Monday, 26 January 2015

Coolmorph Trial and Review

 I was very lucky to be sent a trial pack of Coolmorph a thermoplastic polymer with a low melting point. It has taken me a while to try it but my daughter keeps trying to pinch my beautiful pair of Otter Strange horns which are made of glass, I would be devastated if she were to break them. So I thought I would try and make her some plastic ones. However she decided that she would rather have a unicorn horn. This is how my first try went ... I hope you find it helpful.  

Pellets in warm tap water
I read the instructions which state that the pellets will melt in hot tap water. As you can see they did join together but were in no way moldable. I thought perhaps I had left them sitting around unused for too long and now they were bad but I was wrong. 
Definitely not moldable

I boiled the kettle and added the boiling water to the bowl, they melted instantly and compacted together. Be careful though the water is boiling so be sure to scoop it out with a spoon. Once it is out of the water the plastic isn't too hot to handle and feels very rubbery.

Ready to mold

It is quite tricky to sculpt with the melted pellets, they like to stretch in odd places and not stay in the shape that you would like them to but with a little practise I managed to get a horn shape and holes for the elastic either side. You have a few minutes where the coolmorph is very soft and squishy but as it cools it does get harder to shape. If you are not happy with it you can simply pop it back in the hot water and it will get softer again.

It also sticks to nail varnish so I wouldn't recommend using it if you are worried about ruining your nails! I think it would also stick to rubber gloves too. 

Once you are happy with your shape you can put it into a bowl of very cold water and the plastic sets very hard!

Setting in cold water

To make the holes for the ribbon I tried to use the end of a wooden paint brush but the Coolmorph just stuck to it and became tacky. I then tried a metal ball tool from my clay and that worked perfectly although it is fiddly to make holes. If you were making a bigger figure it might be better to make smaller bits and add them onto the sides rather than making them in one piece the way that I did. My daughter did like the white, which is the colour that the Coolmorph will naturally set at if you do not colour it but she decided that she would like it blue and yellow.

It took around two minutes to go completely hard.

Set into a horn

Even after you have set it in cold water you can simply pop it back into the hot water and remelt it to start all over again. With the kettle reboiled the coolmorph once again melted instantly.


You can purchase colour packs for the Coolmorph which go with the pellets, however I did not want to buy them until I was sure that I would use the product again. I decided to use poster paints, they are very messy so be prepared for them to go everywhere! I simply added a little dry powder to the melted plastic and folded in.

folding in poster paint
The poster paints make the plastic hard to handle, it does not like to stick to itself the way that the uncoloured plastic did, it seemed as though the powder dried out the plastic but it is still very usable and you can always pop it back into the water to melt it a little again however you will lose a little of the colour in the water. It also got some air bubbles in from folding in the colours but you can squeeze the plastic to get them out before it sets.

Finished Unicorn horn
 Be aware that any of the plastic that does not have colour in it will set white! I missed a few spots in my eagerness to get the right shape but I think that this adds a nice effect and you can see the swirls inside the plastic more than you would with solid colour so it really depends on your preference.

second try
 My son decided that he would like one too so he chose his colours, green and gold. I made it in exactly the same way but with a little more plastic pellets so that it would be thicker.

finished items
As you can see I only used around 1/3 of the trial pack that they sent (25g in the trial pack I believe) so it really does go a long way. 

Once they are set they are very strong. I tried dropping them on the floor and bashing them on the side of the table and they didn't break or scratch, they have a little bend to them which is perfect for the kids because they won't be able to break them. However because they are hard they will only be able to wear them when supervised, I would hate them to get in someones eye it would be sore!

I had a lot of fun experimenting with Coolmorph. I can see it will be great for the kids cosplay and for horns, claws etc for my other creations. As I work mainly in small items I can see this pack lasting a little while longer but would be more than happy to pay the price that they are asking for more.

I would like to try it with the children and see what they come out with because it is a relatively clean and tidy craft that they would enjoy and the only real risk is in the hot water but that is easy enough to do for them.  It is a lot like Plasticine or even polymer clay only the final creation is a lot less breakable.

I will definitely be using this product again and would recommend it if you have a clear idea of what you would like to make, because of the limited time that you have to mold your creation. You do not have long to work on it if you wanted a highly detailed end product and every time you melt it back down you are essentially starting from scratch.

It is certainly a lot of fun especially as there is no wastage, if you don't like what you have made just start again! I think with some practice I could make some interesting creations.

I hope that if you decide to give it a go you have fun! Please share your experiences in the comments if you do. xxx

This is my smallest Webbling wearing his Unicorn horn which he really loves and below is my big Webbling who wants to wear her horn everyday from now on. A big success I think!

Samantha xxx