Modernise Your Home with Floating Picture Frames

Category: Working with acrylic

Forget bulky wood or standard standing picture frames. If you’re a fan of clean, modern design, then this is the type of framing that belongs in your home. Floating acrylic picture frames give any space that sleek, art gallery feel, and as designerKenneth Wingard of “Home Made Simple” demonstrates in the above video, they’re surprisingly simple to make yourself.

Pre-cut acrylic sheets can be found at your local craft or hardware store, and once you’ve got that, all you need are a few pieces of hardware, a drill and your favorite photos. (If you make more than one frame, go with with black and white photos for a unified look.)

Preparing the acrylic:

With a ruler, measure 1/2” by 1/2” in from each corner of a sheet of acrylic and mark with a pen. These will be where the screws go.

Place the two sheets of acrylic together and secure with a bar clamp either side of a corner. Position the clamped corner over the edge of your work surface and drill a hole through both sheets of acrylic using the mark from Step 1 as a guide.

Once the first hole is drilled, remove the bar clamps and place them on the next corner. Repeat Step 2 for each corner.

Assembling the frame:

Remove the protective paper from both sheets of acrylic and discard.

Add a small piece of acid-free double-sided tape to the back of the photo and center it in the middle of a sheet of acrylic.  Eyeballing the center is fine.

Expert tip: Use acid-free tape so the tape won’t damage the photo over time

Place the second sheet of acrylic over the photo, sandwiching it between the sheets

Take a decorative washer and thread it onto a screw. Pass the screw through the pilot holes on both sheets of acrylic. On the other side of the acrylic, add a 2” metal pipe spacer. Repeat for all for corners.

Mounting the frame:

Decide where you want to hang the frame and hold it up to the wall. Hold one of the 2” spacers flush with the wall and carefully drill the screw into the wall using a drill with a hex bit.

Hold the spacer on the opposite corner up against the wall. Place a level on top of the frame to ensure it’s straight.  Once the frame is level, drill the second screw into the wall.

Finish mounting the frame by drilling the bottom screws into the wall.

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Easy edging – gravel gardens

Category: Recycle
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Secondary Glazing For Listed Buildings

Category: Glazing, Recycle

Listed and historic homes and buildings are typically draughty,  thermally inefficient and with poor acoustic performance.  English Heritage and conservation bodies recognise that such homes and buildings need to adapt to be attractive for homeowners and modern use.  These issues can all be helped with the careful addition of secondary glazing. 

secondary glazing – photo courtesy of customer (The Plastic People)

Secondary glazing involves adding another slim-line window to your existing windows. It is a cost effective and efficient method of insulating & sound proofing your windows – and for listed buildings, the only way to insulate and sound-proof your windows.  In most cases conservation bodies accept secondary glazing as a reversible adaptation.  Ie) it can be removed, if required, at a later date with almost no impact on the original design or fabric of the building apart from repair of fixing holes and some redecoration.

There are many variations of secondary glazing  - hinged, sliding, fixed and lift out.  They will all save energy, reduce heating bills, improve the energy rating and make your home more comfortable.

The Plastic People provides one of the least intrusive secondary glazing options for listed buildings –  lift out secondary glazing which fixes onto existing window frames with magnetic fixings.  You can see it here.

To install secondary glazing yourself, follow these 5 steps

  1. Measure up inside the window panes that you want to secondary glaze.
  2. Go to and order Magnetglaze Quickfit with your window sizes. You’ll get everything you need for your windows –  a correctly sized acrylic glazing pane and black and white magnetic strips which you use to connect the glazing pane to your window.
  3. Cut the white magnetic strip so it fits around the edges of your window frame then stick it to the window frame.
  4. Cut the black magnetic strip so it can be stuck to around the edges of the acrylic pane.
  5. Pick up your new acrylic glazing pane and connect it onto your window the magnetic strips will hold it in place.

If you would like further help or advice, email the friendly team at The Plastic People who will be happy to help.

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The Best Plastic For Catteries and Kennels

Category: Cost of plastic, Office

Pet owners, breeders and commercial catteries/kennels looking for low cost, easy to maintain and high quality materials to use for pet housing should consider polyproplyleneit’s ideal and practical for this purpose say the friendly team at The Plastic People.

While timber animal housing will rot over time, plastic will not.  But not just any plastic – check out polypropylene.

Polypropylene makes an excellent choice for catteries and kennels because it is:

  1. Durable against clawing, scratching and chewing
  2. Hygienic and easy to clean – chemical cleaners can be used on it without any detriment
  3. Long lasting and maintenance free
  4. FDA approved – meaning it will not harbour bacteria
  5.  UV resistant, and also has anti-oxidants to make it strong enough to brave the elements without becoming damaged or rusting.

Other plastics such as Polyethylene  and PVC are used to manufacture catteries and kennels.  Their benefits are not considered as great as polypropylene by The Plastic People.  Polyethylene offers no advantage over polypropylene; in fact it is a slightly softer and more expensive choice.  PVC is a more fragile choice in colder conditions, being prone to breaking.

See details about polypropylene here  or ask the friendly team at The Plastic People.

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The Differences Between Acrylic and Polycarbonate

Category: Polycarbonate, Working with acrylic

Acrylic and polycarbonate are two of the most popular plastics The Plastic People are asked questions about –  specifically what are the differences between acrylic and polycarbonate.  Here are some of the key areas to compare when choosing between acrylic and polycarbonate for your project.  We hope it helps – if you need more advice drop the friendly team at The Plastic People an email.

Strength – which is strongest

Polycarbonate is stronger than acrylic. That aside, both are very strong.

If you are comparing to glass, Acrylic and Polycarbonate are both half the weight of glass and yet both of these plastics are much stronger than glass.  Acrylic has 17 times the impact resistance of glass. Polycarbonate has 250 times the impact resistance of glass.

police riot shield – safe with polycarbonate

Acrylic is very rigid whereas polycarbonate can be bought in flexible grades. Acrylic cracks more easily than polycarbonate under stress.

Light – which has better clarity

Acrylic lets in more light with a light transmittance of 92% compared to  Polycarbonate which has a light transmittance of 88 percent.  That aside, both are used successfully for glazing – for example, polycarbonate is often used in bus shelter glazing as it is so strong and both acrylic and polycarbonate are used for secondary glazing.

secondary glazing – use either acrylic or polycarbonate

Acrylic can be polished to restore its clarity, while polycarbonate cannot.

Working with Acrylic & Polycarbonate

Acrylic can be used at temperatures ranging from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. It may expand and contract with changes in temperature although it won’t permanently shrink over time.

Polycarbonate can handle temperatures up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit. Polycarbonate is also highly resistant to chemicals such as gasoline and acids.

Which is easier to cut

Both acrylic and polycarbonate can be cut with conventional tools such as saws or routers, though acrylic cuts easier than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate fights the initial push of a saw or router at the start of a cut.

Which is easier to drill

Acrylic will crack if it is drilled near an edge or with a drill bit not designed for plastic. Polycarbonate typically does not crack when being drilled even if drilled close to the edge with a standard drill bit.

Which polishes up better

The edges of acrylic can be polished smooth and to a high shine. Polycarbonate cannot be polished.

polished acrylic table

Which is easier to bend 

Heat bending works better with acrylic than polycarbonate. Polycarbonate can be cold formed or bent without heating.

Which is easier to glue

Gluing with cements designed for acrylic and polycarbonate, acrylic gives a cleaner glue joint than polycarbonate.

Which is easier to keep clean

Both acrylic and polycarbonate are easy to clean. The best choice for cleaning is a micro fibre or 100% cotton cloths (no other types!).

Acrylic should only be cleaned with warm soap water or an acrylic cleaner.  Chemicals should never be used on acrylic.

Polycarbonate has a higher chemical resistance than acrylic; it can be cleaned by harsher cleaners containing chemicals such as ammonia.

Neither plastic should be cleaned with solvents.

Which is more durable

Both acrylic and polycarbonate are weather resistant and expand and contract with temperature changes without long-term or permanent shrinkage.

Both acrylic and polycarbonate can scratch, so avoid touching them with anything made from abrasive binding agents.

Acrylic is more likely to chip than polycarbonate because it is less impact-resistant. It does not scratch as easily, however, and will not yellow over time.

Polycarbonate has low flammability, while acrylic will burn slowly and is not recommended in areas where flames may be present.

Which is cheaper

Acrylic is cheaper to than Polycarbonate.

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