To explain if you missed it: The plan was to make paper plate holders. And ugh, this is SO much work! First, you make the material (cutting up plastic bags). Then, you crochet the project. And finally, you get out the iron and turn it into hardened plastic. That's why I figured I'd use my not-a-mistake design to test the material instead of frogging it and making more work for myself. I thought if this didn't come out well, I could always flatten it out and use it as a trivet. But, no. All I got was a big, fat FAIL.
Melting through the plastic is something I usually do right at the beginning, when the iron is set too high. This time, I took my time before I destroyed my work. 😉 With an old wooden plate holder for a form and parchment paper to keep melted plastic off my iron, I got to work "fmelting". One minute... Two minutes... Five minutes... The plastic still wasn't hardening. I set the temperature up. To make a long story shorter, I ended up cranking the heat all the way up after 20 minutes and still-floppy plastic. What refused to harden up before suddenly melted through.
But wait! It gets even better... (That's sarcasm there.) Even though part of the project melted through, other parts of it still wouldn't harden up! Especially around the most important part: The curve that's needed for the shape of a plate holder. The middle of the flat circle did fmelt pretty well. When it came to creating the shape I thought I could make just by melting... Nope, it's not gonna happen this time.
The flat sides of that pentagon-turned-circle started showing badly the more I tried to melt and shape. Parts overlapped the form, and others shrank back from the edge. I saw it happening before that melt-through occurred, and that's why I wasn't worried about ruining it with the high heat. I just wanted to test out the temperature I would need for the following projects.
It might be a big fail, but it was a learning experience. See - I have this all figured out already. 😀 I've fmelted plarn thicker than this before. Why won't this harden up? There's nothing wrong with my iron, is there? (Yes, I burned my finger when I checked the iron for a malfunction. I'll never learn.) And why can't I get it to hold it's shape?
It's either because of the form or the paper. For other fmelted projects, I've used something metal or covered the form in aluminum foil. I jumped into this project with a bare-bones form that might be letting the heat escape. I've also changed part of the method by using parchment paper. I used waxed paper before, but it leaves residue on my iron.
So now the question is: Do I really want to continue with this project? It needs a lot of changes before it will be successful. What did fmelt proves this material is way too thin for it's purpose. Although hardened, it isn't very strong. The material will have to be thicker and the shape has to change. Plus, the curved shape will have to be made through crochet and not by melting. And if parchment paper is part of the problem, then I'll have to use that waxed paper and be forced to scrub the gunk off my iron again.
Now that I've figured out the problem(s), I just have to try again... I'm just not so sure I want to. This is a time-consuming process, and paper plate holders can be bought in sets of eight for $2. I made some extra material ahead of time, but now I know I can't use it for this. Perhaps my time could be better spent turning that material into something a little more successful and practical? Let's not forget the work of cleaning the iron... Okay, all thoughts of future attempts have now been abandoned.