January 17, 2011

Friendly Plastic Masterclass ~ Day One

hi gang, today we are going to focus on the basics, for those of you out there who may not have used friendly plastic before...so lets start at the very beginning {hums to self...}

ok, so what is friendly plastic?

Manufactured by Amaco, Friendly Plastic is a fun and easy to use lightweight modelling material that comes in a variety of beautiful coloured sticks {they look and feel a bit like a stiffer version of those shatterproof rulers i had in my school days}, or as a bag full of small white pellets. To begin with we will look at the plastic strips as these are the easiest way to get started...and i am all for easy!

Essentially, the plastic is fashioned into whatever creation you want by heating it, whereby the texture softens so either the surface or the whole piece can be manipulated. When your piece cools down it will harden again, and the shape will remain unless the piece is reheated. A useful property of FP is that when it is warm, it sticks to itself...enabling colours to be mixed and pieces to be layered or welded very easily. FP is also a very lightweight material making it ideal to use for papercrafting embellishments without weighing down your scrapbook or making your cards fall over on their fronts ;0)

You can heat the FP by two methods;
dry heat, using a heat gun or a baking tray in the oven, or wet heat, using hot water in a bowl or a temperature controlled pot {this is a good use of your Melt Pot if you have one, set the temperature to between 60~80}. Today we will use the wet heat method.

what do you need to get started?

For today's simple project you will need:

2 strips of FP in co~ordinating colours {i’ve used one solid colour and one patterned}
a bowl of hot water or a melt pot,
a small piece of non~stick craft sheet/teflon or a piece of sturdy aluminium foil
clean towel
a pair of sturdy scissors
{optional ~ magnetic paper or small magnets, small flower to embellish}

Technique one ~ joining pieces of FP

Using the sturdy scissors, cut 4 roughly equal sized strips of FP, two from each colour. Place one of the strips onto the non~stick sheet or foil and carefully float this on top of the hot water until you see the edges soften as the FP melts.

Carefully, lift the sheet out of the water onto a towel and gently press the next piece of FP into the first as in the picture.

Refloat this and repeat until you have all 4 strips in place, then use a pokey tool or similar to sink the piece and ensure all the joins have bonded together.

Lift the sheet back out onto the towel and gently press a flower or other charm into one corner. Leave for about 5 minutes to cool completely and harden...and voila...you have just created your first FP piece!

I have finished mine by attaching a small photo and a piece of magnetic paper to the back...and stuck it to the fridge :0) i think its quite cute to have a mini~framed portrait of the whole family...sort of like a rogues gallery in the kitchen!

ok, so now i want to have a go...where can i get supplies?

Friendly Plastic is widely available at most general craft shops but online there are good selections at:

Fred Aldous

The Frame Workshop

The Stamp Bug

That's all for today...i hope you liked my simple introduction to this fascinating and versatile medium...if you have any queries or questions...just leave them in the comments section and i'll do my best to answer them for you :0) and don't forget to join me tomorrow for a new project and a new technique!

NB ~ Obviously heating the plastic makes it hot...and hot water is hot...not to mention the bottom of the Melt Pot...so do be a little bit careful not to scald yourselves, ok? ;0)


Scrappy~Sarah said...

ooo nice, might have to keep an eye out for this :) thanks for the tutorial

Sue said...

Thanks darling off to order plastic :)

alexa said...

Hi Alix, not come across Friendly Plastic before. I was wondering:
1) How many times can the same be re-heated/moulded? Is it just once?
2) You pressed a flower into yours to get it to stick. If you press something in and then remove it, will it hold the mark - like a mould?
If there's room in any of your future posts for answers, that'd be great ... many thanks, alexa

Helen said...

Wow thanks for all this hints and tips and ideas, Alix. I really appreciated you posting the link to here on my blog after seeing my friendly plastic scarf ring. So many more ideas to play with now.