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Jude's Vacuum Forming Hack - Recycling Plastic Milk Jugs

A good friend of DesignSpark, Jude Pullen, was recently sent a Mayku Formbox. Whilst making a cup of tea he had an idea... the milk carton he was using provided him with an opportunity. 

The cartons are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and he believed that he could find a way of re-using this high-quality plastic for vacuum forming, rather than simply throwing it into the recycling bin. 

HDPE is used to make plastic storage containers for products including milk, water and detergents. He figured that if he could find a way of flattening the plastic it could be used in the Mayku Formbox, with the added benefits that HDPE is food safe, durable and can still be recycled after use. 

After some quick testing, he realised two things:

1. He needed a head-gun (a hairdryer will work also) to stretch the plastic form to something close to a flat sheet.

2. The HDPE plastic melts very very slowly, as temperature of the Mayku Formbox was a bit lower than ideal. He suspected this might be due to entrained air (draughts) cooling the plastic as fast as it was being heated, so he made a shroud out of some metal strip, and placed this around it to keep the heat in. Not for the feint-hearted, but a hack nonetheless!

Watch the full video below as he makes some good quality chocolate moulds for his son:

Find out more on Instructables at: where you can also vote for Jude in the Trash to Treasure contest if you liked this hack. 

I am a 31-year-old tech lover, self-confessed geek and football fanatic! When I am not playing with the latest gadget you will often find me watching my favourite TV shows including Game of Thrones, Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory. Feel free to follow me on Instagram @robbiedunion or Twitter @robbiedunion

25 Feb 2020, 10:19


March 12, 2020 09:07

It's slightly less controlled but you can also form HPDE using a hot air gun. I used a two part mould, heated the sheet then forced the mould together.

0 Votes

February 25, 2020 10:03

What a great idea. Well done Jude.