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Melting plastics

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From: Alix Peshette (apeshette_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 09:41:17 PST


Hi,
This thread of melting plastics reminds me of college days. I was in an
industrial technology program where we were instructed to melt the
various plastics and then sniff the fumes to identify the kind of
plastic!! This was back in the naive 70's before anyone worried about
toxic fumes. Maybe this is why I'm crazy enough to like teaching junior
high school!

You can also melt plastic easter eggs in a toaster oven to get really
cool exotic flower shapes. Again, as noted in the response below, have
ventilation and kiss using that toaster oven for bagels goodbye! I have
a toaster oven dedicated to 'art' these days.

-Alix Peshette
Emerson Junior High School
Davis, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: Foell, Marlyn@RHS [mailto:FoellM@brevard.k12.fl.us]
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 9:36 AM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: clarification of bakery plastic

        Where I live, most of the groceries have bakeries and they put a
lot
of their goodies in plastic boxes and containers or cover pie pans with
plastic lids. These are like the original shrinky "liver lids" (which
were
the lids on chicken and beef liver containers). The ones I have in
front of
me right now have a recycle triangle with a 6 PS on them. Even the ones
with patterns in them can be used by first shrinking them and then while
they are hot, you can impress things into them--ie, rubber stamps,
leather
tools, found objects, etcccccc.\
        There are many forms of this plastic. Some of it works, some of
it
doesn't.
        However!!!!-----------some other info

        1. Always experiment before spending time on something good.
If
you're not sure it will shrink, cut a strip and try it. VENTILATION
VENTILATION VENTILATION. I put a fan either right by where I'm
working,
even outside, or right by the toaster oven to blow the fumes away. The
right plastics don't put off much noticable odor, but I still think
there
are fumes. Some plastics are not to be breathed!!

        2. I have found that this free plastic generally shrinks a
little
more than the commercial stuff and that sometimes it distorts.
Distortion
can be a good thing.

        3. You can use an old toaster oven at around 250degrees OR you
can
use a heat gun (not a hair dryer). I have a thrift store toaster oven
and I
also use my shrink wrap heat gun, altho it has a powerful blower and
tends
to blow the plastics around. The small embossing guns you can get at
wal-mart or craft stores take a little longer but work well and are good
for
student use. Make sure you emphasize that altho some of them look like
a
hair dryer, they are most definitely HEAT GUNS. Did I mention
VENTILATION?

        4. If shrinking is a new game to you, it is covered in a lot of
stampers books and stamp stores generally can advise you on it. I also
highly recommend a visit to the Luckysquirrel.com website as they have
an
incredible array of artist done items. This is a craft that has leaped
into
fine art circles all over.

        5. I really like Berol Prismacolor pencils for this. Very rich
color. Crayola ones work pretty good, too, esp. the metallics. Even
cheap-o's work pretty well, as the color intensifies when shrunk.

        6. Did I mention VENTILATION?????

        Happy shrinking!
        Marlyn in Florda

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