Introduction: Natural Synthetics (Plastic Fork Sculpture)
In this Instructable I show you how to create Natural Synthetics plastic fork sculptures.Natural Synthetics are plastic cutlery sculptures made from repurposed material and heat. You can get started creating your own sculptures in just a few minutes. Natural Synthetics are an easy way to reuse plastic material and create some funky art in the process. You can view my Youtube tutorial for far
more detail along with other projects.
Step 1: Material
You will need heavy duty plastic forks, a heat gun, scissors, and jewelry pliers. For this project you will need 7 forks total. 3 Black, 2 Blue, and 2 Yellow. Do not use candles or open flames to heat the forks. This can create toxic fumes, cause the fork to melt too much, and can leave black soot on the sculpture. The heat of a candle or open flame is unreliable and dangerous. A heat gun is the only way to go. I set mine around 850°. I hold the forks 1"-2" from the heat source. You may want to use gloves and pliers to handle the forks.
Step 2: Stem and Flower
Hold the blue fork about 1-2 inches from the heat and work back and forth at the base of the fork. Flip over and heat both sides equally. This first fork will be part of the stem and the main part of the flowers.
Step 3: Shape Like a Star
Once the fork is heated up and flexible roll the sides back and create a star pattern as seen here. You want to pull the sides of the fork and create a seam on the back side of the fork. Then spread the tines of the fork into a star shape. Do the same step for both blue forks.
Step 4: Rotate Fork Over Heat
Next you take one of the yellow forks and heat it up. Focus the heat on the area where the tines meet the base of the fork. As you are holding the tines together twist the fork. When you heat it enough it will melt together where the tines separated from the base of the fork. You may want to use the pliers here. Once the tines are separated you will push the melted base into the top of the blue fork.
Step 5: Push Into Blue Fork
Here you can see where you want to place the tines of the yellow fork. When you press the melted base into the blue fork space them out a little. You want to repeat this step for the other yellow fork. At this point you should have two blue forks with a star shape and they tines of the yellow forks in the center.
Step 6: Rotate Over Heat
Hold the yellow part close to the heat and rotate. This will cause the yellow fork to become wavy and get a little curl. Do this for both forks. Continue to rotate the yellow tines over the heat until you get a shape you are happy with. For the centers of the flower I like to have a wavy look to the fork.
Step 7: Run Back and Forth Over Heat
The next step is to bend the tines of the blue forks. Run each one over the heat and move it back and forth. Focus the heat on the tip of the tines. The heat will cause the fork tines to curl up. You can create a tighter curl by focusing the heat on the tips then working the heat down the tine. You can create a larger loop by focusing the heat equally on the tine of the fork. For this step we will create a tighter curl by focusing the heat near the tips then work the way down the tines. Do each tine individually. Do the same for both forks.
Step 8: Curl the Tips
You can see in this image what your fork should look like at this point.
Step 9: Twist Two Forks Together
Once you finish the curls hold a black fork and one of the blue forks with the faces of the forks towards each other. Move it back and forth over the heat, rotate the fork as you heat it so you get all sides warmed up equally. When both forks are evenly heated start to twist them. The easiest way is to hold the very back of the forks with pliers and rotate from the base and tines of the forks. Once you have it twisted at least two thirds of the way down the fork let it cool down and do the same to the other blue fork.
Step 10: Shape the Black Fork
Now heat up the black fork at the base and the tines. Curl the remaining part of the black fork over the blue fork and spread out the tines in a star shape like you did with the blue forks earlier. After you spread out the tines you will heat them up and curl them or make them wavy. Do the same for the other flower.
Step 11: Heat the Stem
Heat up the bottom section of one of the flowers. You want to heat up the bottom two thirds of the flower. Once it is flexible you will wrap this around the other flower and combine them into one.
Step 12: Twist Both Flowers Together
Heat up the tabs hanging off the sculpture and sculpt them into a leaf shape. You do this by pushing a heated tab in with your thumb at the center. This will cause the fork to scrunch up a bit and gives a wave to the structure. Do this for all the tabs (handle of the fork). You can also decide to curl them up too.
Step 13: Attach Base
Heat up the last black fork and wrap it around the bottom of the two flowers. You want to start about two thirds the way up the sculpture and wrap it around ad down the sculpture. You will flatten out the base of the fork on a flat surface and spread the tines like you did with the first blue forks. You want to create a star shape.
Step 14: Shape Base
The final step is to heat the tines of the last fork and give them a curl or wave. You can use the pliers to help shape the tines.
Step 15: Completed Natural Synthetics Sculpture
Now you are all finished. Natural Synthetics sculptures are a fun and easy project. The materials are fairly cheap and easy to obtain. Remember to be careful and use gloves and pliers. The plastic is hot and can burn you. DO not use an open flame to heat the forks. Use a heat gun.
You can also watch the full video tutorial on my Youtube page along with other video tutorials.