From Milk Jugs to Marble Art!

Well not exactly milk jugs…

The goal of this upcycle project is to create vibrant art pieces that you would want to hang on your wall, all for the low price of some milk jugs or buckets. What I will be melting down is HDPE plastic, or High Density Polyethylene. You can find this plastic in every day milk jugs. You recycle them anyways so why not make some art?

Unfortunately it can be difficult to get the the really bright and clean colors from milk jugs, so what I will be using are colored five gallon buckets.

The pattern created from melting down this plastic is very reminiscent of marble art as shown above. You know? When you made a mess in your kindergarten art class by putting marbles in a box with some paint and shook it around. That’s the kind of pattern this will make. The swirling colors make for a really neat aesthetic, but I want to explore this aesthetic even further. I’m going to select my colors to be really bright red and white to make a nice peppermint candy effect similar to the one in the featured image.

The first step in making this wall ornament will be to cut up some plastic. Then melt it down in the oven. I will be using a brownie tray as it gives me the depth that I would want to create the thickness of my part.

After the plastic is melted down it will have to be clamped with some plywood and let sit overnight. The plywood is to prevent the plastic from warping while it is curing. Afterwards a simple sanding and polishing will give it a nice shine and bring out the colors.

From this point the block can be left as an art piece, or can go on to become other things! This material makes for great blanks for machining or crafting. It can be made into anything from a bowl to a slingshot.

I currently have my material, still need to cut it up and melt it down. Once its finished I’m sure it will be a great piece to brighten up the room!


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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Ryan Yankowsky
    February 8, 2016 12:27 pm

    Again great use of recycled plastics, would like to see a large piece, 5X5 or something, with that much room one could fit tons of design cue, would make great cutting boards too!

  • Ryan Yankowsky
    February 7, 2016 2:05 pm

    Great use of used plastic to create lively wall art, have you considered shaping or molding the material when it is still hot/warm giving a three dimensional piece, thinking a bust or statue would be an amazing and vibrant piece of art. Or pouring the material into/ over a mold to produce specific designs, I wonder if the color swirls would be affected. Great idea and great work.

  • That is a fun idea. I have never seen anything like it. I’m curious how rigid the plastic is when finished and what else could be made out of it. If it was really thin could it be a colorful (read groovy) nightlight or something like that? Great idea.

  • Meridith Richter
    January 31, 2016 2:18 pm

    Very interesting idea to use the melted plastic and make a marbled design out of it. Is there any particular reason you chose to do a red/white peppermint design? Will the final product be a wall-hanging art piece or do you have plans to turn it in to something different? It sounds really neat though, I can’t wait to see it finished.


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