Melting plastic into jewelry

July 23, 2007

plastic knitting needlesI’m a little late getting to this one, but I wanted to point out a cool, yet simple, project posted last week in Ric-Rac. Jodie carefully melts old, plastic knitting needles into round bangles. This got me thinking about plastic-melting in jewelry making, generally.

Jodie melts her needles in boiling water, which seems like a pretty good way to do it. It reduces the chance of scorching (or fires), and it allows the process to happen slowly and deliberately.

Of course, I’m always concerned about potentially toxic fumes from melting plastic. (I especially cringe when I see tutorials online for melting things like foam plastic food trays in your oven. It may sound like a good way to re-use these items, but consider the fumes!) But, it seems like the boiling-water method would be safer and less likely to emit fumes, perhaps. I’m sure it also depends on the type of plastic you’re melting – some, no doubt, are more toxic than others.

I do believe that you can greatly reduce all potential jewelry-making hazards by strictly following some important safety rules. On that topic, here’s an article I wrote a while back about polymer clay safety for


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