Introduction: "Green" Plastic Toys

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Today's plastics require oil to make but with the recent surge in oil prices and the negative externalities that result from burning oil, make making plastics a costly action to the wallet and environment. Using all-natural materials that can be found in most homes, milk and vinegar, one can make their own mold-able plastic to fit any needs including making toys.

Fun fact: During World War II, the American army used the same plastic to make windows for their bombers.

Step 1: Get Materials

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Get some stuff:

milk, vinegar, a strainer, a heat-safe container, a mold and food coloring

Step 2: Prepare the Milk

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Pour milk into a container and add some food coloring for some fun.

[edit] Forgot to say:
Heat up the milk but not hot enough for it to boil. I just put it in the microwave for about 2 minutes but you can do anything in terms of heating it up

Step 3: Make the Plastic

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Add the vinegar to the milk and stir it to get the most out of the reaction. I used a fork to stir it.

Step 4: Strain It

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Strain the solution to separate plastic from the remaining water, vinegar and milk

Step 5: Pat It Dry

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Put the plastic onto a paper towel and pat it dry with some more towels to get rid off some more of excess water

Step 6: Get Mold

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A mold :)

Step 7: Place Into Mold

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Put the plastic into the mold and let dry by itself for a couple days, or you could use something to help it dry like a hairdryer etc.


evacooper (author)2015-04-23

doesnt that just make green cottage cheese? i have made cottage cheese by heating milk and adding vinegar...

TatangTerry (author)2015-02-15

No mention of the measurement of each ingredient. What is the percentage of milk and vinegar in the solution? What is the lifespan of the plastic before it degrades?

mountcarlo (author)2013-08-13

Nice tutorials and thanks for sharing, According to above tutorials its' very easy to create and plastic toy.. but Question is plastic is manufacturing from polymer Does it's produce harmful effect to small baby or not...
"plastic soldiers"

chicopluma (author)2011-01-24

does it rot or start to stink with the time ?

zjharva (author)2008-06-08

Nice instructable though! Its a good use of the milk and vinegar thing.I never knew you could use it as plastic!

slappingpenguins (author)zjharva2008-06-08

Oh cool, I didn't know you could make glue out of it.

Milk has also been used for centuries to create paint for both paintings and for housepainting:
Milk paint

Patrik (author)zjharva2008-06-08

Two more, for good measure:

Homemade Plastic
Make plastic out of milk

bytowneboy (author)2008-06-08

This is a dried, unripened, cheese. Nothing is really polymerized... is it.


Is cheese a polymer?

*scraches head and walks away*

Proteins are polymers (the monomers are amino acids) so, yes.

mimiu78 (author)xenobiologista2009-02-25

but what's the main difference between protein polymers and plastic polymers?

Eye Poker (author)bytowneboy2008-06-09

Borrowed from

Sci-Tech Encyclopedia: Casein
The principal protein fraction of cows' milk. It accounts for about 80% of the protein content and is present in concentrations of 2.5–3.2%. Casein is a mixed complex of phosphoproteins existing in milk as colloidally dispersed micelles 50 to 600 nanometers in diameter. Caseins can be separated from the whey proteins of cows' milk by gel filtration, high-speed centrifugation, salting-out with appropriate concentrations of neutral salts, acid precipitation at pH 4.3–4.6, and coagulation with rennet (or other proteolytic enzymes), and as a coprecipitate with whey proteins. The first three methods yield preparations in essentially their native micellar state, but are impractical for commercial exploitation. Thus, commercial caseins are produced by methods more amenable to industrial practices. See also Micelle.

The early production of casein isolates was stimulated by their application in industrial products such as paper, glue, paint, and plastics. These applications have been replaced by petroleum-based polymers. Thus the emphasis has shifted to their utilization in food systems, where they add enhanced nutritional and functional characteristics. They are widely used in the formulation of comminuted meat products, coffee whitener, processed cereal products, bakery products, and cheese analogs. See also Cheese; Food manufacturing; Milk.

bytowneboy (author)Eye Poker2008-06-09

Sweet! Thanks.

starberry_lov3r (author)2008-12-09

and I have a question does it biodegrade?

mimiu78 (author)starberry_lov3r2009-02-25

yes it does. :)

starberry_lov3r (author)2008-12-09

how come when I did it it became rotten milk later on and stink up the place...

Deltaforce2555 (author)2008-06-08

What exactly is the plastic, I don't know much about chemistry but I wanna say its vinegars reaction with calcium?

The plastic is casein. And there is not much chemical reaction taking place, but rather the heat and the acetic acid in the vinegar denature the proteins in the milk and cause it to percipitate.

Try lining the sieve with a cheesecloth or a thin rag at step 4, you'll probably recover more solids.

mweston (author)2008-06-09

Cool, that could probably be useful for something other than a toy mold thingy.

zany artist (author)2008-06-09

Very cool!

austin (author)2008-06-08

this brings back memories I did this for the science fair back in 2nd grade.

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