Did you know you can mold acrylic with heat? That might not be of that much of a shock to you, but how about the fact that you can do it with a heat gun or even your own oven? Yep! Acrylic starts to soften at only 320F, which means you can heat it in your oven or with a heat gun and mold it into various shapes! Naturally I had to play around with this technique and my Glowforge. So I cut out a few scalloped pieces and got to work turning them into jewelry dishes, fruit bowls, and mini planters! So many possibilities!
Materials to make heat formed acrylic bowls:
- Cut Acrylic in your desired shapes (I used a scallop shape)
- Heat gun or oven
- Heat proof bowl (something that won’t crack when it gets hot)
- Pot holder
- Gold paint pen for rim (optional)
I tried my hand at a few small bowls using acrylic cut to about 6″ in diameter, and it worked great with the heat gun. This larger piece, althrough photographed with the heat gun, required a little oven action to get uniformly hot and pliable.
Begin by placing your acrylic piece over a bowl that you want to use as your mold. Then either slowly run your heat gun over the surface for a few minutes until it starts to heat up and become pliable. You will just need to test it every few minutes to see if it has heated up enough by pressing down on the acrylic using the pot holder (don’t burn yourself!).
For the larger acrylic piece, place the bowl and acrylic in the oven and heat for 5-10 minutes. Check every few minutes and remove when it starts to get soft. Once the acrylic is pliable, remove the bowl from the oven. Then use the pot holder to press down into the center of the acrylic to mold it into the bowl shape.
You may need to stick it back in the oven to heat again if you aren’t able to fully mold it in one pass. As the acrylic will harden again as it cools. Once you have it molded to your liking, remove the acrylic from the bowl. You can now paint the rim gold. Another option (as I did on this clear bowl) is to paint the back with acrylic paint.
It’s almost like adult shrinky dinks! Now I am trying to think up other ways I can mold the acrylic! Maybe a cake server? Give me all your ideas for how you would mold acrylic with heat!