Monday, 17 May 2010

52 Weeks: Week 2 - Friendly Plastic

So... what is friendly plastic?

It's a craft-specific material that comes in plastic strips (and pellets but I'm not using them at the minute) which is malleable when heated. It comes in a wide range of metallic and foiled finishes. See the picture below.

Friendly Plastic & tools.

Having spent a couple of hours getting a feel for the material and heat required I needed more. Specifically, its a product I don't have any literature on, anywhere. After a couple of hours I also came to the conclusion that this particular material would benefit greatly from the use of some bezel settings although sadly I don't have any.

Early Efforts

Early efforts kinda look like a 5 year old has went mental with modelling clay and metallic paint. So some refining neccessary...

Completed componants

I did a fair amount more. It's not growing on me particularly. It's kinda like a very limited version of polymer clay (which is all kinds of awesome). Sure it has a speed advantage - poly clay needs to be over baked - but while polymer clay is incredibly versatile, friendly plastic just isn't. You're stuck with the colours it comes in, EVERYTHING sticks to it when it's hot and needs coating in oil to prevent this - which also means after it needs washing in soapy water, it's thinness means making items with embedded components (like loops to form drops or pendants) isn't terribly practical - you'd need to double up sticks and relatively speaking that works out rather costly.

Textured and made into a brooch

Also you can texture it - it does take textures nicely, subject to coating everything with oil - but the minute you need to heat it up again (I've found that late heating for re-cutting and for adding a backpiece are both frequently neccessary) you lose the bloody texture. Silicone stamps / texture plates work well, plastic ones do not - even with the oil as a release agent they stick.

What can I say about it that's nice...? The colours are cool and it makes nice brooches and it IS pretty fast to work with. I might have found it more palatable if I had some bezel settings which I suspect would work very well with it.

Finished Jewellery - Other Brooches


Pendants & Necklace

Either way, it's reasonably well suited to jewellery and so jewellery is what I turned the shiny bits into and I think my main problem is that Friendly Plastic is, well, plastic. It feels cheap and from the back, at least, looks cheap. Polymer clay is plastic as well but doesn't have that cheap & nasty feel to it (and poly clay can imitate just about any material that isn't transparent).

Cheap-looking back

While I've made these bits into jewellery, I actually see me having more use for it incorporating bits into mixed media artwork which among other things, firmly hides the back (as would the bezel settings I wished for earlier).

So all in all this week was disappointing. Next week... fabric fusing. Largely a mixed media art experiment although I'm curious about the necklace / bracelet making potential as well.

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