18.7.2012

Recycling vinyl

This is what I made: 


And here's how I made them:

Yesterday I decided to try something that I haven't done before. Also it has been a while since I did anything out of recycled materials. I started by googling different words for recycling and materials and I remembered I have those old LP vinyl records in my closet. They used to hang on my wall in the old apartment, but since we moved they've just been gathering dust. I was curious about how to make vinyl moldable because I have seen those vases that they make out of old Lp records. 

These kinds of vases made from vinyl records I've seen before.
I also found a few old vinyl projects and concluded that making vinyl soft requires heat. You can do it with and open flame (candles), in your home oven (10 or so minutes in about 120 degrees celcius), with hot water or with a blow dryer. What to keep in mind was that the vinyl releases toxic gas when it burns so you don't want to play with it too much.

I would imagine something like this would be cut with a
lasercutter and that releases the toxic gas aswell.  

I tried to make a few pieces over a candle but I soon realised that the vinyl melts too much for my taste (the edges of the items become thicker and bubbly looking very easily). I tried hot water and blow drying to see how they affect vinyl and I liked the outcome a lot more than with a candle. Somehow it seems also safer, though I don't have any proof of that. 

I wanted to make some jewelry, but cutting very detailed things out of small vinyl pieces seemed like too much of an effort for one night. So I made some cuffs instead! It's a good addition for my jewelry collection since I don't have any cuffs yet. I think it's always a good idea to make something new to keep the collection fresh!

Some cuffs I found on the internet while googling. 

I heated the vinyl with my blow dryer. It took maybe 30-60 seconds for one part to be soft enough to cut with scissors. I took out some pieces that I though looked good for cuffs. After checking the edges and giving them some sanding paper I took my big pan on the stove. I put about a liter of water to it and put the heat to maximum. Once it started to boil, I moved the pan so that half of it was boiling, other half  wasn't. This way I could use the hot water without burning my fingers in the rising heat. I put one end of the cuff to the water and soon it started to go soft and I could mold it easily. The heated vinyl stiffens out really fast, but you can re-heat it multiple times. It takes some practise to get the shape right too so cut some extra ones.

After you get the shape the way you want it, you need to decide how to pimp the cuffs! I simply painted my cuffs and coated them with a good protective lacquer!

Here's some ideas of what you might like: