Shrinky dinks were novelty toys that saw their heyday in the 70s. However, with the sudden resurgence of old hobbies due to people getting forced to stay at home for more than a year now, Shrinky dinks are gaining popularity again. If you are interested in getting into this hobby, you need to find the best markers for Shrinky dinks.
What are Shrinky dinks exactly? They are just sheets of polystyrene #6 that you cut into your desired shapes and then heat in the oven. They will shrink to about a third of their original size and become around 9 times thicker. You can also color them using markers before heating them in the oven so that the colors are baked in plastic.
However, not all markers work great with Shrinky dinks. Some markers fade when heated while others will downright melt away. To help you out, this article will teach you how to find the right markers.
- Best Marker for Shrinky Dink Reviews
- What to Look For When Buying a Marker For Shrinky Dink
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Marker for Shrinky Dink Reviews
1. Caliart Artist Dual Tip Art Markers
I discovered that these are some of the best markers for shrink plastic – the kind that you use for making Shrinky dinks. The inks have bright colors. They do not also fade when baked
I also use them for coloring, and they work almost identical to brands that are several times more expensive. If you are a beginner at using color markers, this product is a good start. This is especially true if you are on a tight budget.
This set contains 100 different colors. You will not be at a loss when it comes to color choices. You will find all the colors of the rainbow in several different shades. Also, to help you find the exact color you need, the set comes with a color guide as well as color-coded caps.
I also like the carrying case that came with these color markers. Although I like how you can conveniently organize your pens in metal carrying cases, they take up a lot of space on my drawing desk. These color pens come with a carrying case that holds the markers vertically, keeping things small and compact.
These markers also come with dual tips. It means that one end of the pen has a bullet point tip while the other has a broad, chisel point. This gives this set of markers a lot of versatility. The bullet-point tip is good for fine linework. On the other hand, the chisel point is nice for coloring large spaces and calligraphy.
I do not have much to complain about these markers, nothing too serious anyway. However, it does seem a bit annoying sometimes when certain markers have inaccurately colored caps.
Yes, the color code printed on the caps is correct. There are times when you just want to eyeball your color choices, and then the markers you get have a slightly different color than you thought you had.
2. Shuttle Art Permanent Markers
What makes these markers a good choice for making Shrinky dinks is that they can write on smooth surfaces, like on polystyrene #6 plastics. I tested them out on a couple of projects and they all turned out well. All the markers laid even layers of ink on the plastic sheets and most of the colors were completely opaque.
Speaking of the colors, this set comes with 48 colors of markers. Now, some people would think that this is not that impressive. However, when you see the variety of pigments that the set has, you will surely change your mind.
In the first place, you would not be making too many color gradients with Shrinky dinks anyway. With that said, having 48 significantly diverse colors is good enough.
These markers are not just for Shrinky dinks, mind you. You can also use them to make uniform fine lines, making them great for informal calligraphy and scrapbooking. I like how the ink flows out smoothly without blotting easily. Whenever I need to do posters for events, these items are among my go-to markers.
One of the reasons I prefer using these markers when making Shrinky dinks is that their ink dries fast, making them almost impossible to smudge. It is great because you will be using it to write on sheets of plastic that are quite difficult to work with.
It is also good if you are a lefty who always has to wipe off ink smudges from your wrist when using other writing pens.
Although this marker writes well on polystyrene and thick card stock, it does not work quite as well on regular paper. If you go over one spot more than once, you can be sure that the ink will bleed through the paper and onto the next page.
3. Paintigo Acrylic Paint Pens
These items are not your regular markers as they use thin acrylic paints instead of regular ink. This means that you are painting using pens instead of brushes. Because these markers dispense paints, you can expect them to be brighter and more opaque than traditional markers.
Even though these pens use acrylic paint, they dry almost as fast as ink. It will only take a couple of seconds for the paint to dry, so you do not need to worry about it smudging. This makes it ideal for making Shrinky dinks because you can use it to write over plastic sheets and the paint will not run or fade even after baking.
As mentioned earlier, these markers can effectively apply acrylic paint on shrink plastic. However, that is not all that it is good for. I used the markers to paint over ceramic mugs (which I then baked to make them permanent), wood, stones, and for making Easter eggs.
Of course, it also works excellently when used even on regular paper. The paint does not easily bleed through and it layers evenly. With the help of its nifty paint regulating system, the paint flows through the tip in an even stream.
It is one of the reasons why I also love using these markers for making calligraphy pieces. The lines are all even and do not blot. The 0.7mm tips of the markers are also the perfect size for line drawings.
The only thing that I did not like is that these pens are quite difficult to prime compared to other similar markers. When not used for a while, the ink seems to not want to flow as smoothly as it did before. This means you will be shaking several pens for a while.
4. Smart Color Art Permanent Markers
In my opinion, these markers are among the best for making Shrinky dinks. One reason is that the bullet point tips can draw small details and color small spaces. Aside from Shrinky dinks, I also tested them on line drawings, and I am happy to say that they could write consistent fine lines. I did not also have an issue with blotting whatsoever.
These markers do bleed through the paper when the ink is layered on top of each other. I advise that you place a sheet of paper underneath your project to keep the ink from bleeding through and ruining the surface underneath.
Another thing that I liked about these markers is that the set contains 30 different and vibrant colors. Some may think that 30 colors do not seem like much, but for Shrinky dinks and other arts and crafts projects, it is plenty enough. Besides, they contain the basic colors in different gradients, which is enough for basic blending and gradients.
I also like how the inks are completely waterproof once they dry on the surface. This feature also makes it a good choice for Shrinky dinks as this marker can write on polystyrene while still drying up quickly. Also, once you finish heating the polystyrene, the pigments bake into the plastic, making the colors permanent.
Speaking of drawing surfaces, I tested these markers on a lot of different media and they have worked well so far. Of course, they work on paper and cardboard, wood, fabrics, and other porous items. What surprised me is that they can also write on non-porous and completely smooth surfaces, like the polystyrene #6 used for Shrinky dinks.
I have tested these markers for drawing on regular sheets of paper and unless you are using a thick stock, the ink will easily bleed through it. I advise that you use these markers only on card stock and similar. Do not layer them more than two times, too.
5. Uni Posca Paint Markers
I liked the variety of colors provided by this set of acrylic markers. You will be getting around 22 standard colors that are the vibrant ones that you would usually see in regular marker sets (reds, greens, blues, etc.).
You will also be getting 7 natural colors, namely the flesh and earth tones. I am not a professional artist by any means, but I am completely satisfied with the color choices of this set.
Because these pens use acrylic paints instead of traditional inks, they lay down colors that are almost completely opaque, especially the darker shades. This makes them among the best choices for making brightly colored Shrinky dinks, even after baking the colors remain opaque.
Here is why I love using these paint pens for making Shrinky dinks. The pigment dries quickly and does not smudge. It is important if you will be creating something that uses many different colors, like if you are making butterflies or seashells. There is no chance of mixing the pigments accidentally, so colors that you intend to stay separate will do so.
The pen body is ergonomically designed and cradles perfectly in the hand. Even though these markers are a bit thicker than regular pens, they are still easy to hold and control. Also, note that though the tips are medium-sized, you can still use the pens to make accurate and uniform lines when needed.
Although I like these pens, I discovered that you must be careful when priming them before use. If you push the tip one too many times, the paint will leak quite a bit around the nib – after which, it will be a chore to clean.
6. Sharpie Permanent Markers
If you are a fan of Sharpies, then you will love this set of markers. You will be getting all the commercially available colors that the company has made so far. Aside from the traditional colors, there are also metallic and neon colors. Regardless of the kinds of Shrinky dinks you intend to make, you can be sure to find all the colors you need in it.
As mentioned above, aside from the regular markers, you will also receive markers that have metallic inks. Such inks are great for scrapbooking, journaling, and many other projects.
You will also get a couple of markers with neon colors. The neon colors are blindingly bright already when used on paper. The dark-colored ones will even glow when put under a black light.
The thing that I liked the most about using this brand is that they mean it when they say that these markers are permanent. Once dried, the ink is completely waterproof and fade proof.
Although the colors will somewhat get muted a bit, it will take quite a long time before that happens. I made a couple of Shrinky dinks using Sharpies a couple of years ago and their colors are still as vibrant now as they were back then.
If you buy this set of markers, you will receive not only all the colors and shades you need but also two sizes of points. Most of the set encompasses regular markers with fine tips. They are great for general drawing and coloring tasks.
You will also get some markers with ultra-fine tips. They are the ones that I use for drawings that need sharp lines, like architectural drawings.
Although I cannot find any fault when it comes to how these markers write, I kind of hoped that they arranged the pens in a more organized manner than just grouping them by color family. It would have been nice if the pens were color-coded at least.
7. BIC Intensity Fashion Permanent Markers
The thing that greatly impressed me about these markers is the BIC-patented Snap Cap. Unlike other markers with caps that do not seem to close tightly enough, the Snap Caps here are the real deal. Upon putting on the caps on the pens, you should hear an audible click. It means the cap made an airtight seal that not even ink fumes can escape.
Another feature of the markers that I liked a lot is the nibs. Although these pens still use fiber nibs, it makes use of the durable vinyl for its construction. In other words, they are capable of lasting for as long as the pens still have ink. These pens are built tough and can handle a lot of use and abuse.
Moreover, the pens have highly pigmented inks. Although they stand out when used on a dark background, their colors still pop when you use them on regular paper. It is also what makes them great for making Shrinky dinks. Although the inks are not opaque, you can still expect them to be vibrant when used on clear plastic.
Another thing I liked about BIC pens is that they are consistently comfortable to use, and these markers are not an exception. The textured grip does not only make them comfortable to hold but also lets you manipulate them in any way you want. If you like making mandalas or any other kind of line art, then these pens will serve you well.
Now, my issue with these pens is not that serious at all, and it might be a bit on the subjective side. My problem is that several shades within color families are too similar that most people would think that they are the same color. I sometimes think that this set would have been much cheaper if BIC just did away with the duplicate colors.
8. Prismacolor 3620 Premier Art Markers
Although Prismacolor Premier markers can be on the expensive side, you will surely be getting what you paid for. The best thing about these markers, in my opinion, is the fact that they have two types of tips each.
There is a fine, bullet-point tip on one end, and a broad chisel-point on the other. This means you can switch from drawing fine details to filling in large swatches with color without missing a beat.
These markers lay down an even coat of pigment with every stroke. You will not see any fading, also known as ghosting, when you use them to create lines. It is the reason why I love using these markers when I am doing fancy script calligraphy. I am fond of using the fine bullet-point tip for line drawings and coloring small spaces, like when making Shrinky dinks.
Although this set contains only 12 colors, which might seem to give you only a limited color palette, it is enough for a budding artist. Also, considering how pricey this brand of markers is, starting with this set is not a bad idea. Besides, if you will be making Shrinky dinks, you will love how they would turn out if you used these markers.
Now, as I mentioned before, these pens are a bit on the expensive side. However, you will be getting your money’s worth, guaranteed. One thing about these markers that you will love is that they contain an incredible amount of ink.
Coupled with very efficient and economical nibs, they can work great for a dozen or so large projects, or the equivalent of hundreds of Shrinky dinks.
Now, because these markers’ inks are so potent, you need to avoid using them on regular paper. The reason is that they would bleed through quite easily. Card stock is okay, but it is recommended to use them on something glossy, or at least semi-glossy so the ink can stay on the surface.
What to Look For When Buying a Marker For Shrinky Dink
If you are looking for markers that are specifically for making Shrinky dinks, what you need are permanent markers that can easily write on glossy surfaces. In that case, here are some of the factors you need to consider when you are browsing online listings and art supply stores:
The first thing that you need to take into consideration when shopping for markers is the actual quality of the ink/s. It is important for them to be brightly colored. They should also be able to withstand extreme heat.
Keep in mind that you will be putting the plastic cutouts into the oven for around half an hour. The ink should not be waxy, or else it would just melt off. Moreover, the color of the ink should remain the same even after being exposed to high heat.
If you are making Shrinky dinks, then it means you will be writing on a clear plastic sheet. You will need a marker that can write well on smooth and non-porous surfaces. The ink should stick well on a glossy surface, not like other markers that crack and chip once dried.
Permanent markers, like the ones you use to label jars and plastic bags, are suitable for making Shrinky dinks as their inks adhere to plastic surfaces quite well. If you have a certain brand of marker that you like, check if they also supply markers in different colors.
You will be coloring small bits of plastic when making Shrinky dinks, so your markers need to have a somewhat fine point. This will prevent you from getting ink in places you do not want to. Most of the time, a fine point nib is okay for this purpose. However, if you want to go into more details, you can use an ultra-fine nib.
Now, if you will be doing more than just Shrinky dinks, which I am sure you are, you should get markers that have dual tips. These kinds of markers are quite versatile. This means you can jump into other projects while you are waiting for your Shrinky dinks to finish cooking in the oven.
This will be subjective, I am sure. However, you need to buy markers that are within your spending budget. If you are just a beginner at using color markers, then you should not spend hundreds of bucks on a professional-grade set. However, that does not mean you should get the cheapest markers you can find either.
Get the most decent markers that you can afford. This way, you can get some practice without spending too much money. Who knows? You may even discover affordable markers that work just as well as expensive brands.
Ease of Use
If you will be making detailed pieces then you will need markers that are easy to hold and comfortable to use. If you will be coloring several small pieces of plastic for making Shrinky Dinks, then you will need a pen that you can easily manipulate so you can get the colors in just the right spots. It should not be something that requires you to adjust your grip constantly because it always slips out of place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You use Copic Markers on Shrinky Dinks?
Yes, Copic markers would make great-looking Shrinky dinks. However, it would be overkill to buy a set of them just for this kind of project. If it were me, I would look for a cheaper alternative that works almost as well as Copic markers and save the actual Copics for other art projects that require more color control.
What Types of Markers for Shrinky Dinks?
You can use a variety of different markers for making Shrinky dinks. However, they need to pass certain criteria. Aside from having the ability to write on glossy surfaces, it is important for them to have bright colors, and if possible, opaque.
I discovered that markers that dispense acrylic paints work well for making Shrinky dinks as they will permanently bond onto the surface after baking in the oven.
It might seem difficult, but shopping for the best markers for Shrinky dinks is just the same as when you are looking for markers for general art projects. You just need to make sure that they can write well on polystyrene plastics. They should also be able to withstand heat.
Remember that you do not need to spend a lot of money to get quality markers. You just need to be smart about where you spend your money.