Strengthen plaster of paris with Christmas tinsel?

Through the Answers section here, I learned of mixing borax, rebake into powder, and then mix alum to create a high polishable cast...and also read discussion of the use of horse hair or fiberglass fibers from insulation for reinforcing the plaster. Unfortunately, I haven't ever found enough details to test either of these methods. The other day at the store, my wife asked if tinsel would work. It never occurred to me, but it sounds like it would make sense. Have you ever tried to pull a strand of that stuff a part? Also, I'm sure right after Christmas, it would be dirt cheap and in vast supply. I have been using the plaster of paris for making mold for some Sugru/Oogoo projects.

Anyone ever try this or have any suggestions? Or if anyone knowledge about the fiberglass thing that I can use as basis, that would be cool too. Also, I know there are better materials than plaster of paris, that are stronger and all, but I am trying to at least use what I have on hand first, and I know other people would find it useful too.

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shawneegeek7 years ago
Maybe u could use saw dust. Its cheap and was used in making Ballistic Ice which gives ice the same strength as solid stone.

I just spent 10 minutes searching for what you are talking about. Here is the link for people of the future. It's called Pykrete.

vphreeze (author) 6 years ago
I believe that the stuff I have seen is plastic. I was considering that if you grabbed both ends of a strand and tried to pull it in half it stretches very thin and takes a lot more effort than you would think. I didn't know if this property might lend itself to a mild amount shock absorbtion in addition to being fibrous to hold the plaster together.

About the fiberglass insulation, for the next little while, I have access to lots of scrap pieces as they are doing AC work at my job. How would I go about making use of that? These are from new rolls.

As for my personal use of the plaster, I am mainly using it for making molds to make reproducable items out of Oogoo/Sugru. But I have friends and relatives that use it alot in crafts and theater, some for school, some for personal hobbies.
When you add something like fiberglass fibers, you're creating a matrix to give more tensile strength - kinda like rebar in concrete. I don't think tinsel (which is usually plastic) will do much for you. I'd say stick with fiberglass fibers, or possibly steel wool. You need something that has more tensile strength than the plaster.

Vince
afridave7 years ago
I think i posted the alum/borex question and i too have not found a really good method yet,ive tried using standard glass fibre in the plaster and surface coating it with resin it works and does create strength but burns and is not suitable for my purposes.what are you trying to do with the plaster?
afridave7 years ago
I think i posted the alum/borex question and i too have not found a really good method yet,ive tried using standard glass fibre in the plaster and surface coating it with resin it works and does create strength but burns and is not suitable for my purposes.what are you trying to do with the plaster?
rickharris7 years ago
'sI just reread that post and I think I mean Angel hair!!!
rickharris7 years ago
Depends if your talking the silver foil type or what I call (or my kids call) angle hair, the latter may work as it is a fibre but i think the foil would be no help at all as it has little tensile strength.