Holiday time! It approaches very quickly as soon as my birthday in September rolls about, it seems! Perhaps because stores have Christmas things out during my birth month? (Le sigh). A Hornsby tradition since we got married has been to make our own ornaments for our Christmas tree, specifically, dinosaur Christmas ornaments! It stemmed from a severe lack of ornaments during me and James’s first Christmas as a married couple. Over the last 6(!) years, the number has grown, but the delight of making some home-grown Christmasy-dinosaurs hasn’t evaporated!
But after we draw our dinos, how do they become physical manifestations? Through the Magic of Shrinky Dink paper! Or more specifically, Grafix Inkjet Shrink Paper that I’ve previously bought through Blick art store, but we’re sayin’ Shrinky Dink cuz it’s easier. Since we draw our dinos digitally, this printer-ready Shrinky Dink paper works wonders!
To prep, I set up a Photoshop file with 2 dinos per sheet on it, sized at 8×10. The opacity is lowered because this specific paper will darken after shrinking, so I set the opacity to around 60%. Then after bowing repeatedly to the printer and thanking it for not chewing up the paper, I cut around the individual images, using a single hole-punch to make the ornament ribbon hole. However, I usually punch the hole a few times to make it bigger than the hole-punch default size, since the size of it will shrink considerably in the oven.
When it comes to baking, it is 1,000 times easier to use a toaster oven. A) You can Peek at them easier and 2) the heat can’t be too terribly high on these, so why bother with a large-sized oven? I found over the years putting it between 200 – 250 degrees is best, generally at 225. Also, having the Dinks between 2 pieces of sturdy cardboard that is in the middle (to avoid fires, you know), will help when the Dinks curl during the baking process.
After the baking is done, I’ll use a smidge of sandpaper on the edges of the Dinks in case they’re a bit rough. Generally, they don’t need much sanding. Then it’s time to nab your ribbons and any extras you might use. This year, I still had a pile of jingle bells left from last year to pull from. Hey, wait, did Keyboard cat sneak into this batch of ornaments?
Depending on the ribbon, there is sometimes some re-snips and pencils-as-tools needed to string the ribbons through the ornament hole. Even more so if you’re adding jingle bells. This is why hole-punching a few times is vital.
Once properly ribboned/threaded/shiny-cord-ed, all that’s left is to hang them up on the tree and marvel at the extra Dinosaur-Christmas-ness that’s been added.
Well, and Cat-ness too, this year, I suppose.