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October 12, 2010

Making Bio-Plastics AT Home!

Yesterday we went with our homeschooling group to a local pumpkin festival. It was fun! The kids do crafts, play on the playground, and participate in the scavenger hunt. The best part was that the things we did were FREE! There were ride and other games to do that cost money, but we decided that we weren't buying tickets and that we would only participate in the free activities.

One of the crafts the kids did was make this biodegradable plastic "stuff".  They call it bio-plastic. When it's done it is kind of this rubbery stuff. We weren't able to mold it, shape it into a ball, while it was still warm. We didn't even realized that once cooled it would pretty much be this hard, rubber, plastic stuff. So if you want to try to shape or mold it you have to do that while it's still WARM!

To make this bio-plastic you need water, corn oil, corn starch. Food coloring is optional, although it nice to make things in color!

  1. Place a tablespoon of cornstarch in a plastic ziploc bag
  2. Add two drops of corn oil to the cornstarch
  3. Add one tablespoon of water to the oil and cornstarch.
  4. Mix the cornstarch, corn oil, and water in the plastic bag by rubbing the outside of the bag with your fingers
  5. Add two drops of your favorite food coloring and mix again
  6. Place the bag in a microwave oven on high for 20-25 seconds. DO NOT completely seal the bag. Careful, it's hot!
It is very warm-hot when it comes out of the microwave so be careful with it. However keep in mind that if you want to mold and shape it you have to do that while it's still warm-hot. 

This is something the kids can very easily do, but because it does get hot I would advise that it is done with adult supervision. Just because of the risk of getting hurt with the stuff as it comes out of the microwave.  Once it's cool it's fine!

Edit Add: We just discovered that you can use vegetable oil instead of corn oil. 

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