Bowls made from melted army men

If you like the melted toy soldier bowl Mark blogged in 2004, you can buy it from the artist, Dominic Wilcox, or try your hand at making one in your oven:
Heat your oven to 300 degrees. Arrange a layer of army men on the bottom and along the sides of a bowl. Use a Pyrex bowl, any size you want, or something similar that can go in the oven. Carefully put the bowl of soldiers into the over so that you don't knock any of the soldiers off the side of the bowl.

Watch the army men melt in the oven. The ones around the top will get deformed quickly so do not panic when you see this. Once these ones have melted enough that they no longer resemble army men, take the bowl out of the oven. The army men near the bottom will not be very melted and most likely won't even be stuck together.

To melt the army men on the bottom, hold the bowl over a low flame, letting them melt until they are just a green mass. I do this on a gas stove, but it might work on an electric range as well.

Buy bowl from Dominic Wilcox

Bowl made from melted little green army men


  1. Pretty neat. Way back when, my mother used to make flower pots by draping 78 RPM records over a bowl in the oven. Built-in drainage hole!

  2. So excited to make some of these! I’ve got two perfect pyrex bowls. (I hope the plastic doesn’t adhere, despite the article’s claim to the contrary.) Dollar stores are the purveyors of the strangest and cheapest small plastic animal and human figures. You got it: 99¢ a bag.

    I used to collect bags of weird plastic figures from dollar stores: the ubiquitous dinosaurs, the Cowboys and Native American Warriors (you know what I mean), one bag of Napoleonic soldiers (mmmm), dozens of wildebeests, ostriches, and tapirs. I never found any stereotypical green US Army Men that I liked aesthetically, but I’ll go on the hunt.

    I can’t wait to combine some of them and make a nightmare evolution bowl with an American Western Expansion flair. With Army dude bowl-lip invasions in the vein of the Chapman Brothers.

  3. I was in a cafe the other day and the mirror next to my table had a sort of gold crown of thorns frame.

    It was only as I was tucking into my breakfast that I realised the thorns were actually army men sprayed gold.

  4. One thing to remember about plastic-meltery-makery is that some plastics release potentially harmful fumes on significant heating. I would be especially wary of “dollar store” stuff, since it tends to be of the lowest-quality materials (in my experience; YMMV). Even with “quality” plastics, make sure your makery-area is well-ventilated.

    Just wanted to throw that out there (just before I go home and try it myself).

  5. If I did that I bet I would end up with broken bowl and melted army men in my oven forever.

    I can’t afford a new stove.

  6. I wonder if having a pizza stone in the oven and placing the bowl right on it while baking would help the bottom guys get melted.

  7. I haven’t done this with army men, but I’ve done several melted bead projects. Do not attempt unless you can open all windows for the entire time stuff is in the oven. Don’t try it this weekend if you live in Minnesota, for example, wait until spring.

    We used 250 deg F for our melting temperature. We took the precaution of using the non-stick aluminum foil between the beads and the form. I purchased a pizza pan for the express purpose of bead melting, but we used the foil in case we decided the pan may have a future in cooking. We’ve made two torchier lamp shades, three ceiling fan light shades and a few tiny light shades for a goofy Ikea ceiling light fixture.

  8. I wish we would have thought of that after the Roto-Rooter man pulled a couple hundred out of the tiolet line, instead my Dad just threw them away. Why were there a couple hundred green army men in our toilet drain? My brother said his soldiers were captured by the enemy in a whirlpool of death…..

  9. I tried this using army men in a pyrex mixing bowl. It is really toxic smelling, I am pretty sure that I shortened my life by a few years. Make sure you watch it closely, it takes a while for it to begin to melt and then once it starts to melt, it really goes. If you don’t melt it enough, they do not stick together, obviously. If you melt it too much you end up with bowls of plastic goo. I ended up with a few bowls of melted plastic goo. Still kinda cool but not what I was really aiming for.

  10. Others have said it, but doing this on your own in a home over without decent ventilation is a recipe for a cloud of toxic crap wafting all over the place.

    I learned this when I was 10 or 11 when I tried to replay broken toys by heating up the stove burner holder and then melting small pieces together.

    Holy moley was that a mistake!

    You know why 99 cent stores have that toxic/plastic smell? That cheap stuff is never properly cured or coated so it stinks. Buy a plastic cup for 99 cents from one of those places and drink from it? You are slowly poisoning yourself.

  11. A little late perhaps, but it seems like one could simply preheat the empty Pyrex in the oven beforehand to evenly heat the whole thing. Theoretically this would ensure the bottom figurines would melt as quickly (perhaps more, from direct heat conduction) as the figurines on top.

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