One of the programs we love at the American Visionary Art Museum is their Weekend Walk-In Workshops. Their creative education team comes up with projects inspired by their exhibits and encourages to the public to ‘get their hands messy.’ 

A recent project? Planetary Shrinky Dinks. The project was inspired by their current “The Great Mystery Show” exhibit. From psychics to physicists, the exhibit “artfully peels away the veil of the unknown, playfully exploring mystery as that one secret power behind great art, science, and pursuit of the sacred.” Nothing is quite so mysterious as the universe, right?

(Or shrinky dinks, if we’re honest. They’re pretty mysterious, too).

The great thing about this project is you can make a replica of our solar system or use space as an inspiration point to create your own universe. 

Planetary Shrinky Dink Necklace - (cool) progeny

Make a Planetary Shrinky Dinks Necklace


Cardboard Circles (to trace)
Colored Pencils
Shrinky Dink Paper
Decorative Mesh Tubing
Hole Punch
Oven (AVAM uses a Toaster Oven)


Preheat oven to 325 F.

Trace cardboard circles onto shrinky dink paper. Cut them out.

Planetary Shrinky Dink Necklace - (cool) progeny

Decorate each circle with colored pencils and markers.

Use a hole punch to punch a hole in each circle.

Place all of your colored planets on a baking sheet. Bake for 1-3 minutes. At first the Shrinky Dinks will curl up, but they will flatten back out. Once they flatten back out, bake for 30 more seconds. Allow to cool.

Thread yard or wire through mesh tubing. Cut to fit the necklace length you would like.

Tie each planet to the mesh tubing.

Wear — or make into a chime!