Google+ The Art of Friendly Plastic: How to work with Friendly Plastic: What heating methods work best?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How to work with Friendly Plastic: What heating methods work best?

Since we are getting so many "newbies" interested in Friendly Plastic, I thought I'd cover one of the main questions - and something you really need to know when working with Friendly Plastic.

What heating method is best? Actually, I say they are all great - but all have different uses for different effects. With just a little bit of practice you'll be a pro in no time! Let's talk about them:

Heat Gun: These get very hot and heat from the top down. They will give a crackle effect to the metallic foil. Be very careful when using this method as it is easy to over heat and wind up with goo. A heat gun is also handy for touch ups. I have a "milwalkee" which I love and gets very hot. The disadvantage is that it puts out a lot of air and sometimes you don't want pieces to move around. I also have a "heat tool". It's perfect for little touch ups and for heating the pellets since it doesn't put out as much air - mostly heat so you have more control over the plastic.

Griddle Method: Jana Ewy is the superartist that discovered this method. It's the most popular method used when using a marbeling comb to get various effects. This method is also great for heating strips together or melting pellets. Place your plastic onto a non-stick cookie sheet or a silpat and heat just under 200 degrees. Note: Each griddle will vary a little bit on the temperature. It's too hot if the plastic bubbles. Anywhere between 150 degrees F and 200 degrees F is recommended. This method is the method of choice if you want flat pieces that stay dry. Most department stores carry griddles in the home appliance section. You should be able to pick one up for under $30.00 US. (Or...try thrift stores!) Since this method heats from the bottom upwards, there will be little to no cracking in your metallic foil - that is unless you want. If you find that your plastic bubbles, turn down the heat.

Hot Water Method: I use an electric fry pan filled with water and heated to the same temperature as my griddle. My water has a gentle - very gentle simmer. I find this method great when working with more dimensional pieces or heating pellets and colorizing them. Liz Welch in the UK uses this method alot to soften her strips of plastic to create a variety of textures and surface effects. Simply place a drop of oil onto a piece of foil, lay friendly plastic strip onto foil (metallic side up) and float until softened. (Check out Liz's site for more helpful tips too!) For the type of work that I do and using pellets, I use this method the majority of the time. (You can also use a crock pot too)

Oven Method: Arrange strips on a non-stick sheet in the desired pattern. Heat oven to temperature (about 160 to 200). Place in oven until strips fuse together. Remove from oven and use marbeling comb to apply design if desired.

Those are the basics...and Im sure that I haven't touched them all - your comments and findings are welcome.

For more tips on using the griddle method - Check out Jana's Book.....

For more information on ordering a "Signed" copy of Jana's Book - Click here to email her!

You can also order Liz Welch's Books along with her DVD's by clicking here .
Liz's site is especially great if you live in the UK and is a wonderful source of Friendly Plastic supplies and tools!


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