A Friendly Plastic Challenge
We welcome guest blogger Helen Bradley who has news about a Friendly Plastic challenge and helpful information for working with Friendly Plastic.
I’m pleased to announce that AMACO is celebrating its 90th birthday in 2009 and it is having a Friendly Plastic Challenge to coincide with this.
All crafters are invited to join in the challenge and to make projects using the very wonderful Friendly Plastic Design Sticks. Friendly Plastic is an inexpensive, colorful and easy-to-use plastic material which can be molded into shapes and it softens in hot water so it’s a great crafting medium for kids.
The project categories for the challenge include a Best Focal Bead which must be made using one of the AMACO bead rollers, Best Valentine’s Jewelry Ensemble, Best Butterfly – the butterflies will be donated to the Holocaust Museum Houston and Best Bottle of Hope. There are specific requirements for each of these categories and the pieces will need to be submitted by the December 1 to AMACO. You can find more information about the Challenge by clicking on this link: Friendly Plastic Challenge. There is also an entry form that needs to be filled in and submitted with your challenge entry.
If you’ve never played with Friend Plastic before you are in for a treat. Here is a step by step for making a butterfly for the challenge and some quick tips for working with it:
To get started with the Friendly Plastic, cut it into pieces or punch it with a robust hole punch. We find that the Tim Holtz micro serrated scissors made by Tonic work particularly well with Friendly Plastic. To create a marbleized effect for your butterfly, cut a series of long strips of Friendly Plastic.
While you can soften the Friendly Plastic in hot water, an embossing Heat Gun works particularly well. Using the heat gun heat one of the cut strips of Friendly Plastic until you can see it starting to melt. Push the edge of the second strip into the softened edge of the melted strip and continue softening the plastic and pressing strips together. If you melt and press the pieces together you ensure you do not have spaces between the strips.
To create the marbleized effect, take a marbling comb or something similar and starting beyond the edge of the molten plastic drag through the plastic across the stripes, all the from one side to the other.
Ensuring that the plastic is still warm and very soft, start at the opposite side and place the marbling comb in between the drag lines you just made and this time drag back the other way. Make sure to start the movement with the comb well before you touch the Friendly Plastic and drag through the entire plastic layer, not just its surface.
When the marbling is complete, allow the plastic to cool and then use the marbled pieces for your project.
To make our butterfly we punched out some small circles of Friendly Plastic and placed them on the marbled piece and heated it to melt the pieces together. To make the butterfly, take a butterfly shape cookie cutter and dip it into a bowl of warm water that has some cooking oil in it. Press it into the soft Friendly Plastic to cut out a butterfly shape – the oil will prevent the plastic from sticking to the cutter.
Tips for using rubber stamps
Friendly Plastic can be stamped using a rubber stamp. Take care to press the rubber stamp into the Friendly Plastic and leave it until the plastic cools and sets. If you remove the rubberstamp from the Friendly Plastic too quickly it will stick to the rubber stamp. Don’t use acrylic stamps with the Friendly Plastic.
Tips for working with art molds
Heat resistant art molds that have a built in release mechanism such as those from Krafty Lady Art Molds (www.kraftylady.com) work will with Friendly Plastic. Push pieces of the Friendly Plastic into the art mold and heat them to soften them. Continue to press Friendly Plastic into the mold taking care to heat the plastic enough that it softens and you can press it into the mold but not so much you burn yourself.
Tips for working with Bead Rollers
Coat the channel of the bead roller with some cooling oil (we use olive oil) so the Friendly plastic won’t stick. Soften the amount of Friendly Plastic required to fill the channel and roll the bead. To make a hole in the bead, heat a metal pin, coat it in olive oil and poke it through the bead. Leave it in place until the Friendly Plastic cools and then twist it and remove it.