Plastic Army Men Fruit Bowl





Introduction: Plastic Army Men Fruit Bowl

About: Innovation consultant by day; design and innovation researcher and general tinkerer by night. Interested in all things digital, but also getting hands dirty making physical creative things for fun and sharin...

I saw a similar project a while ago on this and so decided to make my very own Plastic Army Man Fruit Bowl. Best part is it only costs around £6 to make.

Here's how you do it.

Step 1: You Will Need

WARNING: Plastic Army Men are toxic and just like the real things, can kill. So make sure you do this outside on a breezy day.

You will need:

  • 2 to 3 bags of plastic Army Men (eBay sells many at dirt cheap prices £3)
  • Metal mixing bowl (£3 from a home/kitchen store)
  • Heat gun
  • PVA glue (optional)
  • Paint brush (optional)

Step 2: Lay Out the First Men

First of all lay two plastic amy men together bases touching each other; this will form the central link. Then arrange the men with bases down so that they have as much solid plastic against plastic.

Build up as many as you can without them tumbling down.

Step 3: Heat Up Layers

Grab the heat gun and start heating around 10-15cm away from the men for around 10 seconds, but do it outside! The fumes are really bad and poisonous so be careful.

The metal bowl can get burning hot so use some oven gloves when rotating the bowl around.

Don't get too close or they'll boil, burn and melt like crazy. Use a stick to poke them against the bowl once they start to melt. Very important: make sure each man is melted well into the next.

Step 4: Continue Adding Men

Repeat the process once the first layer is built up and melted together. Add as many as you can again and melt them firmly against the bowl and to the soldiers below them.

Step 5: Check Men Are Melted Together

Check each man is very well melted to the next. I used laying down men more along the top to finish off the rim of my bowl. During my first attempt several clumps broke off because they weren't well melted to the next and we held on only by arms and guns which were too thin. So if you have any weak points, grab some more men and melt a few in to patch the holes.

Step 6: (Optional) PVA Glue Varnish

I wanted mine to be a bit stronger, so I mixed some PVA glue and water (2:1) and brushed on two coats. This also acts as varnish and makes them the whole bowl nice and glossy finished.

Step 7: Add Fruit and Admire!

Last step, chuck in some fruit and enjoy!

Can be used to store anything that isn't too heavy. And you could also melt them into any other shape using glass or metal containers.

Thanks for reading and please post up your bowls when you've made yours! I'd love to see them, especially a red Army men version if you can find red soldiers.

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70 Discussions

Nice work! That looks ace :) Thanks for posting it up. It's great to see other examples. Hope you enjoy it.

hey! a question. What should be the aproximate size of the army men???


3 years ago

This would make a cool light future/lampshade!

1 reply

Congrats on making finalist! How was your sleep until now?Are you waiting for the big announcement? What prize would you like to receive? :D

I have been making these for years on my Etsy account and store. I use a glass bowl, not a metal one.


This would be great when fitted to a lamp shade frame in a kids (no matter what age) room.

7 replies

Wait! Would the heat coming from the lightbulb melt the plastic toy soldiers?

Would the melted toy soldiers be in contact with the lightbulb and cause electrical short circuit and fire?

You would make the shade so that it was far enough away from the bulb so that no melting or emissions from the plastic would occur. you can prchase shade frames from craft and fabric stores.

Lamp shade? I'd be concerned about "off-gassing" or even fire-safety in that particular usage.

I imagine it would be ok with an energy saving bulb or LED as they don't get hot.

Great idea, would be easy to put a metal ring in the centre to form the light fitting cuff. Shadows would look good too on the ceiling.

Great fun idea..and those who are offended by the army men..change it out to bugs or lizards or any other little plastic creature or thing.....

this is what they get for fighting and dying for their plastic country? that's horrible! but gives me an idea for a miniature Iwo Jima statue.