Moldable plastic is great for crafting and fixing all sorts of things. It is a kind of polyester with a low melting point (about 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit). This means that it becomes soft after heating it just a bit and then can be molded by hand into almost any desired shape. It then cools in a matter of a few minutes and becomes once again very hard plastic. Better yet, not only can this plastic be heated and molded over and over again, but it is also biodegradable!
The scientific name of this moldable plastic is polycaprolactone, but it is sold commercially as Multimorph, InstaMorph, ThermoMorph, Plastimake, etc. It comes as tiny white balls, as shown above. The color pieces are optional and can be used to add color to the plastic.
To work with this plastic, first soak the plastic balls in somewhat hot water (Note: I recommend that you prepare hot water that is not quite boiling). Soon, the white plastic balls become transparent. Then they are ready to be scooped up out of the water, as shown in the photo. When melted, this material tends to stick more to plastic objects than metal, so I recommend that you use a metal container for the hot water and a metal utensil to remove them from the water.
Almost as soon as you scoop the plastic out of the water, it should be cool enough to work with your bare hands. You should start by kneading it so that any air trapped in the plastic will be squeezed out.
Whenever the plastic becomes too hard to work with, you can put it back into the hot water for a while and it will soften again.
For each of the tricolored buttons shown in the first photo, I added one red color piece and one blue to a small ball of the plastic.
Soak the plastic and color pieces until they are soft. Then, mold them together. The more you mold, the more fused the colors become.
I wanted a marble-like effect, so I did not mix the colors very much. But, if you mix more, you will eventually get magenta from red and blue.
Our packet of moldable plastic came with four colors: red, blue, yellow and black. By combining two of them at a time, you can make the following new colors:
RED + YELLOW = ORANGE
RED + BLUE = MAGENTA
YELLOW + BLUE = GREEN (This is how I made the green oval buttons in the first photo)
To make the buttonholes, I used a thick tapestry needle.
After poking a hole with the needle, you will probably get a small lip around the hole on the back side of the plastic. To smooth it out, I heated the area very briefly with a lighter and then smoothed it gently with a finger.
Button making with this material is so easy that it is a fun and quick project for children.
In fact, a fun addition to Muumade’s Free Button Owl Patterns & Tutorial would be to make your own buttons for the eyes.
Below are a few more examples of what we have made and fixed with this wonderful material:
We fixed the bottom part of a lamp clamp, and now the clamp is as sturdy and firm as it was before breaking!
One part of our utensil organizer was badly damaged by the sharp points of our knives. So we cut out that section and replaced it with a new piece that we made from the moldable plastic. We also made an additional divider for the organizer to better organize our forks and spoons.
My daughter mixed a bit of red and yellow into the plastic and made a pretty flower. In the photo, sitting proudly next to this lovely wall decoration is Muumade’s Comfy Frog Prince (Its patterns & tutorial are available from Muumade.etsy.com).
The possibilities seem vast with moldable plastic, both for artistic creations as well as for practical fixes.
Happy crafting and fixing!