Upcycled DIY Awesomeness!

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 )

Materials

  1. plastic utensils ( save the plastic from your latest chipotle binge )
  2. Short/small sauce pot ( NOT pan, pot!)
  3. tongs, forceps, long handle tweezers/reverse tweezers
  4. long safety gloves ( I recommend them, but I don’t use them )
  5. bowl of warm water ( never put some thing hot into something cold )
  6. bowl of Ice ( IMPORTANT use if for those “Crap, I burned myself” situations)

Tutorial

  1. boil water in the sauce pot ( I would start with 4/5 full )
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. once the shape starts to form pull it out and cool it in the bowl of warm water.
  5. Repeat as needed until perfect.
  6. once cooled, decorate with paint, glitter, rhinestones or wrap in fabric strips, beading wire or string!

Good luck!

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