How to Bend Clear Plastic to Form Your Ghost Chair
A ghost chair is one made from clear acrylic plastic. The clear plastic gives the chair the illusion of not being there, hence its name "ghost chair." The acrylic plastic is durable and can withstand the weight of most anyone who sits in the chair. This article will describe how you bend the plastic for your own ghost chair.
Step 1 - Cut the Ghost Chair Design from the Plastic
Using a felt pen or grease pencil, trace the ghost chair design onto the plastic. Take the plastic to a jigsaw. Turn the jigsaw on and cut the chair pattern. Use sandpaper to smooth the edges of the plastic pieces for the ghost chair.
You should now have two pieces to work with. The back of the chair contains the back legs, which remain straight and do not require bending. The other piece consists of the seat and the front legs, which need to be bent in order to form the chair’s shape.
Step 2 - Get a Strip Heater
A strip heater is a device that is used to bend plastic. It is usually a straight element, which is mounted and generates heat. A good strip heater can cost around $200 at a local hardware or home improvement center. If this is a tool you will use a lot, you should purchase one. If not, inquire about renting a strip heater. Or you might know someone who will let you borrow a strip heater.
Step 3 - Set Up the Strip Heater
Because the strip heater generates a lot of heat, you should use it in a well-ventilated, open space. Keep the heater away from any materials that may be flammable or could cause a fire hazard. Working outside often presents the best option.
Plug the strip heater in and set the temperature to between low to medium. Do not set the heat to high.
Step 4 - Mark the Plastic for the Bend
Use a pencil to mark the point where you want to bend the front legs of the ghost chair. The marking should be about halfway up from the bottom of the legs.
Find a piece of wood, 2 by 4 inches and long enough to accommodate the plastic below the heater. Use this board as a jig or guide for your bend. Do not place the wood on the heater, as this will cause a fire hazard.
Step 5 - Heat the Plastic
Use the strip heater to heat the plastic. Allow no more than 30 seconds on each side at the bend point. Once you've heated the plastic sufficiently, place it on your jig and bend it down at approximately 90 degrees. Once the plastic cools, you will have a perfect bend for your ghost chair.