Which is Better: Shrinky Dink Paper or Grafix Shrink Film?

Shrinky Dink Paper or Grafix Shrink Film

Shrinky Dink Paper has been receiving a lot of criticism lately. In 2014, the company was bought by Alex Brands, the toy company behind Backyard Safari, Slinky, and Scientific Explorer. With that came a bad batch of printable shrinky dink paper. Perhaps it was a batch or perhaps the new production of printable shrinky dink paper just isn’t what it used to be.

Just look at their Amazon reviews! Pretty brutal, right?

printable shrinky dink paper reviews

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I’m totally sympathetic to this Etsy Seller that couldn’t find a suitable alternative. And it’s true for the printable version, the shrinky dink version is absolutely unacceptable.

The images look stretched – they looks long and tall. The shrinky dink paper is thin and the color looks bad too.

different ideas with shrinky dinks from the pop shop america craft class

Shrinky Dinks before the Brand Change

Here are several examples of shrinky dinks used to make professional products on Etsy and I’m sure it’s been difficult for a lot of these makers to find new ways to create their items.

There’s no question that you should switch to Grafix brand Printable Shrink Film. But I wanted to test the other Shrinky Dink papers to the Grafix Shrink Film.  Here are the similarities, differences, and which one is best.

shrinky dink kids finished items Here are the finished products of a Houston Public Library Kids Workshop. This was in conjunction with the Summer Reading Series.

Assorted Shrinky Dink Paper

What Pens & Pencils Work Best?

Here is the great advantage of Shrinky Dink, and to give away my conclusion, the only thing that makes it better. Prismacolors, microns and sharpies are always the best pens and pencils to use. Shrinky Dink Paper has a rough quality. The ink dries faster and smears less. Grafix paper has a smoother finish. The prismacolors are more muted (but still pretty) and the pens can sometimes smear. Be careful to test any pens with Grafix Shrink Film because most pens are just fine – but some do smear.

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Frosted Shrinky Dink Paper


Shrinky Dinks come in white, clear, cream and frosted. My personal favorite is the frosted. The white, cream, and clear are only suitable for markers and don’t take pencil at all. The white is also great for shapes without drawings. Grafix Shrink Film comes in clear, matte, white, black, and 6 bright colors. They just introduced a new rough version that’s very similar to the Shrinky Dink Frosted. The new Grafix rough is intended to take colored pencils even better.

So as far as colors, Grafix wins. There are so many color options! The black has it’s own fan base and I can’t wait to try it.

My favorite Grafix color is the matte. Although it doesn’t take pencil as well as the rough it’s got an absolutely gorgeous color quality and the finished shrinkies are perfect and translucent.


Grafix Matte Paper


Be careful when you are cutting Shrinky Dink Paper. It cracks easily. The Grafix Paper feels like more of a professional quality and there is a touch of a difference after shrinking. The Grafix Shrink Film is a little more durable than shrinky dink. You can also overcook Shrinky Dink Paper causing it to brown. Grafix Paper is more durable during the heat and shrinking process.


Grafix Shrink Film in Matte


I’ve seen Shrinky Dink Paper listed on Amazon and half of what it used to cost. Perhaps this is to offset the quality decline? Because there price was steady at $10 to $12 for printable and $6 – $7 for clear, frosted, and white. Now the Printable Paper is listed at around $6 per pack. Grafix Printable Shrink Film is the same price for non printable and it’s the original $10 – $12 for printable. Even though Grafix is more expensive for printable, the Shrinky Dink Brand is just not a suitable product so I think the choice is clear across the board.

We’ll be using Grafix Brand at our future workshops and DIY’s!

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2 thoughts on “Which is Better: Shrinky Dink Paper or Grafix Shrink Film?

  1. Jen says:

    Hello. I use shrink plastic as a hobby. I take sanding needles, which are little sticks that have a fine point,they come in 3 different grits. And I sand the grafix or any smooth shrink plastic where I want to put color pencil & if I want to utilize the plastics smooth shiny colors I don’t sand those areas. I guess it can add more work tho. I also sand the presanded plastic with a fine grit bcuz they don’t come even enough & I find spots that pencil won’t stick to if I don’t sand it. There is a brand of “artist grade” plastic called Polyshrink. Don’t know if it’s too pricey tho.

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