Abstract Sculpture- Recycled Kid’s Craft

plastic bottle, abstract sculpture, kid's recycled art, kids activities, Figment Creative, Austin, TX, epicycle, kid's crafts, process art

Have you ever heard of Shrinky Dinks?  It is a creative product where you draw on the plastic or trace things, then melt them in the oven and they shrink down.  They are really cool, since you can put all this detail in the drawings then they shrink down to the size of a keychain or something.  My kids love them… almost as much as I do.  I thought it would be fun to cut up some plastic bottles and use the same technique to make abstract recycled sculptures.

What you will need:

What to do:

  1. Have a grown up cut the bottle into various pieces that can later be intertwined.  (Keep the bottom section of the bottle as a base.)
  2. Have the kids decorate the plastic pieces with the permanent markers.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  4. Cover the baking sheet with parchment paper, just to be safe.
  5. Once the plastic is colorful, have the kids put together their sculptures, using the bottom of the plastic bottle as a base.  The more intertwined the plastic the better.  When it heats, it will shrink up and become more secure.
  6. Place sculpture in oven for only a few minutes.  Watch while the plastic shrinks and tightens around each other.  It will only shrink so much, since the plastic is much thicker than Shrinky Dink paper. (Be very careful when using a hot oven.  There should always be a grown up present when melting anything in an oven.)
  7. Take the plastic sculptures out of the oven and let cool.
  8. Re secure the base to the sculpture using the hot glue gun.  (Never touch the tip of a hot glue gun.)

I would usually say work big then cut down.  For example, have the kids draw on the whole bottle, then cut it up.  But, I found that kids become attached with what they have created and they will not want you to cut it up, to continue on to the next step.  So, cut it up first into spirals or random pieces that can be intertwined, then give them to the kids to color.  I didn’t find the cut plastic to be a danger.  Just keep a close eye on them and make sure no one is throwing the pieces around.

What is the science behind this process art project?

Plastics are polymers that are made of long chains of repeating molecules.  The heat is changing the alignment of the polymer chains in the plastic.  This causes the plastic to contract.
plastic bottle, abstract sculpture, kid's recycled art, kids activities, Figment Creative, Austin, TX, epicycle, kid's crafts, process art


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