3 ways to make plastic

3 ways to make plastic
3 ways to make plastic

Making industrial plastics requires a chemistry degree and access to heavy machinery. There are, however, simple do-it-yourself projects available that allow you to make something very plastic-like out of things you usually already have in your home. You can make cesin from milk, polymer from glue, and even malleable polystyrene!


Method 1 of 3: Make plastic from polystyrene / acetone

Make Plastic Step 1

Step 1. Get the right ingredients

For this method, you basically melt styrofoam in paint thinner, creating a semi-hard plastic-like substance that you can give many shapes and appearances to. To do this you will need:

  • Acetone or paint thinner, usually available at home improvement stores
  • From a mason jar or other glass container
  • Styrofoam cups or other form of expanded polystyrene
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection

Step 2. Pour acetone into a glass jar

To complete the job, you will need 1.5 inches (or at least a few inches) of acetone at the bottom of the jar.

Wear your gloves and goggles at all times when handling acetone, which is very dangerous. Avoid breathing the vapors and be sure to perform the experiment in a well-ventilated area under adult supervision, if you are under 15 years of age

Step 3. Break the polystyrene into small pieces

Whether you have old Styrofoam wrappers or Styrofoam cups on hand, start breaking them into pieces small enough to fit into the jar and pushing them all the way to the bottom.

Step 4. Push the styrofoam to the bottom of the jar

You should start to see the reaction relatively quickly, so it's important to keep your goggles and gloves on when doing this. Put the cap on the jar or cover it with a heavy object like a book and let the jar sit for a few minutes while the acetone breaks down the polystyrene.

The longer you wait, the stronger the molten product will become. In general, the capacity is easily malleable for 3 to 5 minutes

Step 5. Remove the plastic

When you remove the styrofoam from the jar, you'll have an oddly malleable plastic substance that you can shape and mold, much like clay. Keep your gloves on and shape it into whatever shape you like, then let it dry.

In 12-24 hours, it should be fully formed and strong

Step 6. Sculpt it into a cool shape

Use your imagination and mold your new plastic into an original shape, making a small plastic sculpture that you can paint later or some other cool design. It's a cool science project for kids and students, which leaves them with cool memories for later.

Method 2 of 3: Make polymer clay

Make Plastic Step 7

Step 1. Gather the right ingredients

Polymers fall between liquids and solids: they take the shape of their container, but are elastic and malleable like solids. To make basic polymer clay from simple ingredients you will need:

  • White DIY glue, like Elmer's
  • 2 cups
  • Some water
  • Borax powder (washing powder)
  • A plastic spoon

Step 2. Dissolve the borax in one of the cups

Add a teaspoon of borax to the cup, along with enough water to dissolve it. Stir until it dissolves completely, then set aside.

Step 3. Prepare the glue

In the other cup, add a small amount of glue. Add about three tablespoons of water to the glue and mix, to dilute it somewhat.

If you want to color your polymer clay, you can also add a few drops of dye and mix it in to create a cool color

Step 4. Add a spoonful of borax to the glue

As you mix, you should notice that a gooey texture begins to form in the glue, which may start to cling to the spoon somewhat. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then remove it from the spoon.

You can touch the sticky polymer clay with your bare hands. Play with it, stretch it, shape it, create crazy shapes. It's hard to get him to keep his shape, but it can serve as a squishy and creepy plastic alien for kids

Step 5. Do not store it in the open

To store the muddy plastic substance, keep it in a closed plastic bag. It will last for a while if you take care of it or you can craft more by doing the same!

Method 3 of 3: Make plastic from casein

Make Plastic Step 12

Step 1. Gather the right ingredients

To create a simple, natural, plastic-like substance from basic household ingredients that you probably already have in your house, put the following things together:

  • 1 cup whole milk or heavy cream (the fatter the better)
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • A saucepan
  • A colander

Step 2. Heat the milk

In the saucepan, heat the milk gently and simply bring it to a boil. Be very careful not to boil it, which will nullify the reaction.

Step 3. Add the vinegar

Add a few spoons at a time, stir the vinegar with a spoon until the milk begins to break down into a solid part and a liquid part. Basically, it's the process of making cheese that involves separating and creating curdled milk.

Step 4. Pass the mixture through a colander

Remove it from the heat and pour the milk through the colander when it is cool enough to handle. The rubbery, soft part in the colander is the “milk plastic,” called casein, an essential part of making cheese.

By warming the milk and adding the vinegar, you started a chemical reaction that brought out the natural polymers in the milk and created a natural plastic-like compound

Step 5. Harden the plastic by letting it cool

See how your plastic objects react when you pinch, stretch or drop them. If you let it sit for a while or put it in the freezer, it will harden.

  • You could also pour it into candy molds or other shapes and let it harden into a cool shape. If you haven't painted it yet, paint it to make holiday decorations or natural jewelry - this can be a cool project for kids.
  • The plastic will be fine for a few days, but will have the basic shelf life of food. Throw it away before it molds.

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