How to Color Shrinky Dinks

Shrinky Dinks seemingly came and went years ago. However, they’ve had a recent resurgence amongst arts and crafts lovers. 

When it comes to coloring Shrinky Dinks, you may have experienced some setbacks. Well, this is because there are a few important factors to know before you start coloring these toys to achieve the best results. 

After reading through our post below, you’ll be left with a better idea about how to properly color a Shrinky Dink. 

Things to Consider

Permanent markers are best for coloring Shrinky Dinks. This is due to how these markers produce the best results when drawing on glossy surfaces. However, there are other factors to consider, which include the following.


The type of ink that’s used is important when coloring in Shrinky Dinks. Ideally, the ink should be bright in color. It’s also best to find ink that can withstand high temperatures. 

This is to ensure that your designs stay on the surface whilst the toys are placed into the oven. Ink that’s too waxy is more likely to melt and change color once it comes out of the oven. 

Some people try and use colored pencils on Shrinky Dinks, but they tend to fade when the toy is heated, and the Shrinky Dinks shrink. You could also try using acrylic paint markers on Shrinky Dink plastic, but permanent markers have proven to be the most effective for staying on the surface when the plastic shrinks.


The surface of Shrinky Dinks is plastic and glossy. Therefore, you must find markers that work well on this type of surface. 

The best type of ink is the kind that sticks properly to plastic surfaces and doesn’t smudge easily. You can test this out by using different pens on plastic sheets and seeing which one dries the quickest and doesn’t smudge as much. 

Furthermore, once the ink has dried, be sure to look for any cracks. If there are small cracks, it means that the ink is unlikely to withstand the heat and stay on the Shrinky Dink surface. 

Pen Tip

Due to how these toys have small areas to be colored in, it’s best to use markers that have fine-point tips. This is to ensure that you can be as accurate as possible when it comes to coloring in the smaller areas.

This also means that you can be more specific about adding small details to the toy without accidentally getting ink on areas that didn’t need it. You may even want to consider using an extra-fine nib if you’re planning to add tiny details to the toy’s surface. 

Which Pen is Best for Coloring Shrinky Dinks?

Sharpie permanent markers have proven to be the best when drawing on Shrinky Dinks. This is due to how the ink dries quickly on the surface and isn’t prone to smudging or cracking when the toy is placed inside a conventional oven.

Having said that, some have noticed that the colors become darker once the toy has been heated. This is something to keep in mind when coloring on the surface. 

Acrylic paint pens can maintain more vibrant colors after being heated on shrink plastic. However, whilst acrylic markers stay closer to their exact color after being exposed to high heat, you may find that acrylic paints don’t last for as long.

Also read: How to Permanently Write on Rocks


After reading through our post on the best ways to color Shrinky Dinks, you may be feeling more assured about the process. Be sure to refer back to this post when it comes to making Shrinky Dinks to ensure that you get the best possible results. 


Can you use colored pencils on Shrinky Dinks?

A graphite colored pencil can work on frosted Shrinky Dinks. However, they won’t be as durable as permanent markers.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.