Friendly Plastic Beads in the Shape of a Poppy Flower

Friendly Plastic Poppy Beads“Seeing lots of different ideas can trigger the imagination
and get you to consider something which you might otherwise ignore.” ~Sue-F

Awhile ago I was chatting away on Twitter with Becky Finch from AMACOCrafts (you know… the company that makes the pasta machines, tri-bead rollers and bead baking racks). She asked if I was interested in testing out their Friendly Plastic product.

The last time I had played with this stuff was way back in the 80’s. So I thought it would be fun to give it another go. Plus, it’s always a fun to try and come up with creative ways to combine other mediums with polymer clay.

Friendly Plastic StripsAny way, Becky so kindly sent me some of the colorful strips of plastic to see what I might come up with it.

It is a completely different product than polymer clay to work with. The material comes in long thin strips (2″ x 6″) of semi hard plastic in lots of pretty metallic colors and patterns. It is easily cut with scissors and it is manipulated and formed by using low heat to soften it.

Heat guns, griddles, boiling water, toaster oven or even a coffee cup warmer can be used to melt it and get it to stick to each other. You can layer it, ink it, embed it in resin, form it and do all sorts of other cool things.

After playing around with the strips for a bit, I ended up making a trio of Friendly Plastic Poppy Beads (see photo at top of this page), using a similar but modified technique to the one I teach for making Polymer Clay Poppy Beads. Even used the same Studio by Sculpey Style and Detail Tools to form the basic poppy flower shape.

Although this Friendly Plastic took a bit of getting used for me, as compared to my polymer clay, I found that it has a lot of potential. The things people are doing with it has come a long ways since the 80’s!

I’ve got some more ideas rolling around in my head for combining it with polymer clay, so when I do come up with something, I’ll certainly let you know. Thank you Becky for the opportunity to stretch my mind a little.

So have any of you guys ever worked with Friendly Plastic? Have you ever tried combining it with polymer clay in any way? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Maureen G, 08 November, 2009

    Gee, I had completely forgotten about Friendly Plastic until you just brought it back to me! I have worked with it, probably it was in the 80’s! I might still have a few strips laying around in some plastic storage case somewhere around here…lol. I made earrings and pins with it at the time. I used to try every new thing that came on the market, probably like most of you on Cindy’s site! I think I had gone to a craft show and saw it demonstrated, that’s what got me into it. Maybe I’ll give it another look. Is it selling in stores again? Different and improved from the 80’s plastic? I don’t think I’ve seen it in years (maybe because I only go to the jewelry and PC rows in the stores…lol). Thanks Cindy, for reminding me of an old memory I had forgotten.

  2. Maureen G, 08 November, 2009

    By the way…your poppy beads are very cute!! Did you find it easier or not than PC when making the poppies as far as shaping and keeping the shape?

  3. Elizabeth S., 08 November, 2009

    Boy, you learn something new every day from this site. I have never heard of this product. I googled Friendly Plastic, Maureen, and supposedly Hobby Lobby carries it. I must admit that although the Friendly Plastic poppies are cute as a button I like the ones you made using PC more, but that is just a personal preference. I would love to see what creations you come up with combining the two products, Cindy, but would not want to move too far away from pure PC tutorials. I have so much to learn!!!

  4. Anna Sabina, 08 November, 2009

    PC SALE ALERT >>> PC is on sale at Michael’s 4 for $5.00.

    I agree with Elizabeth in not moving too far from pure PC tutorials. I think he wire work tutorials fit in well with the PC tutorials. Not so sure about this friendly plastic, seems to be a completely different direction.

  5. Melinda, 08 November, 2009

    I have never heard of it… of course in the 80’s I was more interested in crayons and markers then craft products.

    However, the first thing that comes to mind…. dragon wings…. always trying to find a better, harder, more resistant to breakage wing for my dragons…. might have to try it out!

  6. Cheryl, 08 November, 2009

    Hi Cindy

    The flowers are cute but I still prefer polymer clay.

  7. Claycass, 08 November, 2009

    I have a handful of stripes in my garage. When many of the major craft stores stopped carrying Friendly Plastic the crafters who used it faded away. I did notice that the Amaco still had it in their catalog. I was on vacation in New Orleans and ran into an artist who was exceptional with the stuff. Oscar of New Orlean –

  8. Cindy Lietz, 08 November, 2009

    Great feedback EVERYONE!

    Melinda – Your idea makes me think of other ways that the Friendly Plastic could be used in ways where you might want a part that is thin but still very strong. Bails maybe? Who knows. I’ve also thought it could work some way with a faux dichroic glass technique or something. There is the issue of the low melting point of the FP but maybe if the clay was baked separately first then combined with the FP, something might work. Love it when the creative wheels start turning!!!

    To answer your question Maureen, I wouldn’t say it was easier to make the beads with Friendly Plastic Polymer Clay but since it doesn’t need to be baked, it is definitely faster. The feel is quite different and each material has it’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Thank you everyone for your feedback. How you feel about the ideas I present here at the blog is always important to me!

    The Mixed Media Artist in me means, I’m always looking for creative ways that different materials can be combined with polymer clay to make it even more exciting and versatile. Keep the ideas and comments coming… you all are playing a huge role in making this site into an inspiring resource for everyone who visits!

  9. Peggy, 08 November, 2009

    Hi Everyone, Friendly Plastic you can go to Amaco’s web site and find free videos and also go to youtube last but deffinately not least Linda Peterson has done a lot with Friendly Plastic for Amaco. Go to for even more information. You can get the colored strips like Cindy showed or white small pellets melt them and even use them in Amaco’s bead rollers. Color them about the same way you do polymer clay, inks, metallic powders, chalks etc. I have done some work with it have the pellets and strips. I will admit it is fun but polymer clay is still # 1 with me. I think everyone will agree it is fun but polymer just can’t be beat. Thanks for even more great info Cindy.

  10. Ritzs, 08 November, 2009

    well sorry Cindy but not for me only PC and wire i love it

  11. Becky Finch, 09 November, 2009

    Thanks so much for taking the time to try out the Friendly Plastic material! It’s always great to see everyone’s different application of this product, which shows the versatility, flexibility, and ease of using this product. We encourage all your “followers” to check this out for themselves. We have many projects on our website, and hopefully we’ll see this project there soon too!

  12. Beth Parker, 20 November, 2009

    I’ve never used it but I have a small box of it that came with a box of craft supplies I got at an auction. I’ve been holding on to it but I really don’t know what to do with it.

  13. Ruby Kenney, 31 December, 2009

    I purchased Belle Armoire Jewelry Winter 2010 magazine and there is an article entitled “An Inspired ID-ea by Jana Ewy who works with friendly plastic, you should check this issue out, her work is outstanding.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 03 January, 2010

    Thank you everyone for your comments!

    That article sounds intriguing Ruby, thanks for letting me know about that. Jana does beautiful work and it will be fun to see what she has made for the magazine!

  15. Phaedrakat, 01 April, 2010

    I also have some of this stuff sitting around with some extra crafting supplies. I bought it on clearance years ago. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it looked interesting and was dirt-cheap. I did finally check-out the website, and saw some cute projects. The jewelry projects I was interested in require resin for strength, so I really need to get with the program and learn to use resin. I’ve been waiting for a Cindy-tute — is there one on the horizon?

  16. Cindy Lietz, 04 April, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: Hopefully I will have a resin tute ready for the next month or so. I’ll start posting about it soon. :-)

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