I was recently asked to help make a couple of book cradles for a project that would take place over the next couple of weeks. Not having any real experience in this, I was a little hesitant to agree. Little did I know that it is kind of fun.
Supplies needed include:
- Template (simply drawn on a piece of paper to mark where your bends will be).
- Heat source (we purchased a production heater specifically for bending plexi glass).
- Plexi glass (we are very fortunate to have a local supplier of plexi glass — it feels good to be able to support local businesses).
- If you will be trimming down your plexi, you will also need a plasticutter or a utility knife.
Draw your template and measure the lines to see what length of plexi glass you will need. The width of the plexi should be the height of the book, or slightly larger.
Measure and cut your plexi glass. Throughout the cradle making process, be sure that you are careful and use safety precautions. If the piece you will be snapping off is on the smaller side, be sure to snap it off with a pair of pliers. I did not do this and didn’t end up with a very good break. I also ended up cutting my thumb with a piece of plexi glass. You may want to consider wearing a pair of safety goggles. If you end up with an uneven or bumpy cut, you can easily sand down the cut edge with a piece of sandpaper or a sanding block.
With a marker, mark both edges of the plexi where your bends will be. Ethanol on a cotton swab will remove the marker ink when the cradle is done.
Carefully hold your plexi sheet over the heating element, making sure to line up your marks with the heating rod. Watch the plexi carefully. You will want to notice a little shimmer in the plexi, and this will let you know that it is at a bendable stage. If you hold it on the heat for too long, the plexi glass will start to bubble/blister, and you want to avoid this.
When heated enough, hold the plexi against your template and bend according to the lines of your template. You will need to hold this bend in place for a few minutes as your plexi cools. If you do not hold it to your template, you will not get an accurate bend.
Continue step 4 & 5 until your cradle is complete!