Google+ The Art of Friendly Plastic: Meet Friendly Plastic Artist Michelle Mach

Monday, October 12, 2009

Meet Friendly Plastic Artist Michelle Mach

We have a new Friendly Plastic Artist today. Meet Michelle Mach. She's a creative writer who began her career at age 13 when she wrote about her brother's newspaper route for a local newspaper. Since then her career has evolved and currently she writes for BEADING DAILY on the web.

Enjoy her story:
When I was asked to review the new Friendly Plastic materials, of course I said yes. I love trying new things and telling people about them! I thought I'd spend an afternoon or two experimenting, but I ended up sneaking down to my studio all week whenever I had a free moment. It's seriously addictive!

There are a few different ways to melt Friendly Plastic—hot water, heat gun, griddle, and oven. I used the toaster oven that I use for polymer clay. Here are a few of my projects: I wanted to share this so you could see it's possible to create a cute project right away. I rounded the corners of a small piece of Friendly Plastic before I melted it. Then I cut off the ends of a heart-shaped brad found in the scrapbooking section of the craft store and pressed that into a square of hot plastic. I did not use any glue, but you could use some for extra security. I added a tiny hole with a needle tool while the plastic was still hot and placed a jump ring through the hole once it cooled. Super easy and great for quick gifts like wine charms, earrings, and key chains. Hooray, immediate gratification!
A Mixed Media Pendant To make this pendant, I pressed brass WireForm WireMesh into the hot plastic. Then I made the two layered pieces separately by pressing a rubber stamp into the hot plastic, cutting out the shapes when cool, and gluing them on the pendant. I didn't realize that my stamps still had old black ink on them, but I decided that it gave the pieces an antiqued look. Sometimes mistakes make the best creative discoveries!


Save your scraps and mistakes! You can always reheat the piece and start over. This is the ultimate "do over" material.

It's easy to cut Friendly Plastic with regular scissors. Fancy scissors (the kind with curvy lines) don't work well. I assume it's because they're not sharp enough to cut through thick plastic. My attempt at using those scissors made the plastic look like it'd been gnawed by a cat. But given that you can "erase" rough edges by heating the plastic, this was not a major problem.

Leave the stamp in until the plastic cools, then it will be easily
removed. If you have any remaining ink on the stamps from a previous
project, it might come off on the plastic. I did find it useful to oil my stamps before using them.

Plan ahead, but be flexible. You do need to work quickly with the oven method of heating, so you have your materials—stamps, wire comb, wire mesh—ready
to go. At the same time, just as with any other type of craft, be
ready to let go of your original plan and experiment. Sometimes the
best ideas come when your original idea doesn't work!

As tempting as it is, do not touch the plastic while it is soft. I've heard that it can be extremely sticky. (Who am I kidding? I know this from first-hand experience!)

Your Turn: Take the Design Challenge and Win $100

To see the FULL story and more pictures of her Friendly Plastic jewelry click here to visit Michelles blog!

For more design ideas, check out the Friendly Plastic blog.

Also, be sure to check out this year's design challenge. There are four categories to win, including one for artists under the age of 15. You can win $100 for yourself, plus $100 for your favorite charity. Entries are due November 6, 2009. Good luck!

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