How to Bend a Plastic Sheet

Written by kate kotler
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How to Bend a Plastic Sheet
Use a strip heater to help you bend plastic sheeting. (propane heater image by FXTW from Fotolia.com)

Plastic becomes pliable with the application of heat. With the assistance of a strip heater and clamps, you can bend a sheet of plastic for use in craft and construction projects. You can find all the items you need at most hardware stores to complete a simple, straight-line bend on a plastic sheet.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Permanent marker
  • 2 flame-retardant saw horses
  • 2 clamps
  • Strip heater
  • Heavy cotton safety gloves

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Mark the location where you want to bend your plastic sheet, using a permanent marker to make a light tic at either edge of the line.

  2. 2

    Position the plastic sheet so that the area you will bend is between two flat, flame-retardant surfaces, like saw horses. Secure the sheet in place by using clamps on both ends.

  3. 3

    Put on cotton safety gloves.

  4. 4

    Position a strip heater at the recommended safe distance from the plastic, as directed by the manufacturer.

  5. 5

    Heat the plastic until it begins to sag away from the heating element. Remove the clamps, while still wearing your safety gloves.

  6. 6

    Manipulate the edges of the plastic, carefully with gloved hands, until you achieve the degree of bend you desire.

  7. 7

    Clamp the hot plastic into place and leave it for 24 hours to cool fully.

Tips and warnings

  • Plastic sheets thicker than 3/16 inch need to be heated on each side to achieve a proper bend.
  • More intricate projects involving multiple bends require specialised skill and tools.
  • Do not use a strip heater around flammable products like paint thinner and gasoline.
  • Do not use a strip heater without wearing protective gloves and clothing.
  • Do not leave children unsupervised near this project.

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