Friday, February 8, 2013

Doodling With a Soldering Iron.

The other night while sitting in my little 'nest', surrounded by the tools and equipment I have collected over the years, I found myself wondering what would happen if I applied the tip of a hot soldering iron to a chunk of polystyrene. Well, did, and something AMAZING happened! As the tip of the soldering iron hit the polystyrene, it instantly melted away with a lovely crackling sound, allowing me to carve very delicate designs into the surface with ease. Now I know after reading this you will instantly begin digging through the tools in the garage and hunting through your house for bits of polystyrene.  However, please be warned, it does give off a particularly evil smell, which I would think is very toxic, so please wear a mask and only try this in an extremely well ventilated area.  I wouldn't want any of you to be overcome with fumes, and be found unconscious in your small craft studio, because of me. Also, the soldering iron can get very hot, so don't burn yourself, and have a fire proof surface to put it on when you are not using it, or if you have switched it off and are letting it cool down.  There are probably some better/safer heating tools available  which are made for this sort of thing, if you do a search online.

Anyway...the possibilities?  Well you could make these into stamps of course, but you could also use them in mixed media artworks as interesting surfaces to cover with paint, tissue paper and glue, glitter, all sorts of things. You could also make some interesting sculptures or decorations using the different 3D shapes you find at the art/craft shop. This is only the beginning...I'm going to take this further, so watch this space.

Have you tried this technique before? Do you have any more ideas for possible uses in art/craft? Please share in the comments below.

Happy experimenting!


  1. this is a GOOD thing ! I don't have one but I could use my wood burner the same way. I am thinking all those meat packaging trays.
    thanks for good ideas

    1. Yes good idea about the meat packaging trays, Melody. Just make sure you do it somewhere very well ventilated, like outside :) Show me your experiments on facebook if you make some!

  2. The smoke from polystyrene is hideously toxic! Please be careful, it can kill. Cool idea, though :)

    1. Yes, it is probably best to do it outside, and with a good ventilation mask on.


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