How to Curve Plexiglas

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Homeowners use Plexiglas in windows, furniture, napkin holders and as room dividers, or in other decorative applications that require a break-resistant material. Plexiglas is a versatile plastic that has many advantages and useful properties, including minimizing glare and UV filtering. Applying heat to Plexiglas makes it pliable enough to bend, curve and configure. Plexiglas, sometimes referred to as acrylic glass, provides homeowners a transparent, translucent or colored plastic material to fit their design needs and wants.

Things You'll Need

  • Cement board or fireproof blanket
  • Leather work gloves
  • Metal coffee can, metal pipe or forming jig
  • C-clamps or weights
  • Peel off the protective paper covering the Plexiglas. Measure the Plexiglas and mark the area where you will form a curve.

  • Lay a sheet of cement board or a fireproof blanket over the work surface. Put on leather work gloves to protect your hands from the hot Plexiglas.

  • Match the arc of the curve you intend to bend to a metal coffee can, metal pipe or other forming jig.

  • Direct a heat gun at the marked bend point on the Plexiglas. Wave the heat gun over the surface, keeping the heat gun in continuous motion. Turn the Plexiglas over and heat the bend point from the opposite side of the Plexiglas sheet. Continue to alternate the sides to which you are applying heat. Slowly bend the Plexiglas with your hands to test the flexibility and pliability. If the Plexiglas does not bend easily, continue to apply heat.

  • Lay the Plexiglas over the forming jig, aligning the bend point with the top of the curve on the forming jig.

  • Clamp the edges of the Plexiglas to the work surface with C-clamps or lay weights over the edges of the Plexiglas to hold the curve. Use your hands to smooth the Plexiglas over the forming jig while applying gentle pressure to create a curve.

Tips & Warnings

  • 1/8-inch thick Plexiglas becomes pliable within three to five minutes of exposure to 300-degree Fahrenheit heat. Plan your heating times based on the thickness of the Plexiglas.
  • Do not direct the heat gun in one spot; you will burn and discolor the Plexiglas.

References

  • "Working With Plastics"; Time Life Editors; 1982
  • "Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"; Family Handyman Magazine Editors; 2005
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