How to Make an Imitation Painted Glass Pendant from Food Packaging

Imitation plate glass can be made by putting the properties of unwanted Polystyrene packaging to good use. You don't need to worry about how good you are with painting; this project of making a pretty little pendant is simple and achievable for any level of craftsperson. It's also budget-friendly and fun to make.


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    The symbol to look for
    Check the label of the packaging to ensure that you are using type PS6, which is polystyrene material.
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      The packaging used for this project. In this case it is a clear lid off a container but you could also use a disposable plate, or other polystyrene product with the right label on it.
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    Draw your design or picture on a flat part of the Polystyrene.
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      Continue with the whole design but don't go out to the edges; this part is going to shrink.
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      Aim to alternate some of the the colors on separate sides of the plastic.
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      Also do the outlining on the opposite side of the plastic.
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      In doing so, you will get a lovely stereoscopic effect. And that can prevent the marker dye transfer.
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    Cut around the design. Cut with care so as to leave smooth edges. Leave an uncolored, plain edge space with no design (unlike the image here) to allow for shrinkage.
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    Create a hole in the part of the item that you'd like to be the "top" of the pendant. Use a simple hole punch to achieve this.
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    Use crumpled, recycled aluminum foil to line an oven tray. Preheat an oven or toaster oven to 325°.
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      Place the plastic design onto the foil and put into the oven when the temperature is hot. Wear oven mitts for this step and the following step.
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    Watch it shrink. Careful! This will happen very quickly so do not leave it unattended. When it shrinks as wished, remove it with tongs or chopsticks. Place the hot plastic pendant onto a ceramic plate to cool.
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    Wait for it cool down. Once cooled, use as a pendant, keyring, or anything else you think it'd look good as.
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      The finished design.


  • If you don't have an oven, you can use a portable electric griddle instead.
  • Another decorative idea is to trace a picture of anime characters onto the plastic.

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    This shows a bent form, that could be a ring. If you want to make a ring, form the ring shape by folding the heated plastic around a cylinder of wood (such as a piece of dowel). Be sure to wear mitts as you do this! And as with nail art, you can paint it delicately and decorate it even more effusively.
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    The image shown in the introduction shows the addition of a small keyring link chain. That can be a neat way of turning this into a keyring, cell phone jewelry, or similar item.
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  • Ventilation is crucial when working with plastics and heat. Always be well prepared in advance of working with the project.
  • Take care to avoid oven burns.
  • When using plastics other than "PS", harmful vapors can sometimes be given off when heated. The physical properties are also different, so be careful and avoid substituting the plastic type.
  • This work has an affinity for ingredients like orange peel; it may dissolve if it comes into contact with citrus.

Things You'll Need

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    Polystyrene plate or packaging (must be Polystyrene #PS6 type); note that it shrinks about 1/5th during heating
  • Oily marker
  • Aluminum foil
  • Puncher
  • Scissors
  • Chopsticks
  • Ceramic plate
  • Oven

Sources and Citations

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