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Bioplastic creation is fun for both adults and children. It can be tricky sometimes, but you will learn through your mishaps with a bit of experimentation and perseverance. These ornaments are a great place for beginners to start Bioplastic exploration.
- 1/2 cup powdered gelatin (1 part powdered gelatin to 4 parts boiling water)
- 2 cups boiling water (1 part powdered gelatin to 4 parts boiling water)*
- Nature treasures (leaves, pine needles, dried flowers and lichen all work well)
- Bio glitter, normal glitter (note that you won’t be able to completely decompose your tree star if you use plastic based glitter) or Autumn Leaf Nature Confetti
- Food coloring and/or natural coloring like Turmeric, paprika or cinnamon
- A shallow tray or several small shallow lids
- Yarn or string for hanging
- Any odds and ends you would like to encase in Bioplastic and hang on your tree
*If you live in a humid climate, use a 3:1 water to gelatin ratio instead to speed drying.
1.) Add your powdered gelatin to boiling water and mix well.
2.) Arrange your nature treasures in the shallow lids and pans and carefully pour a thin layer of Bioplastic over each. You may have to rearrange them a bit after pouring the Bioplastic.
3.) Add in extras like food coloring, natural coloring, bio glitter, and bits of yarn or string if you’d like them to set directly in your ornaments.
4.) After a few hours, your Bioplastic ornaments will be set enough to cut out and add holes with a straw for hanging if you didn’t set string directly in the ornaments.
Cut around each ornament if you used a large tray and set them upside down to continue setting. If structural integrity allows, take ornaments out of small lids and set them upside down to dry as well.
Bring your creations to a cool, dry place to set. We have a dehumidifier running in our art studio to help aid the drying process.
7.) Setting times will vary based on humidity levels, temperature and thickness.
Setting your Bioplastic is a race against mold formation. Thin layers set the quickest. Once your Bioplastic completely hardens it will not be able to grow mold, but you’ll have to help it set as quickly as possible to avoid this.
When it is completely set it will be hard and dry, just like plastic.
Bioplastic often warps while it sets. You can experiment with preventing this by weighing it down while it sets, but this will lengthen the setting process and mold could set in. I prefer to embrace the process and imperfections of the material with my little artists. The “blemishes” make each Bioplastic creation unique and exciting.
I learned everything I know about Bioplastic through experimentation AND from the incredible STEM communicator, @muddly_puddly on Instagram. Find her account and watch her highlights if you are curious to learn more about Bioplastic and all sorts of nature magic at the intersection of Science and Art.
Careful: Bioplastic creations are addicting! Peruse our other Bioplastic projects if you need more inspiration.
Happy creating and happy holidays!