Back in the good old 1980s breakfast cereal manufacturers used to compete with each other to give away the greatest set of freebies they could. This practice seems to be dying out a bit now, with only NestlÃ© appearing to keep the idea alive by giving away children’s books, which I must say is probably better than a piece of useless plastic tat from some movie that you’ll have forgotten about in a years time.
Having ridiculed the plastic tat, there were some freebies which were particularly good, and a good example of these were Shrinkie Dinkies, or Shrinky Dinks as they are sometimes also known, which I believe were given away with Shreddies a number of times.
The Shrinkie Dinkie was a thin piece of plastic film, at least initially anyway, with a black outline picture printed on it. One side was shiny, and the other side had a matt finish, and the idea was to colour in the matt side with some colouring pencils. Once coloured in, you popped the Shrinky Dinkie into the oven (get an adult to help!) and a few minutes later it had miraculously shrunk to around a third of its original size, and got a fair bit thicker in the bargain as well.
The shrinking process made the Shrinkie Dinkie very tough and almost impossible to break, making it perfect for use as a key fob, assuming you had punched a big enough hole in it before baking it of course. The reduction in size also meant that your colouring in went from being a slightly patchy looking mess into a nice block of solid colour.
You could also buy themed packs of Shrinkie Dinkies in toy shops, and the image accompanying this post shows one such set based on the classic cartoon characters The Smurfs. Acknowledgements go to the BlueBuddies Smurf fan site for the image accompanying this post.