I’ve had several pieces of this stuff stashed away in one of my many drawers for the past couple of years all with the intention of using them….ONE DAY! You know how it is! Well that day finally arrived and I told myself I WAS going to use them and write an article on them!
At first before I tried using Friendly Plastic I told myself I wasn’t going to like it! I’d heard so many reports on how ‘hard it was to handle’ which is what had put me off using it so far! But after a little play time and experimenting I found myself hooked!
I LOVE Friendly Plastic, the colours alone are so striking and bold; they are not for the faint hearted! I have always loved using strong colours in my artwork; these kind of rich colours make a bold statement. So naturally Friendly Plastic is the perfect medium for someone like me to use!
Friendly Plastic is a LOT easier to use than you might think! Most stampers tend to shy away from using Friendly Plastic as they don’t want to mess around melting it with water or they don’t have a crafters heat pan. In actual fact your humble embossing heat tool is the PERFECT tool for melting the Friendly Plastic with!
Basic Equipment For Creating With Friendly Plastic:
Friendly Plastic Strips (Amaco) in assorted colours – I find it best to have an even balance of dark and light colours and also metallic and patterns in the Friendly Plastic. That way when you come to create with Friendly Plastic you can create a perfectly balanced contrast using different types of colours and textures.
Non Stick Baking Parchment – You can find this with the tinfoil in the supermarkets. If you can’t get hold of it; you can use Teflon liner or the non stick craft sheet. You use this to heat the Friendly Plastic onto as the paper is non stick your embellishments will lift off easily once they have cooled down.
Sharp Scissors – These are for cutting and trimming the Friendly Plastic pieces with before and after heating.
Embossing Heat Tool – Any brand will do, I use the white ‘hairdryer’ type model by Heat It.
Marbling Comb (Amaco) – This is a plastic comb with metal teeth to enable you to drag the hot Friendly Plastic and create Marbled backgrounds. I really recommended purchasing one of these combs as Friendly Plastic Marbling is out of this world!!
Glossy Accents (Ranger) – I use Glossy Accents to affix my Friendly Plastic embellishments to my cards after they have cooled down. If you don’t have Glossy Accents you could substitute using either Plaid Dimensional Magic or Judikins Diamond Glaze.
Getting Started With Friendly Plastic
First of all if you’ve never created with Friendly Plastic before I find it best to cut off several pieces and strips of Friendly Plastic using scissors:
I like to cut right across the long Friendly Plastic strips to create smaller 2 – 5mm thick bars; also I like to cut small triangular shapes, and also more abstract shapes. Any shape will do as you will not waste any, it can all be put to good use.
Friendly Plastic Marbling
First of all for this you will need several small strips of Friendly Plastic cut from the larger strips.
1. Line them all up onto a sheet of Non Stick Baking Parchment; see below for example of how to lay them onto the sheet:
2. Next turn on your heat gun and blast the row of Friendly Plastic strips, as you heat it up you will notice the texture of the Friendly Plastic changes a little; it goes crinkly; this is normal. Continue heating until the entire surface areas of all the strips has changed in the same way.
3. Next take up the marbling comb, and starting at the top of the strips, gently drag the comb through the Friendly Plastic. As you do this the Friendly Plastic will move and flow in the direction of the comb.
4. Remove excess pieces of Friendly Plastic from the comb teeth.
5. Turn the piece of baking parchment around, and comb through the Friendly Plastic again, this time in the opposite direction. Position the comb so the teeth line up with the centers of the patterns you just created.
6. Clean off excess Friendly Plastic from the comb teeth.
7. Set aside to one side to cool off, one it has cooled you can use the marbled piece in your artwork.
For an example of how the finished marbled Friendly Plastic embellishment looks see below:
You can use these marbled pieces as embellishments just as they are, or you can cut them up with scissors once they are cooled to make them into borders or photo corners like I have done in the samples on this page.
Another thing you can do is, instead of layering the strips of Friendly Plastic right next to one another on the baking parchment as before; instead leave a slight gap between them. Then heat and comb as usual; the finished marbled embellishment will have holes and gaps in it which I think look rather arty!!
You could use these gaps to thread fibers or yarns through them.
See below for example:
As well as marbling with strips of Friendly Plastic you can also create marbling with 2 triangular pieces of Friendly Plastic:
1. Cut 2 triangles from the corners of 2 different strips of Friendly Plastic.
2. Place them side by side onto a sheet of non stick baking parchment so that they form a square like shape.
3. Heat as before and then drag your comb through the molten plastic to create a smaller marbled square like below:
Another thing I like about Friendly Plastic Marbling is that while it is still warm you can embed items into the molten plastic. For example UTEE embellishments or Faux gems.
Abstract Friendly Plastic Embellishments
The cards seen below were both created using what I call Abstract Friendly Plastic embellishments. For this I both cut and broke off pieces of Friendly Plastic, next I placed them onto the baking parchment. Heated with a heat tool, once melted I used a cocktail stick to press the pieces together to make them bond together. While the plastic was still warm I pressed a faux pearl gem into the plastic, then I set it aside to cool.
That’s how easy it is to use Friendly Plastic in your art!
I hope that you will also give it a try as it is really easy to use once you get over your phobias with it!! Trust me you’ll be hooked like I was and will LOVE experimenting and using it!