Google+ The Art of Friendly Plastic: Friendly Plastic Encyclopedia - Heating Methods

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friendly Plastic Encyclopedia - Heating Methods

We've discussed this before on the blog....but for all the new ones and for the sake of adding it to our Friendly Plastic Encyclopedia here is the "official" way to heat Friendly Plastic.

Heating Methods

Each method of heating and softening Friendly Plastic holds its own unique properties and affects the plastic in different ways. It is important to try them all so you have an understanding of these effects and know which method is right for the technique you have chosen.

Griddle– The griddle method of heating and softening friendly plastic is my favorite and is the one that I use the most. This method provides you with an open work time. You can continue working with the softened plastic until your desired design is achieved.

Once your design is complete, simply remove the baking sheet from the griddle and allow the plastic to cool. Another important aspect to this method is that the plastic is being heated from bottom to top, leaving the metallic finish virtually unchanged. With the temperature set at a low 200° to 250°, a non-stick baking sheet is placed onto the griddle and the plastic is then placed onto the baking sheet to soften.

Heat Gun- The heat gun is a great tool to use on small projects and for finishing techniques. As with the griddle method, the plastic needs to be placed on a heat resistant non-stick surface before heating.

It is very important to keep in mind, that the strong concentration of heat and airflow, being applied from above, can cause the plastic to move around, become sticky and may cause the metallic finish to crackle, so take care and caution as you master this heating method.

* There are different heat tools on the market which supply a softer flow of air, which makes them better suited, when working with small pieces.

Hot Water - The method of heating and softening the plastic in hot water was the main stay several years ago. It is one of the primary methods still being used in the UK and Australia. It is quickly becoming popular again here in the US with the re-introduction of the Friendly Plastic pellets.

Linda uses an electric skillet with a temperature control. A crock pot also works well.

The ability to control the temperature of the water to just under a simmer (140°-150°) in an electric skillet or wok, allows you to soften the plastic into a clear malleable state that can then be manipulated by hand into free form designs or passed thru the pasta machine to create flat sheets.

Use caution when working around steam as it could burn your skin.

Oven- The oven method for heating and softening the plastic, like the hot water, has been an option since the introduction of Friendly Plastic. With the oven set at 250 to 300 degrees, the plastic is placed onto a non-stick baking sheet and then placed into the oven to soften.

It was the drawbacks to this method (in and out of the oven, trying to work as quickly as possible) that sparked the pursuit for a better way. From that pursuit came the griddle method. But don’t leave the oven out as one of your heating options. If you don’t have a griddle to use, this is my recommendation to achieve the same type of effects.

* Small toaster ovens are perfect for this method - such as the polymer clay oven by AMACO.

Thanks again to Jana Ewy for compiling this information!

If you have additional techniques, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

1 comment:

Linda Peterson Designs said...

Well....I guess great minds think alike! Jana and I posted nearly the same thing....I'll leave both up as hers has some additional reminders about heating and I've added a bit about the pellets......never too much of a good thing!

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