bending perspex with heat

How to bend perspex sheet

Bending perspex offers a wide range of possibilities because heat softens this type of plastic without discolouring it. This gives you the potential to make an array of beautiful objects, from a transparent bedside table or a coloured perspex cabinet to a useful holder for your laptop or tablet. In this blog, we’ve gathered together some essential tips and tricks for bending acrylic sheet.

Supplies required for bending perspex:

  • An adjustable hairdryer or paint burner
  • A hot air oven
  • A bending device with filament
  • Clamps and slats
  • A heat-resistant plate for heating in the oven

The basics of working with bendable perspex

You can bend both cast acrylic sheet and extruded acrylic (the budget version). With a little experience and careful preparation, you’ll achieve great results! Not just professionals but also handy DIYers can get started with bending acrylic using a paint burner, a heat spiral or a convection oven. Make sure that you remove the protective foil on both sides before you fold acrylic sheet so that it does not melt on the panel. It’s also essential to keep a close eye on the perspex while heating it to make sure it doesn’t overheat.

Bending perspex with heat

Professionals often bend perspex (acrylic sheet) using a filament or resistance wire bending jig. They place the acrylic sheet over a long, thin filament with the bend line positioned precisely above the wire. When you heat acrylic to 160 degrees Celsius, it becomes soft and bends easily. It’s advisable to proceed with care. Bend the acrylic slowly and gently to avoid tearing the material on the exterior of the fold. After bending, heat the acrylic on the outside of the fold line briefly to seal it properly. Then allow the perspex to cool and become fixed in the chosen shape or position. Once cooled, the perspex retains its new shape permanently.

Bending acrylic sheet with a hairdryer

If you don’t have a filament or heating coil, you can also use a hairdryer, an adjustable paint burner or a convection oven. In these cases, bear in mind that the acrylic sheet becomes flexible over a wider area.

Helpful tips when bending perspex with a heat gun or hairdryer:

  • Remove the protective film on both sides and heat the panel.
  • To bend your acrylic sheet with a hair dryer, we recommend that you keep the outflow opening at least 5 centimetres away from the surface of the sheet.
  • Move the hair dryer slowly and gently along the fold line and make sure that it’s evenly heated.
  • From time to time, pull lightly on the edge of the acrylic sheet to check flexibility.
  • When bending acrylic, place a batten along the fold line to get the straightest possible fold.

Tip: Lay a wood batten next to the folding line so that you can heat the perspex with precision and achieve the sharpest possible fold.

Bending perspex with a convection oven

Depending on the application you have in mind, you can also soften and bend perspex using a convection oven. As you can see in this DIY: Making an acrylic bowl, it’s also easy to make your own acrylic napkin rings using a convection oven.

Handy tips if you are going to bend with a convection oven:

  • Never place the acrylic sheet on a grid, but on a flat, heat-resistant tray.
  • Place the tray in the oven to preheat it and allow it to heat up gradually.
  • When the set temperature has been reached (160 degrees Celsius), leave the acrylic sheet for 4 to 5 minutes. Thinner sheet thicknesses (up to 5 millimetres) will be ready to bend more quickly.
  • To make a sharp fold, leave the acrylic sheet on top of the heat-resistant tray and fold it along a batten.
  • Keep the perspex fixed in the chosen shape until it has cooled down completely. It will now remain in the form you require without springing back.

More inspiration and ideas for bending acrylic sheet

Once you have mastered the skill of bending acrylic sheet, the possibilities are endless! How about this see-through bedside table or a cool homemade tablet holder? There’s a wide range of furnishings that you can make by bending perspex. Check out our blog section for even more ideas.

end result perspex bowl

end result plastic napkin ring

Buying bendable perspex

Are you inspired to get started with bending perspex? Order your perspex sheets directly in our webshop and we will cut them to size for you free of charge. We stock a wide range of bendable perspex, from clear acrylic sheets to fluorescent and tinted versions. We will ensure that you receive your order as soon as possible. If you have any questions or suggestions about bending perspex, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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