Thank you One and All for your lovely comments and suggestions both on the blog and directly by email; I am going to try and address some of the points raised.
Create and Craft
If you like or do not like the way they do some things on Create and Craft, or have suggestions about what would make it better for you, then emailing them is definitely the best thing to do. email@example.com. I can relay things back but that does not have the same impact as you talking to them directly. I think there is also a forum that is in some way linked to C&C which they do monitor so that might also be a way of getting your thoughts to the right people.
Emails whilst on Air
Please do feel free to email the show, it is always lovely to hear from you, and it helps others to realise that if you follow a few simple guidelines (primarily do not over heat the plastic), then FP is very straight forward to work with, and it is incredibly good value when you can use every tiny scrap. Seeing your work on air gives others encouragement too.
Hot Water Baths
I am frequently asked where to buy a pot like the one I use to heat water in and all I can say is that I started off with a pan on the hob and then found an old electric frying pan (Swan) which was much bigger but still did the same job. I then found newer versions of the electric frying pan (under various names – multifunction cooker, electric skillet etc). The small versions usually go under the name of crock pots, but be careful not to get slow cookers as they require the lid to be on to maintain the temperature.Places to look include the on line auction sites, markets, Argos, Lakeland and kitchenware companies. Unfortunately these items appear to come and go in fashion, however you can always find a single electric ring (Argos sell these) and put a roasting tin on top. Basically anything that you can maintain a constant 60 – 70 deg C with will work. The depth of water and the size of the pot are only important if you want to make larger items, for small flat pieces you can even try a Melt Pot with the front jacked up.
Old Friendly Plastic
It sounds like many of you will be digging out your stash of FP you bought years ago but didn’t do anything with. I strongly suggest that you bend each piece top to toe and if it snaps then put it to one side. If it bends nicely then go ahead and use it. All the snappers need to be kept apart from the rest of your stock as it is easy to get them muddled up. Personally I bin my snappers as they are too frustrating to work with for the way I like to work. Jana Ewy in America reconditions her snappers but I have had only limited and temporary success on this front, and you can find out more in an earlier post on this blog or visit The Art of Friendly Plastic Blog (run by my friend Linda Peterson) for Jana’s method. Jana may have more success with reconditioning because she primarily works flat pieces and covers them with Envirotex Lite (2 part epoxy resin) which provides a tough coating that protects the Friendly Plastic from snapping. So if you like to work flat things then try something simple with your snappers that only requires arranging colourful pieces of FP and heating them with a heat gun or a dry griddle (See the video short on heating methods in the side bar of this blog) until they meld together. Do not be tempted to manipulate them or they will stick to everything in sight and then suddenly go hard and brittle. You can tell if you have a snapper by the way it feels when you cut it, and when you heat it it will remain hard until the last possible moment and then it goes really soft and sticky, even in hot water.
The best thing to start out your explorations in Friendly Plastic are some instructions (the DVDs are the best way to go as there is nothing quite like being show how to do something, either that or my book Friendly Plastic for Starters), and a stock of Friendly Plastic. The tools you choose to buy depend on what you already have at home. I use a needle tool, a non stick mat, a rubber mat, a ball ended embossing tool, strong scissors and aluminium foil plus tome sugar craft cutters. When you have had time to try things out you will find out what works for you and how you might like to use Friendly Plastic in your work; then is the time to invest in the kit that will allow you to do what you want. It is at that point that I would add in transfer foils (the ones I use and sell I know work really well, but there are some out there that are not designed for such low temperature and pressure applications, so experiment first), Rub n Buff and all manner of colouring mediums including alcohol inks, pigment powders, metal flake and permanent pens. I also have a collection of stamps and dedicated bits of kit like my Tubeads tools. I do have two starter packs on the web site for those who do not have any appropriate tools or materials.
Finishing off Items
Anything that is to be worn or touched a lot needs a protective coating. Precisely which one depends on what the item to be coated is. Flat items that require a high gloss finish, or ones that have been set in metal bezels like the Amate Jewellery blanks benefit from Envirotex Lite 2 part resin, or MagicGlos which is a UV cured resin that is particularly useful for one-off items.3D items like beads or boxes, can be sprayed or painted with clear acrylic sealants available in DIY and craft stores.