Introduction: Decorative Plastic Tiles From Waste Plastic
- Waste plastic material (stick to one recycling number)
- Industrial oven (or any heating mode)
- Fire-clay crucibles
- Tongs (to handle the hot, molten plastic)
- Heat resistant gloves (safety comes first, you guys!)
- Mould to shape the plastic tiles
You're all set!!
Step 1: Making Plastic Bits
First things first. The main material here is the plastic bits to make plastic tiles.
First start by collecting waste plastic, and group them according to their recycling number. That is, when you take any plastic material, inside the recycling symbol you'll find a number as shown in the picture. That is the recycling number. It basically tells you that what type of plastic material they are and their melting temperature differs based on that number.
So collect a large amount of plastic with the same recycling number and cut them up in tiny bits. Now you are ready to melt them (but keep in mind that a large amount of plastic bits will melt into a small ball of molten plastic when you heat them).
Note: while doing this project release of toxic products of plastic's thermal decomposition are very harmful to human (if highly exposed) and to environment if not treated properly. Also you might need a lab with proper ventilation and a protective mask is required.
Step 2: Melting the Plastic
This is quite a fun part! Assemble your plastic bits into a fire clay crucible (or any heat resistant container to melt the plastic) The group of plastic with recycling number one, two and three will melt over a range of 150 degree Celsius to 200C for a constant heat supply for about half an hour. Recycling number four and five will melt over a range of 250C to 350C for about half an hour but recycling number six is quite hard to melt. Make sure you're wearing your gloves/mittens. You can also add some color here to the plastic but I chose colorful plastic bits so I did not have to add any extra colors.
Step 3: Moulding the Plastic
Once you see that your plastic is starting to melt, it'll fuse with the other plastic bits. Once the plastic is completely molten, then you can pour your plastic to the mould to give your plastic tile a nice shape! I used a circular mould and hence mine turned our circular. But you can give it any shape you want!
Step 4: Trimming and Shaping
Let the plastic mould cool down first. After that you can trim the edges using a sand paper or cut off the extras (if any) and give it a good shape!
Step 5: Final Thoughts
First, I think that Plastic tiles has more potential than being just a project. Because it's really about time that we consider the amount of plastic that is being deposited as land fill everywhere and we have to find a way around to save our planet.
Second, it's really cool how you can make something useful and beautiful out of waste plastic and decorate anything you want, the way you want it to look like!
Third, Hope you have fun doing it, thank you!
Participated in the