Creating Custom Geocoins

Nick, Katie and I have been doing some geocaching. The more we’ve done the more we’ve thought it would be fun to put our own geocoins in the cache. I started looking for geocoins to buy online and found that they cost about $8.00 each. That could get pricey if we were to find, say, five geocaches in a month and put one in each geocache. I started to think of how I could maybe make my own without spending much money.

Then it occurred to me that one of the things we my mom did with us as kids was to create “shrink art”. When she bought liver for dinner it came in a plastic tub. She would cut the tub into shapes, we would draw on them with markers and she would bake them in the oven. We would watch them curl up, shrink and thicken.
I started looking into the possibility of getting this type of plastic at a crafts store. Sure enough, Joanne’s in Olympia had “Shrink Film” from Grafix for about $5.00 for six sheets. Ideally I would want something I could run through my inkjet printer but I thought this would work ok if I took some art from the computer, printed it then traced it onto the film.
The next trick was to figure out how big to make the original so it would shrink to about the size of a quarter. Today we experimented with a variety of sized and settled on 2.5″ in diameter. Jeanette has a 2.5″ circle cutter she used for paper scrapbooking. it was the perfect size. We used it to cut the shapes out of the film. I then drew some sketches on paper, and traced them onto the film with a Sharpie and some other color permanent markers.
I simply followed the instructions on the shrink film: preheated the oven to 350 degrees, put the film with the design on it on a cookie sheet with parchment and put it in the oven for about three minutes. The film curled, shrank, thickened and flattened out again. When it was done I had a hard plastic coin about the size of a quarter with my custom design.
I could get about eight coins from each sheet. That works out to forty-eight for $5.00…or about $0.10 each…not counting the energy for the stove. The certainly won’t be as durable as the brass coins but I think they will work just fine for putting some interesting item into a cache.
The next fun thing to do is see if I can make it a trackable coin so I can see where it travels and ends up.
Here’s a couple of pictures of our work.

This is a complete one

This one show an unbaked one, a finished one and a quarter.