Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Icicle Ornaments From Plastic Bottles

Here's a really cute way to make icicles for the house or tree this year.  Use old plastic bottles!
This tutorial is from Cut Out and Keep.  Check out the site because there are several other versions of this tutorial there.  Maybe one of them will work just for you!


Make icicle ornaments from plastic bottles

Materials needed:
-plastic bottle

(I made 36 icicles out of 2 bottles, and I'm not counting those first few that I threw away because they were warped or burned)

This is so easy, I can't believe there is no instruction on it yet :)
I had this idea last year, when I saw those expensive glass icicles in stores, and wondered if they make plastic ones too (so they'd be catproof =^.^=).
End of the story is, I looked on ebay, found they were either ugly (opaque white plastic with gold glitter, anyone? or maybe yellow glow-in-the-dark???) or expensive (15€ for some cheap cast plastic?!), and decided to make my own :P
You can hang them on a tree, or make a garland out of them. They could look great on a wire chandelier as well, AND they make great hairsticks! I even made some tiny ones as earrings.

1. remove the top and the bottom of the bottle and get rid of the label.
2. cut the bottle in thin strips (about 1-1.5cm at the wider end) that taper at one end (the shape of most bottles will do that automatically! You'll only have to trim the end so it's really pointy). Don't worry about any patterns and bumps in the plastic, they'll be barely noticable at the end.
3. starting from the tapered end (leave a piece unheated so you can hold it), heat (HEAT not melt or burn) the strips over a candle while moving and twisting them.
You have to pull a bit on both sides so they don't get warped and crooked.
4. when you reach the end, keep pulling it straight until it cools.
5. OPTIONAL: now you can either cut the thin non-twisted spike at the thin end, or leave it there.
you can also cut the top (the wider end) of the icicle to a rounded shape.
6. heat a needle or nail over the candle and poke a hole through the top of the icicle.
7. put a piece of thread or wire through the hole, make a knot, and hang it somewhere :)


PRACTICE! the first ones I made were so ugly I had to throw them away ^^
You'll soon find out at which temperature the plastic gets soft but doesn't melt and drip yet.
The candle should not smoke or flicker excessively, and there should be no "burned plastic" smell eiter. If the candle produces smoke or soot you should trim the wick.
If you make larger icicles (like, from 2 liter bottles), i suggest that you stop at the middle and let it cool first. Then you can hold it better to start again, so you can twist them in a more controlled way. But this takes practice too, as you have to reheat the plastic evenly.
It helps a lot if you've worked with glass before.

if you make a lot of them and want to keep the threads from getting tangled while you store them during the rest of the year, you can hold them together with a rubber band.

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