I’m a sucker for toys from my childhood. Light Bright, Etch-A-Sketch, Snoopy snow cone makers, She-Ra figurines, Pound Puppies…I love them all. So you can imagine my excitement when I found Shrinky Dinks from Alex Toys.
It took me right back to 1985. I remember the fun commercial. The looks of absolute amazement from the child-actors. I remember how giddy I felt when I finally got the chance to make them, anxiously watching and waiting for my little colored pictures to shrink in the oven. And then being in utter disbelief at how small they had become. They were seriously the coolest thing ever. I mean, I know it was the 80s (the era of all things cool) but there was something extra rad (remember, we’re talking 80s) about shrinking your own plastic pictures.
I have no idea what happened to Shrinky Dinks from then until now but I do not remember the whole house smelling like toxic plastic funk when I made them as a kid. And I sure as heck don’t remember getting a massive headache after they baked in the oven for only 3 minutes. Do you?
Because that's what happened when we made them today.
It started out good. I was excited. The kids were excited.
We colored. We baked...
And then we nearly keeled over, had to open every window, and run to put the Shrinky Dinks outside because they smelled so unbelievably awful.
I don’t know why I didn’t consider that we were actually melting plastic, which is known to be bad for you. And not like, “oh just a little” bad for you but like, “damage your immune system, wreck your hormones, cause cancer & kill you” bad for you. In fact, the toxic compounds released from certain plastics in house fires are a major cause of death.
There are different types of plastics that contain different things, obviously. And I’m sure if I contacted Alex Toys they would tell me how safe their new & improved Shrinky Dinks are. But I’m telling you friends, these things were naaasty. So, save your money (and your health) and buy something wooden instead.