The starting-point is that we all want to recycle as much as we can – but what to do with plastic?

It’s possible to use it in upcycling fabric into fashion – as we show in various parts of this site. It can be cut into pieces, shaped and dyed. But it’s also possible to recycle it into a new phase. This has come about from the new technology of 3D printing. The 3D printing process involves building up an object, layer by layer, from spraying hot plastic from a roll of filament. And this filament can be produced out of waste plastic.

It’s a three-stage process which starts with a shredder to cut up the plastic into small pieces. These pieces are then put into the extruder, which produces an output of filament. A spooler then coils this into a roll, ready for use in any 3D printer.

The process can thus produce rolls of filament which can be utilised or sold. This process has much potential. For instance, a community group, whether in a city or a rural or island area, could put it into action to develop a local plastics recycling project, with the output a product of considerable value which can then either be sold or used locally by people involved in fabrication, design, arts, or crafts.

What is a 3D Printing Pen?

It’s the latest tool for textile design – a pen that draws out threads of plastic to create shapes in three dimensions.

It uses 3D printing technology but there’s no software or computers, and indeed the way to use it is to simply forget about the technology and just enjoy the way that the thin plastic thread gradually forms loops and curves and whorls. You just plug in the pen and start drawing.

Inside is a mains-powered electric heater that melts plastic. The hot plastic flows, coming out of the pen like icing for a cake. When the plastic cools it rapidly hardens and the shape that you’ve drawn is thereby preserved.

Designers have in recent years been experimenting with 3D printers to create new types of garment, but the pen – originally conceived as a children’s toy – opens up new directions.

The biggest contrast is that 3D printer designs are computer-based and therefore repeatable, but with the pen you are working with your hands and drawing hot plastic, and each design is non-repeatable and one-of-a-kind. So the 3D printing pen is more appropriate for the couture and handmade world.

'3D Lace' Couture Collection using a 3Doodler Pen

Eden Saadon used her talent and creativity to create an entire collection of delicate lace feminine garments titled “Flexy Black,” which was inspired by the name of the 3Doodler plastic she used to develop the designs (FLEXY).

“The notion of a machine that upgrades human skills and yet allows maintaining a unique personal hand-writing in a world where technology and automation replace human labor excites me as a designer.”