love that she wants to learn how to do these fun things that I do.
What are SVG files?
Speaking of SVG… I get this question a lot so if you’re not familiar, SVG files are Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), which means you can resize them from tiny to gigantic without sacrificing any image quality. You can use SVG files for a wide range of projects like digital scrapbooking or cardmaking, and SVG files are the best file format for designs to cut with a Cricut, Silhouette or other cutting machines.
SVG files are graphics that are totally scaleable so you can use them for a wide range of projects, especially with cutting machines like Cricut.
Attalie used the Sugar Babies SVG files from the bundle to make an adorable Shrinky Dink candy charm bracelet, and I’ll walk you through how to use the Cricut to cut Shrinky Dinks in a second so you can make that too. I used my “Sugar Baby Sugar” hand-lettered phrase to make a fun shirt for one of my other daughters.
DIY Christmas Gift Ideas
This Fresh Cuts Sweet Shoppe bundle is filled with DIY Christmas Gift ideas there is lot of potential for DIY aprons, kitchen hand towels, or tees. You could make lots of adorable gift tags PLUS there is even a cut file for making darling scallop boxes perfect for packaging up holiday baked sweets!
How to Cut Shrinky Dinks with a Cricut
It took a ton of trial and error to figure out the best Cricut settings… I had searched online trying to find some Cricut Material settings for Shrinky Dinks shrink film but everything I saw was old and the settings didn’t seem to translate to the newer Cricut machines. Lucky for you I’ve wasted all my Shrinky Dinks paper so you don’t have to — you’re welcome LOL!
First, Print Your Shrinky Dinks!
I love the Cricut Maker’s Print Then Cut feature (directions here). I decided to test out how to use my Cricut to cut the Shrinky Dink shrink film. If you’re not familiar with the plastic shrinky film: it most closely resembles overhead transparency, but when you heat these plastic shrinky sheets up they melt down and get thicker. It’s pretty much magic!
You will need to import the Sugar Babies SVG files from your Fresh Cuts Sweet Shoppe bundle into the Cricut Design Space where you can Print then Cut. The design software will automatically recognize the different color layers in the SVG file, but this time we want everything to just print together. So click the top layer of the file group, (shown at No. 1 in the screenshot below) and this should select all the parts of the graphic. Next click on the flatten button (No. 2) Once you’ve got the designed flattened, you’ll want to adjust the size as desired in the area shown at No. 3.
To make a “Sugar Baby Sugar” charm then you’ll need to make a rectangle border for it so the Cricut won’t try to cut out each letter. This is easy to do in Cricut’s Design Space. After importing the SVG file, go to left bar and select the “Shapes” button then click on “Square” (No. 1). Drag a rectangle around the “Sugar Baby Sugar” graphic. Next right click on the rectangle and select “Move to Back” (No. 2).
When Sizing, Don’t Forget These Will Shrink!
When sizing these, keep in mind that when you heat the Shrinky Dinks they will shrink (DUH!) to almost half size. The shrink film packaging I used said the material will shrink to 50% of the original size. So I made my charms about 2 inches on their long side so I’d end up with charms that were about an inch tall.
Once you have your graphics all flattened and sized, hit the green “Make It” button. Here the Cricut interface will guide you through the whole process — it’s super easy! It will tell you when to print your design from within the Cricut Design Space.
Be sure finely sand your white Shrink film using 220-grit or finer sand paper. NOTE: You can use my same Cricut material setting to cut clear Shrink film, but the Print-then-Cut feature did not work with the clear film because the lines on the mat were visible through the clear film and messed with the Print-then-Cut sensor.
I’d like to introduce you to my new Canon PIXMA iP8720 printer — I’m seriously IN LOVE with this thing. The print quality it AH-mazing, and, not that I’m printing that large for this project, but this bad boy can print up to 13×19 inches! (Not that expensive on Amazon!) Just thought you’d like to know ;)
Cricut Settings to Cut Shrinky Dinks
Once you’ve printed, then let the printed shrink film dry for about a half hour so it won’t smudge while the Cricut is cutting. It takes a full 24 hours for the ink to cure so you’ll want to try very hard to avoid touching any of the printed parts of the shrink film. Luckily if you do, the smudges also shrink in the oven and sometimes will totally disappear ;) but still be careful!
Now is the time for you to make sure your Cricut Custom Materials are set to cut Shrinky Dinks. The shrink plastic is tough for the Cricut to cut through, but I finally found settings that worked well. Within the Cricut Design Space, you are going to want to create a custom material. You can do this two places – from the Design Space Canvas you can click the triple-dash icon in the upper left corner then select “Manage Custom Materials.” Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list and click the “Add New Material” button. Enter the settings shown below and save. After printing the project, Cricut’s Design Space will prompt you to select a material, and you’ll want to find the custom shrink film one you created.
You can also add a material after you’ve got your design ready to print. When you click the green “make it” button the interface guides you through the cutting steps, and it will prompt you to select a material. Click the “View All” link on top right, then scroll to the bottom and click the “Add New Material” button. Here are the settings to use:
Cricut Custom Material Settings for Shrinky Dinks film
Cut Pressure: 350
Blade Type: Fine Point Blade
I used the Heavy Grip Cricut Cutting Mat (the purple one in this pack) for this project because the shrinky has to get cut six times and you want it to stay put!
Before you Shrink…
Remember to cut holes in your charms with a paper punch so you’ll have a way to attach a jump ring to your Shrink Dink charms. I prefer to use an 1/8-inch hole punch, which is about half the size of a standard hole punch. Now you’re ready to bake your Shrinky Dink Charms — this is the magic part!!!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake your cut Shrinky dinks in the oven according to your shrink film’s package instructions. We used 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes. We always watch through the oven window because it’s amazing (seriously your kids will LOVE it), but also to make sure all goes well. If you experience trouble with your shrink film shapes curly and sticking to themselves, you can cover them with second layer of parchment to keep them more flat as they shrink. I tend to do this, but my daughter likes to leave it off so she can have a better view as they shrink.
Make a DIY Metal Chain Charm Bracelet …
Take the DIY Shrinky Dinks charms out and let them cool. Then you’re ready to assemble your charm bracelet! You can use an already existing metal charm bracelet, but it’s cheaper and super easy to make your own. You’ll need: metal chain, several jump rings (I used both 4mm & 6mm), clasps. Make sure to buy all your jewelry findings in the same metal finish — I used silver plated. You will also need a set of needle nose pliers (like the ones in this jewelry-making plier set on Amazon).
Begin by cutting a length of chain to your desired length. (Wrap around your wrist to check!) You can use metal cutters or strong scissors for this part. Then attach the clasp to one end with a 4mm jump ring. Attach a larger jump ring to the other end so you have a metal chain bracelet!
Next attach a larger jump ring to each of your charms then hook them onto the bracelet chain. Be sure to evenly space your charms and voila!
Don’t forget to download this month’s Fresh Cuts Sweet Shoppe SVG Bundle at it’s super-discounted introductory price — the price doubles next month!