How to Melt Polyethylene at Home

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Melt plastic bottles to create personalized items with molds.
Melt plastic bottles to create personalized items with molds. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Polyethylene is a commercial polymer frequently used to make plastic. It is usually found in packaging such as bottles and grocery bags. There are various types of polyethylene categorized by their properties including their density and branching, as well as their weight. Although melting plastic is usually performed by professionals because of the dangerous fumes and hazards, you can melt small amounts of plastic at home such as a thin plastic water bottle to create customized items with the use of molds. Melting small amounts of plastic is also an efficient means of recycling.

Things You'll Need

  • Toaster oven
  • Metal container
  • Plastic
  • Scissors
  • Gloves
  • Tongs

Cut the plastic into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors. The pieces should be small enough to fit into the metal container.

Preheat the toaster oven to approximately 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place a small amount of plastic in the container. Position the metal container in the toaster oven.

Increase the heat of the toaster oven every three to four minutes in 25-degree intervals until the plastic or polyethylene is completely melted. Avoid temperatures over 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the can from the toaster oven with oven mitts or tongs to ensure protection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Melt plastic in an area that is well ventilated and exposed to air. Take the toaster oven outside if possible.
  • Prevent hazards and harm by wearing protective clothing and gear such as gloves and safety goggles, as well as a mask.

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