How to Melt Down Plastic for Making Recyclable Art

Plastic bottles get a second life.
Plastic bottles get a second life. (Image: Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Recycling plastic is good for the earth. However, recycling doesn't necessarily mean you need to take your plastics to a recycling center. Plastic is also reused to make crafts and art. By making recyclable art with melted plastic, you are keeping harmful greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, while having fun at the same time. Melting down plastic used for recyclable art is easy, with the right equipment and melting supplies.

Things You'll Need

  • Toaster oven or microwave
  • Pizza wheel or scissors
  • Heat-proof container
  • Heat-proof gloves
  • Craft stick
  • Plastic coloring
  • Glitter
  • Metal or soft plastic mold

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Cut large pieces of plastic into small, even pieces with a pizza wheel or scissors. Place the pieces of plastic in a heat-proof container, suitable for a toaster oven.

Place the toaster oven outside or in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes. Set the heat-proof container filled with plastic into the toaster oven.

Set the temperature to 350-degrees Fahrenheit for soda and water bottle lids. Set the temperature to 325-degrees Fahrenheit for milk bottle lids. Set the temperature to 425-degrees Fahrenheit for bottles.

Check the plastic consistently. Remove the melted plastic with heat proof gloves or an oven mitt. Melted plastic is not in a liquid form. It will have a sticky appearance.

Pour plastic coloring and glitter into the melted plastic, if desired. Mix the melted plastic with a craft stick. Fill the mold with the melted plastic.

Allow the plastic to cool and harden, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the hardened plastic from the mold.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a microwave if you do not have a toaster oven. Heat the plastic for 3 1/2 to 5 minutes.
  • Plastic bottles create a lot of fumes and do not heat well.

References

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