This is the beginning stage of a pretty major undertaking I’m … undertaking. But it’s taking some time to get all my pieces in order so I thought I’d start with a bit of a teaser post for you. Did you know you can make plastic out of gelatin and water? I kid you not. And once you start playing around with all the different things you can do with it, it opens up the possibility for lots of super fun crafts, and it’s totally something you can do with kids. To start, you need some gelatin (I used powdered), some food colouring (optional, if you want your plastic tinted), something to cut your plastic with (I have a cookie cutter for big circles and a straw for little ones), and a smooth, relatively flexible, shallow plastic or silicone dish. Many people use the flexible lids to margarine containers and the like.
For every little pouch of gelatin you use, you’ll need 3 tablespoons water.
I used 4 pouches in my experiments so I needed 12 tablespoons water, or 3/4 cup water. I plopped that in a small saucepan with food colouring and turned it to low heat.
Tip in your gelatin and stir it gently to dissolve all of it.
Don’t feel the need to whisk it or start a stirring frenzy as this will cause your gelatin to foam and you won’t have a nice clear result. You’ll get a bit of foam at the edges but nothing serious.
Once you have heated the gelatin water enough that all the gelatin is dissolved and the liquid is clear again, pour it into your little dishes (I used two 6″ x 8″ dishes) and smooth it out with a spatula so that all the surfaces are covered. Try to pop any bubbles you see, but a few are okay.
Now leave that puppy alone for about 45 minutes. After that time you will have gelatin that is set but is still flexible. You can peel it out of your dish super easily, but do it slowly as it can tear.
I used a cookie cutter to cut out large circles, and a shot glass to cut out smaller ones.
Then I used a straw to cut out hanging holes from all my circles.
The excess is weird and floopy.
But cool to play with. It’s totally edible (but doesn’t taste that great) and you can chuck it in the compost.
Then I set the circles to dry. I did a lot of trial and error with drying these things. There’s a school that wants you to set them on a paper towel, under another paper towel, sealed just under the lid of a tupperware container, but I didn’t have much luck with that, nor did a bunch of the people who have already done this project and posted it on the internet. In this picture you can see I set the circles on parchment paper to try, but of course paper wrinkles when wet.
So I ended up with these wrinkled chip things when these were dry (which takes a couple days).
I had also laid a second piece of parchment over top to help hold the drying circles down and prevent them from warping, but it only helped a little, and the paper’s surface got copied onto the circles, leaving a matte finish.
I found when I left them on a smooth surface (in this case, plastic wrap taped to my counter) then they warped more but they were totally clear, and I preferred that.
I also let some dry completely inside the dishes, and ended up with a big sheet of (still warped) plastic.
You can cut this stuff easily with scissors.
And it’s also compostable.
It’s going to take me a while to get all the little circles made that I need but I have a due date of September so stay tuned!