Friday, August 21, 2009

Adventures in 'Friendly Plastic' World

Soooo I went to the Lobby of Hobbies this past week and bought this WONDERFUL stuff called 'Friendly Plastic' (you can read more about it HERE ) And I thought I would try it out for myself. I bought several different 7" sticks and a book and brought it all home fully prepared to melt stuff. (Yes, I do know that I have yet to post the long awaited and previously promised photos of my oldest daughter's jewelry. Boo, I suck.)

I did a little (okay, quite a bit) of research before I set out on my plastic melting journey. I spent most of my time reading through blog entries at The Art of Friendly Plastic. Very interesting. Very informative. And I felt brave enough to start something out myself. Just something simple that I would use in a crafty project later on.
I decided that I would make little squares with some crystals added for a little bit of bling. Then I am going to attach them to these tiny little glass bottles and make 'Fairy Bottle' charms for a swap on Easy peasy enough, right? LOL

The first thing that I did was figure out how I needed to cut out the pieces for my little 'experiment'. I decided that I would use strips of the different colors of plastic and line them up.

I stacked the cut stripes of plastic on an old Sil-Pat that I cut in half and laid on top of an old cookie sheet.

I got out my griddle, and set the temp according to the book (a toasty 300 degrees F). I just have a cheap-o griddle that I bought at WalMart a couple of years ago, and it worked just fine. However, I am thinking that if someone had intended to work for a LONG time they might want to have a more expensive griddle 'cuz mine got pretty freakin' hot after a while.

I stuck the whole plastic/silicone/cookie sheet contraption on top of the griddle to heat. In retrospect, I would probably have arranged the plastic stripes on top of the silicone mat/cookie sheet while it was sitting on the griddle BEFORE turning the griddle on. The pieces kinda shuffled around a bit when I moved it from one counter to the other. Easy enough to fix, but could have been avoided entirely.

Then, while I waited for the plastic to melt, I decided to have a little snack. YUM! Strawberries :D

I *thought* that I might use some toothpicks to set some crystals down into the hot/melted plastic. But then thought that the toothpicks might stick and make a mess. (Why I didn't think about how I would do this before I started, I have no clue. But I didn't.)

Eventually, I remembered that I had a dissection kit left over from my days in Anatomy class that still had the probes in it (TeeHeeHee, I said 'probes' LOL) So I decided to use those pointy suckers 'cuz they are metal and I can stick them in water and oil and the freezer to keep the plastic from sticking.

Once I got the little gems stuck into the plastic, I stuck a tiny little square shaped cutter that I had bought from the clay section of Hobby Lobby into the melted plastic while it was still on the griddle. Once again, this is something that I did differently later on 'cuz it got REALLY HOT and I burned my finger when I fiddled with it. (Yes, I fiddle with things. It's what I do.)

The plastic wasn't cooling fast enough (In addition to fiddling with things, I also stick my fingers into things before they are dry. It's a curse. LOL) So I put the whole silicone mat on top of my lovely bakery cooling rack for a few minutes in hopes that it would hurry up. (I ended up putting it into the freezer 'cuz it just wasn't going quick enough for me. LOL)

When it came out of the freezer, I popped it out of the square cutter. (It literally popped right out. It was great.) Then I decided to hit it with a blast from the Ol' Embossing Tool. This rounded off the edges nicely and smoothed out the surface a bit. But I decided that I didn't like it so much with the gem already embedded into the plastic.

So I made a few more that didn't have the gems in them and then cut them into quarters (The original squares measured out at appoximately 1"X1". So, when quartered, they were tiny.)

I laid all the tiny quarters out on top of the silicone mat and heated each one. Then I used the Dissection tools to stick the crystals into each individual square before they cooled.

They needed a hole at the top so that I could feed wire through them, so I decided to use the probe again. The first time I tried this, I heated the plastic and then tried to stick the metal through it. BIG mistake. The plastic just kind of stretched and ended up all out of shape and 'blobby' looking. (Blobby? Is that even a word? I am guessing that it is now.) After that, I just heated the metal part of the probe with my Embossing tool and stuck it through the little plastic square. It worked well. :D

Now I have a pile of these tiny little 'charms' just waiting for jump rings or wire or whatever, so that they can be added to something creative.

All in all, it was an interesting adventure into the World of Friendly Plastic. It took a bit of figuring out, and some 'I have to do it my way' ingenuity, but it was fun. (I should probably also add that this tiny pile of squares took me about 5 hours to make. I would assume that this crap goes faster the longer you do it. 'Cuz I just can't imagine anyone taking 5 hours on a regular basis just to make a few little bits. Even if they are FABULOUS!)

Thanks for joining me ;)
See ya on the flip side!

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