How to melt plastic pellets to make jewellery

Updated February 21, 2017

Meltable plastic pellets are a craft device designed to give home craft makers the ability to sculpt with real, firm plastic as if it were clay and create permanent plastic creations. For jewellery makers who like the flexibility of clay but would prefer a more durable, kid-safe medium, plastic pellets are ideal for the creation of beads, pendants and earrings. Use plastic pellets to create designs of any shape you like and combine them with paint and jewellery findings for a wide variety of designs.

Fill a mug with water. Leave about 5 cm (2 inches) of space at the top of the mug to allow room for the plastic pellets.

Pour some plastic pellets into the mug. Add as much plastic as you think you'll need for the project, or as much as you can at the moment while still leaving about 1.27 cm (half an inch) of space for the water to boil.

Heat the mug in the microwave. Set the microwave to “high” and cook for 1 ½ to 2 minutes (depending on the heat of your microwave). Pull out the mug to check on it (exercise caution as it will be very hot); if the plastic appears completely clear inside the water, it's fully melted. If any portion of it is still white and opaque, heat for another 30 seconds.

Work with the melted plastic. Wet your hands thoroughly with cold water (this will protect them from scalding). Scoop out the plastic lump using a fork. Touch it lightly with your fingertips to make sure it's cool enough to handle. If not, wait a few seconds, dip your hands in water, and try again. As soon as you can comfortably handle the plastic, work with it as if it were clay. Place any portion you're not handling back in the hot water to keep it soft.

Form jewellery pieces. Make small shapes, either flat or three-dimensional. Roll clay into balls for beads. Make stringing holes using a wet needle (a dry needle may stick to the plastic).

Add other jewellery fixtures. While the plastic is still soft, add any additional decorative items to the plastic, such as cabochons, rhinestones or even small photographs.

Tend the plastic as it cools to hardness. If your shapes are three-dimensional and have some height to them, they may sag before they harden if left to sit. Counteract this by holding the plastic in your hand as it cools, moving it around and reforming the shape with your hands; this will only take a few minutes.

Paint the hardened plastic. Use an acrylic or enamel paint that will stay in place and give the finished product a shine.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee mug
  • Microwave
  • Fork
  • Rhinestones, beads or cabochons
  • Acrylic or enamel paint
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About the Author

Lauren Vork has been a writer for 20 years, writing both fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in "The Lovelorn" online magazine and Vork holds a bachelor's degree in music performance from St. Olaf College.