The whole situation, was a comedy of errors and weirdness until I realized the potential of my medium – boiling water and plastic utensils. I kid not my friends, a silent hand was guiding me to DIY awesomeness! I’ve got a origin story below ( or you can skip it and jump to the tutorial below! )
Late last night I was boiling some water ( can’t remember why – but probably to make some ramen….which I shouldn’t be eating ) when I accidentally dropped a plastic fork into the pot of boiling water. I quickly made a grab for some kitchen tongs only to find that all of them were crusted with food stuff from dinner. I turned to the sink to wash them but the dish detergent was empty but that wouldn’t stop me for long. I redirected my aim for some hand soap to wash off the tongs. Now, armed with clean ( and rosemary sage scented ) tongs I rescued the poor fork from the pot of boiling water. After fishing it out, I dropped the fork into a cup of water nearby to let it cool; and that when I noticed it. The fork had bent into a U shape in side the cup. Aha!!!! I can make a bracelet ( seriously, that was my first thought…..).
I fiddled with the fork again and found that a combination of tongs and forceps ( yup, still have random med-school supplies lying about) was the most controlled way to bend the fork into whatever shape I wanted. The key is to control the water temperature ( steam is dangerous, it can cause burns….but I find wearing gloves too cumbersome while working. ), water volume ( make sure there’s enough water to prevent the plastic from burning. ) and not over working it ( the longer the plastic utensil stays heated, the more likely it is shrinking – pop it into some cooler water every once and awhile if your working on an intricate or tough bend. )
I also worked with a spoon, but the time and amount sculpting scratch up the spoon face too much. I think I’ll keep trying though because I see calla lily bracelets or hair sticks whenever I look at spoons now! I don’t think knives will have nearly the same impact as the spoon or fork, but once the serrated edge is smoothed out it will make a wonderful cuff.
Okay here’s the tutorial for Immersion plastic sculpting! (ie bending plastic in boiling water )
- plastic utensils ( save the plastic from your latest chipotle binge )
- Short/small sauce pot ( NOT pan, pot!)
- tongs, forceps, long handle tweezers/reverse tweezers
- long safety gloves ( I recommend them, but I don’t use them )
- bowl of warm water ( never put some thing hot into something cold )
- bowl of Ice ( IMPORTANT use if for those “Crap, I burned myself” situations)
- boil water in the sauce pot ( I would start with 4/5 full )
- once water has boiled immerse your plastic utensil in the water. ( you may need to weigh it down or hold it down with your tongs)
- wait 1-2 minutes then gently bend the utensil within the boiling water. use to 2 sets of tongs or press the utensil against the side of the sauce pot.
- once the shape starts to form pull it out and cool it in the bowl of warm water.
- Repeat as needed until perfect.
- once cooled, decorate with paint, glitter, rhinestones or wrap in fabric strips, beading wire or string!