Google+ The Art of Friendly Plastic: Using Molds in Friendly Plastic by Michelle Zimmerman

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Using Molds in Friendly Plastic by Michelle Zimmerman

By Michelle Zimmerman

Tools and Materials

Friendly Plastic® 7″ Designer Sticks–4-8 Colors of your choice

AMACO® Work Mat

Mold of your choice–AMACO® Designer Push Molds work well

Necklace or other jewelry findings to finish

Pearl Ex Sparkle Copper

Envirotex Lite and mixing supplies described on the label

Oil Paint–Burnt Umber–Windsor & Newton

Heat gun or oven

Ranger Craft Sheet

Small bowl of water with a few drops of olive oil

Toothbrush or stiff brush

Rag or paper towel

Step 1

If you are using a heat gun, place the work mat on your work surface and the Ranger Craft Sheet on top. Join the strips of Friendly Plastic® for the front of the molded piece by heating one until it is soft and gently push the second stick into the first so that the two sides join and meld. Continue until you have a sheet of plastic larger than the mold (so there will be plenty of plastic to push into it). Set aside the same number of sticks to use for the back.

Step 2

Choose a mold to use. It should be made from flexible materials so you can pop the plastic out of it easily when it is set. The mold should be able to take the heat of the heat gun or oven you’ll use to melt the Friendly Plastic®. Prepare the mold for use and place it on the work mat or in the oven. Lay the Friendly Plastic® sheet you have prepared over the mold with the decorative side facing into the mold. Heat the sheet to soften it and, as it softens, gently guide the sheet into the mold. Dip your fingers into the bowl of water and gently push the Friendly Plastic® into the mold to ensure it picks up all the small details from the mold. When the piece is cool, check it by popping it out of the mold. If there are details missing you can replace the shape in the mold, reheat it and rework the plastic to capture the detail.

Step 3

To finish the back of the piece, replace the shape in the mold as this will give it stability as you work with it. Repeat Step 1, this time creating a sheet to use for the back of the molded shape. Place this sheet over the unfinished back of the molded shape, this time ensuring that the decorative side is face up. Heat the Friendly Plastic® allowing it to slump into the back of the molded piece–do not help it–it will do this by itself. When it is slumped and cool, trim the excess Friendly Plastic® from around the edges of the shape. Heat again gently to smooth the cut edges. Allow the shape to cool thoroughly and pop it out of the mold.

Step 4

Use a toothbrush or other stiff brush to coat the front of the molded piece with a little oil paint. Make sure you get the paint into the crevices in the molded piece. Wipe the excess piece from the raised areas with a soft cloth or paper towel. The paint will remain in the deeper areas only, giving the piece added dimension. Don’t be concerned that the piece will look a little dull at this point. Give the paint time to begin drying. It doesn’t have to be totally dry but the dryer it is the more it will stay in the crevices when you cover it in the next step.

Step 5

Following the manufacturer’s directions, mix sufficient Envirotex Lite to cover the piece. I recommend using the two cup mixing method described on the container. Add a pinch of Pearl Ex Sparkling Copper to the second cup, mix these in and pour the mixed solution over the front of your molded piece. Wipe away any excess and set aside until completely set. The Envirotex Lite will give the piece stability, shine, and seals the oil painted surface.

Step 6

Finish the piece by drilling holes and adding earring findings or make it into a necklace or pin as desired.

Remember you can get more project ideas on these and other Amaco products on the website at

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