Would You Like Milk Tea on a Milk Coaster?

Gina · 60 ·

At VIVISTOP Orchard, we always have VIVITA members and crew alike making lots of creative projects out of the recycled plastic materials like PET bottles, milk bottles, food packaging materials. We also use the 3D printers in the space to create designs like the PLA plastic parts which are biodegradable to add on to the VIVIPANELS we use as tables, chairs and walls. Do you know that you can make your own eco-friendly, biodegradable plastic right at home in your kitchen? VIVITA crew, Gina, shares with us her experiments in making a coaster for her glasses at home in today’s activity!

How did you come up with the idea for your project?

While I was having a cup of iced milk tea the other day, I realised I needed a coaster but I would have to wait for over a month for the Circuit Breaker to end to buy one. I did not want to wait and started to figure out what I could do to make my own coaster.

What makes this a cool project?

This project will let you turn milk into a ball of plastic dough (usually called casein plastic), and you can make anything in any shape or color of your choice!!

Could you share with us a bit about your prototyping process? What did you learn from the more memorable failed attempts?

When my coaster was fully hardened, I found it shrank while drying, and the size of my coaster was only 80% of its original size. Make sure to make your items slightly bigger than the size you have in your mind.

Making Milk Plastic

What materials do you need?

  1. 1 cup of milk (I used fresh milk, but please feel free to use any type of milk. The amount of the plastic dough might differ according to the type of milk you are using.)
  2. 4 teaspoons of vinegar (I used white vinegar, but any vinegar you have at home will work)

What tools do you need?

  1. A pan
  2. Paper towels
  3. A sieve or a plate

STARTER ROUND:

Step 1: Heat a cup of milk in a pan until the milk is steaming

Step 2: Add 4 teaspoons of vinegar to the milk and mix it slowly for several seconds until you have white chunks or curds in the milk. The acid of the vinegar causes the milk proteins (casein) molecules to unfold and tangle into solid masses called curds.

Step 3: Stack three or four layers of paper towels on a sieve (or a plate). If you are using a sieve, pour the mixture into it. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the curds and put them on top of the paper towel stack. Fold the edges of the paper towel stack over the curds and press down on them to absorb excess liquid from the curds.

Step 4: Knead all of the curds together. You can colour, shape, or mold it now, and leave it to dry on paper towels for at least 48 hours. To shape the dough, it needs to be kneaded well. You can either try adding food colouring or paint, glitter, other decorative bits to the wet dough, or paint colour onto the dried casein plastic.

Milk plastic with food colouring added and shaped into a coaster

CHALLENGE ROUND:

Can you find something to replace vinegar?

If you don’t have paper towels, what else do you think you can use?

OPEN ROUND:

How would you use milk plastic?

Could it be made into accessories, pens, plates or even cups?

What could you use as a mould for the milk plastic?

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