Customer Review

466 of 475 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Shapelock/Friendly Plastic: surprisingly strong, a little goes a long way, good for kids!, July 2, 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: InstaMorph - Moldable Plastic - 12 oz (Home)
I heard about this as "Shapelock" and for whatever reason, the company decided to rename it "Friendly Plastic". "Instamorph" is another name for the same material.

It's Polycaprolactone, Wikipedia has a great entry on it.

The pellets melt in 150F-160F water. This is hot enough to scald you but not cause a serious burn. I was afraid this would mean that kids wouldn't be able to play with it but in fact they can due to the low thermal capacity and conductivity. Within a minute or two of coming out of the hot water bath this stuff cools down enough that it's just warm. However it still remains pliable enough for kids to have a lot of fun.

When it does finally cool completely it's hard and strong. I'm used to Fimo/Sculpey which is really very weak. This stuff is suprisingly strong. Strong enough that I have yet to break a part which was fully cooled. I'd say it's as structural as the plastic in most kid's toys and actually a bit tougher (resistant to cracking) I believe there must be some crystallization going on. I made a device where the plastic acts as a living spring - it flexes with a surprisingly high modulus.

I've made a number of things with it already - a cell phone holder, a shoe horn, a cable organizer, even special hook to hold an IV bag on a light stand.

You don't use much of the material because any pieces you have are easily remelted into your next project. Once something outlives it's usefulness you simply melt it back down.


1) Stretch out leftover pieces so they're not too solid - this speeds up remelting later on.
2) Get the little container first unless you definitely have something in mind. I bought the 28 oz to start and despite using it quite a bit, I have barely made a dent - as mentioned, you re-use any leftovers.
3) You can also use it as a glue. When it's heated to the clear state (160F) it is very sticky.
4) Make your parts in sections. When done, you can dip in hot water to melt the surface and then stick the sections together.
5) When making pieces, keep a hot bath (pot on stove) and a cold bath (Ice water) so you can soften/harden easily
6) Put a thermometer in your hot bath and try to keep it at 150-160
7) Don't forget that you can carve, drill, cut, and even tap the material once it's cooled
8) Be patient! There's definitely a learning curve to making good parts.

If you have questions or comments, or if you found this review helpful, please let me know!
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 14, 2010 7:30:12 PM PDT
S. Albertini says:
I have a digital crock pot that will heat to 150+ degrees (and hopefully keep the temperature there). Assuming I place an inch or two of water in it and then put the material in a separate container, does this sound like a likely setup for keeping the material in a moldable state?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2010 6:09:27 PM PDT
K. Babcock says:
That should be fine. The idea is to melt the plastic in the hot water, and sculpt your piece as it cools - but before it's totally cool, in which case it's just too hard to do anything with. As your piece cools down and gets more and more difficult to sculpt, quickly dip your creation in the hot water so it gets easy to mold again. The bowl of cold water (or ice water) is to have an option to dip your piece in to harden it up really quickly - if you get your piece into just the right shape, dip it in the cold water to quickly "set" it.

I hope that cleared up any questions you have - a great review was written with loads of information. In your specific case, a digital thermometer sounds like it would work wonderfully well - and allow you to create whatever you have in mind. Good luck and have fun!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2010 5:55:42 PM PDT
Y. R. Wu says:
Agree - I use a ditial (waterproof) thermometer in a pot on the stove. Doesn't take a whole lot lot of water though it does take longer if you can't immerse it

Posted on Jul 2, 2011 4:31:26 PM PDT
A. Kitchen says:
Do you think this product is durable enough to make costume hooves? I'm looking for a good solid and durable surface to withstand the elements for when I walk around in them outside. Also, do you think this priduct(once cooled and fully dry) can be painted or sealed to protect it even further?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2011 12:24:39 AM PDT
K. Babcock says:
Great questions! I would bet it would be fine in the elements - I don't think water, snow, dirt, etc would affect the integrity of your creation - however, I would carefully consider the weight issue. There is no way a "sheath" of this stuff would support much weight. If you are talking about making solid hooves - and take the time to construct them as carefully as possible (no air bubbles, no cracks, no thin parts) you will probably be ok. I say probably because I would feel really badly if you spent money on this, waited for it to arrive, spent time constructing the hooves (or even made a mold for them and then filled the mold with this stuff)...and had them fall apart the first time you tried them.

You can paint this - I don't know if it's necessary but I use wax/soap medium with my acrylic paints when I've painted it - and you can mix color into the InstaMorph while it's warm and liquidy (word!) - once it's cool and set, you would have to paint it. I've added color to it while warm - and have skipped adding the wax/soap medium when coloring it this way. My experience has been that you get a more pastel - or muted - shade when doing this.

Not sure if it would need (or even accept) a sealant...if you wanted to protect any decorative painting, etc, I would probably start with an acrylic spray. Matte or shiny would be your call - but I wouldn't try to apply too much at once and I'd make sure to hold the can back several inches. Spraying too close to the product may cause some sort of weird reaction.

These are just my thoughts - please know I'm not speaking from experience (unless stated). I still love this stuff and all the creative uses it's good for. I really hope it works for you and meets your needs!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2011 5:38:57 AM PDT
Y. R. Wu says:
You can apparently mix color / pigment into the plastic as it's being molded - I would think this is better than trying to paint it as the paint will eventually chip off.

I tend to think that this plastic is strong enough to make hooves but think that you should do the "sheath" idea since otherwise you will need a TON of this plastic and it's not cheap.

Posted on Sep 26, 2011 1:59:17 AM PDT
BitterOldMan says:
Perfect for making a mold for fiberglass fabrication glass bowl in microwave w/water was the best way I found to liquefy plastic

Posted on Jun 6, 2012 8:23:17 PM PDT
Could I apply this to a tooth to make a mold of the tooth? Can I put it on the tooth to make a mold and take it off before it hardens without a problem? Thanks/

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 18, 2012 6:51:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 18, 2012 6:52:06 AM PDT
Y. R. Wu says:
Boy, I'd be very careful trying to take a dental impression. It's rather warm which could be very uncomfortable on your teeth if they are sensitive and if the stuff sticks to your teeth you'd really be in trouble.

You'd do a lot better buying alginate for that purpose - it's what the dentists use. It's cold and gives much better detail.

Here's a big bag for cheap: 1lb (454g) Create-A-Mold Alginate Molding Powder by Casting Keepsakes

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 7:10:14 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 7:12:15 AM PST
-Cush- says:
Would it be too warm to make molded earphone covers that fit perfectly to your outer ear and into your ear canal?
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