Friday, December 21, 2012

Fused Plastic Chinese Lantern

The continuing exploration of the possibilities of fused plastic led to the merging of an antique Chinese lantern with some 21st century garbage bags. For background on how I originally reconstructed the antique lantern from rubble and photos of an earlier incarnation of the lantern, see Seeing Chinese Lantern.

For this project I realized that while clunkier fused plastic projects like shopping totes, wallets, or raingear may call for six to eight layers of plastic bagging fused together, you want far fewer layers when your focus is on translucent aesthetics. To make the plastic look absolutely beautiful when the light shines through, the question is how few layers you can get away with. The answer seems to be two.

Two to three layers of plastic fused to create panel

Two to three layers of plastic fused for lamp panel

To briefly recap once again how to go about fusing plastic: Place layers of plastic from cut-up plastic bags between two sheets of paper; experiment with correct iron setting to fuse plastic together (suggestions include rayon setting or just past wool setting); work in well-ventilated area. To create artsy, translucent panels, play with placement of various scraps of colored plastic and see what happens.

Work area (static electricity makes finished panels cling to window for temporary storage/display)

Sample panel

The fused plastic panels were then cut to size and glued into the Chinese lantern. While you may not have a Chinese lantern handy, consider placing fused plastic panels into empty picture frames and then propping those frames in windows. Or stay tuned for the next Stuff You Can't Have posting to see some gorgeous fused plastic bunting. Below are photos from the lantern project and the finished lantern.

Replacing lantern panels with fused plastic

Finished lantern

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