Designer Christmas Trees


Category: clear acrylic
 

It’s official -  Tree Dressing Day falls next weekend, the first in December.  The tradition is based on old customs from all over the world and is much more than an expression of a love for trees.  While trees have long been celebrated for their spiritual significance, dressing a tree is a way of bringing people together, to create and share memories and to reflect upon our social and cultural history.

Latest research figures show that around half of British households will be dressing an artificial tree this year.  Whether chosen because they have improved in appearance, are cheaper in cost or are considered greener, artificial tree popularity continues to grow.   It seems that the traditional choice of a real Christmas tree is thawing this year.

We all have individual variations and preferences of our traditions, and create new ones with our friends and family.  This year we’ll be sharing stories with colleagues while we celebrate with a tree made by our very own plastic people.

Christmas Tree made from clear acrylic

What do you think ?

clear acrylic Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree made from clear acrylic by The Plastic People

We have used clear as glass acrylic with polished edges.  Look carefully and you might even see our plastic man in the baubles!   We’d love to hear your thoughts about more contemporary tree vs traditional– do let us know what you think.

spot our Plastic Man in the bauble on our clear acrylic Christmas Tree

 

 

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Can Acrylic Be Used Instead of Glass ?


Category: Recycle
 

Acrylic is a clear, glass-like plastic with properties that make it a better choice for many projects and purposes that might otherwise use glass.  Those properties are:

  1. Super strength – acrylic is 17x stronger than glass making it considerably more impact resistant and safer
  2. Crystal clear -  92% of visible light can pass through acrylic. Acrylic remains clear compared to very thick glass which has a green tint to it
  3. Weather proof – it is a myth that acrylic yellows or breaks down when in sunshine over a long period of time (it is cheap plastic which does that)
  4. It insulates better than glass – using it as glazing can potentially reduce your heating bills
  5. Lightweight – acrylic is only half as heavy as glass which makes it easier to work with, and indeed a better choice for projects if weight is an issue
  6. Easy to cut – acrylic can be sawed, whereas glass must be scored
  7. Easy to bend and shape – acrylic can be shaped and made into structures without seams
  8. Looks like new – acrylic can remain new looking for several decades, regardless of age or exposure to sun.  Scratches can be buffed out  – unlike glass – and edges polished to a high shine for that brand new look.

Spotting any difference in appearance is tricky – can you see any ?  For more information or advice about acrylic the friendly team at The Plastic People are on hand to help. Contact them here.

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How To Clean Perspex


Category: Recycle, Working with acrylic
 

There are a few proper methods for cleaning acrylic or Perspex – the popular clear plastic alternative to glass. The method you choose will depend on the state of your acrylic. Dirty acrylic which looks a bit dull will benefit from everyday cleaning. Really dirty or damaged acrylic will need more intensive cleaning. Learn more about both ways and how to do them below.

 Everyday Cleaning

Start off by wearing cotton gloves and sweep a soft cotton cloth over both sides of your acrylic to wipe away any loose dust or dirt.  If your acrylic is large, it might help to prop it against a wall to do this. Smaller pieces of acrylic can rest on a clean, lint-free surface.  Your choice of cloth is very important for cleaning acrylic – only use a soft cotton cloth or micro-fibre cloth.  Other types of cloth may cause scratches so do stick with soft cotton or micro-fibre. Your choice of cleaner is also very important – only use either hot, soapy water or a special acrylic cleaner (Vuplex for example).  Don’t be tempted to use home glass cleaners or ammonia based products – the chemicals contained in these products will damage and dull your acrylic.

Whether you opt for hot, soapy water or an acrylic cleaner, be gentle and only use light pressure as you wipe. Too much pressure can actually cause scratching.  Use a dry soft cotton cloth to dry off the acrylic. Give it a little buff or polish with this cloth too.

Intensive Cleaning

If your acrylic needs some more advanced cleaning to restore it back to nearly new, there are effective ways.  We use techniques in our plastic business which are effective in restoring acrylic:  scraping, sanding & buffing  and flame polishing. The downside is they are not especially suitaed to beginners because they can cause damage in their process. With a bit of know how, they work well – here’s a bit more about them.

Scraping

Scraping is a good way to remove any machine marks or jagged edges from acrylic.  It can be done with a razor blade or sharp scraping tool (a Stanley knife for example).  Scrape the acrylic by moving  the razor blade or sharp tool from side to side, evenly scraping off excess and scratched acrylic.  Angle your razor blade or tool at 10 degrees to avoid digging into your acrylic. The noise isn’t pleasant but the scraping technique works and prepares acrylic for sanding, buffing and polishing.

Sanding & Buffing

You can remove scratches in acrylic by sanding and buffing. Try buffing first – the scratches may come out and no need to sand your acrylic unnecessarily.

If you are sanding, then sand acrylic like a piece of wood, working across its surface area.  You’ll definitely need a mask for this job as it is a dusty one! Choose 3 types of sandpaper – a coarse one ( 180 grit), a medium one (320 grit) and a light one (600 grit). Start with the coarse sandpaper and work up to the finest.  If your acrylic has deep scratches start off with the coarse 180 sandpaper. If your acrylic has only very light scratches start with the medium 320 grit.  Keep your sander moving at all times to avoid heat build up.  As you work use a soft cotton cloth to remove debris to prevent any scratching.  Acrylic starts to soften at 80 degrees so it is important to keep it cool while you work. Water, water mist or soluble oils (oil in water emulsions) are good for this job.

You will notice the sanding process leaves your acrylic with a matt finish.  You can bring back the glossy shine by buffing.  If you’re giving it a go, clamp your acrylic so it doesn’t move. Choose an acrylic polish to help as you buff (Vuplex for example). Buff until the polish clears on the acrylic.

Flame Polishing

Flame polishing is a fast, steady process. It is a great way to produce those smooth, glossy edges that acrylic is so famous for.  You will need a hydrogen-oxygen torch with either a number 4 or 5 tip.  Guide the flame over your acrylic edges, heating them with a swift motion. Getting this right can be tricky – moving too slowly or closely to the acrylic will make it stress and you’ll see bubbles appear in the acrylic.  Also watch out for overheating the acrylic which will melt it.  Producing clean, glossy edges is an amazing result – if your edges still look matt after you’ve flame polished you may have gone too fast. Wait for your acrylic to cool down and give it another go.

For any further help or advice, our friendly team of plastic experts are only a call or email away.

 

 

 

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How To Restore The Shine To Acrylic


Category: clear acrylic, Working with acrylic
 

If you’ve bought acrylic which has since started to lose its shine, read our simple steps to learn how to polish your plastic back to a gleam.

You can restore the glossy look of your acrylic by flame polishing thin sheets of acrylic (4mm thick and under) and sanding/buffing thicker acrylic sheets. We have information explaining these methods here.

For those who want a less labour intensive way, try Vuplex polish which we have tried and tested on acrylic to the satisfaction of our plastic experts.  It’s great for at home use because in minutes one use of Vuplex provides safe cleaning and protection from break down of clarity  as well as restoring that high shine.   

Find out more about Vuplex here.  Contact any of our friendly team for advice about plastic. We’re happy to help.

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How To Remove Scratches From Plastic


Category: clear acrylic, coloured acrylic, Recycle, Working with acrylic
 

If you have ever wanted to know how to remove scratches from plastic read guidance from our team of plastic experts, below. The methods are tried and tested.

It’s important to know what type of plastic is scratched before you start. If it is a coated plastic,  scratches will not come out.  If the plastic is clear it is likely to be either acrylic or polycarbonate which are the two most popular clear plastics. Scratches can be removed more successfully from acrylic than polycarbonate. Once polycarbonate is scratched it is not really possible to remove scratches.    If it is a coloured plastic, check if it is coloured acrylic. If it is either clear or coloured acrylic the scratch can probably be removed.

If the scratch is a deep one (eg. it would catch your finger should you rub it over the scratch) then it is unlikely to come out. But smaller, surface scratches can be fairly easily polished out.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Rub the scratch with some wet and dry paper of 600 grade, using some water. Don’t worry if your Acrylic turns frosted and seems to get lots of little scratch marks – this is normal and they will disappear later
  2. Swap to grade 800 wet and dry paper and carry on gently rubbing the scratch for a minute
  3. Continue rubbing for another minute using wet and dry paper grade 1200
  4. Finally, clean and dry the area you should see it looks frosty. Use Brasso to buff and remove this frost effect.

Your acrylic should now look like it has never been scratched.

Alternatively use a scratch removing product especially developed for plastics.  We have tried and tested Xerapolwhich is a specialist acrylic scratch remover originally designed for industrial use.

Xerapol can be used to remove scratches from acrylic

For further help contact The Plastic People team of experts.

 

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