What you’ll need: one or more of your favorite books, shrinky dink sheets (Available at most craft stores. I always suggest calling ahead if you’re not sure.), coloring materials (I suggest watercolor pencils but I hear sharpies work great, too. Don’t use crayons.), a baking tray, and an oven.
If you don’t already know, shrinky dinks are plastic sheets that shrink when heated in the oven. You can draw designs on a sheet, cut them to whatever shape you want, and get quite creative.
As a bibliophile, it’s no surprise that when a friend first introduced me to shrinky dinks I immediately wondered what I could do with this and books. Since shrinky dink sheets are transparent, they can easily be used like tracing paper, so it wasn’t long before I grabbed one of the many, many, many books off my shelves and traced the cover. A few minutes in the oven and I had a mini replica of the cover of one of my favorite books. As you might already be thinking, the challenge of this task significantly depends on what book cover you choose. I made a Christmas ornament out of Crichton’s Timeline for my boyfriend (easy enough)…but I also traced Gregory Maguire’s Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (to torture myself, I suppose). I definitely suggest starting with a simple cover first, especially if you’ve never used shrinky dinks before. They sometimes curl in the oven and it takes a few tries to figure out exactly what temperature and for how long you’ll want them in your oven specifically. Big tip: curling is part of the process, so don’t pull them out of the oven when they do it. They’ll curl and then flatten out again. You don’t want to take them out until they’ve flattened. (Instructions should come with the sheets, but like anything it often varies for each individual.) So start simple. If you’re going to lose one, better something you spent minutes on rather than hours!
What next? Well, there are lots of things you can do if you don’t want lots of mini plastic book covers lying around being pretty but useless. I’ve made Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and magnets, and I’m sure other people can come up with more ideas. Note that something like magnets doesn’t require anything but tracing the cover pre-baking but for things like ornaments or jewelry you’ll want to remember to punch a hole in the shrinky dink cover before putting it in the oven.
If any of you try this yourself, feel free to post pictures of the finished product!