Introduction: Hooked Toothbrush

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I like brushing my teeth in the shower but don't like how the toothbrush always slips through my shower caddy and onto the floor, I also sometimes forget where I leave my toothbrush when I move it between the shower and the sink. I wanted a way to leave my toothbrush in the shower, not fall onto the bottom of the tub, and keep it within easy reach. The solution was simple, a hanging toothbrush that can be hooked onto the shower head, the shower curtain rod...just about anywhere! A hooked toothbrush!

I created a hooked handle for my toothbrush by heating a polypropylene toothbrush over an electric stove and bending it around a bottle neck. Making your own hooked toothbrush is easy!

Here's what you need:
  • thick (leather) work gloves
  • electric range / heating element
  • large bowl of ice water
  • Polypropylene toothbrush [NOT Styrene Acrylonitrile]
  • mandrel or other solid cylindrical object

Step 1: Toothbrush Bending

small radius toothbrush handle bend:
  1. turn heating element on high
  2. prepare an ice bath using a large bowl filled 2/3 with water and fill with ice cubes, set aside
  3. put on thick work gloves to protect your hands from the heat
  4. when element is hot, slowly rotate toothbrush handle over element 
  5. after about 20 seconds the toothbrush handle will become soft and pliable
  6. wrap handle around mandrel to create desired hook shape, hold in place for 10 seconds
  7. submerge hooked handle into ice bath and let sit for another 10 seconds
  8. repeat steps 4-7 to refine the curve if required
Hang your toothbrush anywhere you think you might need it!

Step 2: Further Reading: Types of Plastic

Heat-bending plastic to make a new shape isn't very complicated, however the type of plastic toothbrush you use is important. There are many types of plastic which everyday things are made from, polypropylene (PP) and styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) are the two most commonly used plastics for making toothbrushes. One of these types works with this method of bending, the other doesn't. Here's a comparison:
Polypropylene (PP) toothbrush
  • Usually coloured (or clear colour)
  • More rigid
  • moulded as a single unit
Styrene Acrylonitrile (SAN) toothbrush
  • Usually white
  • more flexible
  • usually moulded with a TPE grip
The polypropylene ones work, while the styrene acrylonitrile toothbrushes melt and go all weird.

Step 3: Further Reading: How NOT To

My first attempt to make these hooked toothbrushes followed this Instructable on how to make a toothbrush bracelet which involves using boiling water to create a large radius bend in a toothbrush. After boiling my toothbrushes for about 10 minutes I removed them with kitchen tongs and bent the toothbrush handle around a mandrel to create a small radius bend in the handle. Unfortunately the bend radius I wanted was too small and I snapped all my toothbrushes.

The boiling method may be good for making bracelets (wide radius curve) but doesn't work so well for making hooked toothbrushes (small radius curve).

Step 4: Final Thoughts

The hooked toothbrush works well and is really fun to use. A minor complaint would be that the handle is a little short, allowing only 2-3 of my fingers to grip the handle. This isn't a big deal as it's not uncomfortable and you don't really need to have all four fingers on your toothbrush anyway.

Have you made your own hooked toothbrush? Share your thoughts below

Happy making :)

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