Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Midweek DIY: Recycle Plastic Packaging Into Jewellery!


For the last in my Summer series of regular Midweek DIYs I have a little recycling project to share with you. I'm sure lots of you will have used shrink plastic before but did you know that #6 plastic, often used for packaging foods, is the same thing? I certainly had no idea until I saw various posts on Pinterest showcasing projects created with basic #6 plastic. Of course after seeing this I had to try out the idea for myself to see if it really worked and I'm happy to report back that it does!

Although I haven't tested it out I believe that this craft will only work with #6 plastic so make sure to check you have the right type before you begin. To find out the type of plastic look on the surface for a little triangle symbol which will have a number inside.
My favourite place to get take away gluten free cakes happens to package the slices in boxes made of #6 so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test out the idea (and eat some delicious cake!)

The plastic is easy to cut using scissors or a craft knife and you can create any shapes you like. I went for a basic geometric design to keep things simple for this tutorial but you can be as creative as you'd like. To colour my plastic I used Sharpies but any permanent pens should do just fine. One important thing to remember when adding colour to shrink plastic is that it will appear darker after heating. Alternatively leave your plastic clear and paint with nail polish after shrinking, once it has cooled.
I also turned this project into an excuse to use my new bunny single hole punch (adorable, no?) - don't forget to punch the holes before you shrink the plastic, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble that way!

diy shrink plastic from packagaing 3

There are a couple of options for heating and shrinking the plastic. The first, and most universal, is to pop the plastic in a hot oven on top of a baking tray lined with some greaseproof paper or foil. The alternative option, one for those who craft regularly, is to use a heat tool which can be more convenient as you don't have to wait for the oven to pre-heat!

The key with shrink plastic is to keep an eye on it and not be alarmed when it curls up! When you pop the pieces of plastic into the oven (or begin hovering your heat tool over them) they will start to shrink and curl up at the same time but don't worry, this is whats supposed to happen. Once they have fully curled up the will flatten themselves out again where they should be smaller and thicker. When you remove them from the heat they may not be completely flat but whilst they are still warm you can easily reshape them - try pressing them flat under a heavy book so you don't burn your fingers!

To ensure they don't get damaged its best to add a layer of glaze to your charms before turning them into wearable pieces - I would recommend something like Diamond Glaze or Mod Podge's Dimensional Magic.

To turn your plastic shapes into a necklace just open up a large jump ring, thread on the charms and a chain, then close up the ring. You'll be left with your very own one of a kind jewellery piece made from just some basic supplies and a plastic food container!


So that's how its done... and the best part is you now all have an excuse to go and buy yourself a slice of cake!
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