Rice Husk Bowl Prototype

Goal: 1. Create my first rice bowl using rice husks and pine resin. 2. Study the properties of the bowl and its efficiency for holding food

Process:

I bought rice hulls and pine resin rocks from Amazon and began by melting the pine resin using a double boiler.

melting pine resin

Attempt 1

Bowl 1
Testing if the bowl can retain water

I used raw rice husks and mixed it with melted sap, molding it as the sap cooled. I noticed the sap dries very brittle and big chunks of rice husks facilitated the breaking process. The bowl did help me prove that dried pine sap is waterproof if there are no holes in the material.

Testing if the bowl can withstand heat

To test if the material could withstand heat, I placed the bowl in the microwave for a 1 minute. The sap could not withstand the heat and began to melt and disfigure the bowl.

Attempt 2

Bowl 2
Bowl 2

I tried grinding the rice husk into a finer texture and applying multiple layers of sap. Finer grains attached better to the sap and multiple layers of harden sap made the bowl more sturdier. I coated the bowl with a final layer of just sap (no husk) for a smooth overall finish.

Attempt 3

Bowl 3 with Spoon
Bowl 3 and Spoon

I tried adding rice husks to the melting pine resin in the pot instead moving the resin from the pot to a pile of rice husk. This delayed the melting process of the resin, but it saved me time and and allowed me to focus on molding the material. The pine resin almost dries within seconds of removing it from the pot which makes it hard to manipulate in such a short time.

All in all, I was really happy with this attempt! To me, this bowl was evidence of proof of concept!

Attempt 4

Cup 1
Cracked Cup

I tried to make a cup using only sap and minimal rice husk in order to study if the sap alone could sustain a shape. It was very brittle and cracked almost instantly despite putting multiple layers of sap proving that the husk does contribute to integrity of the shape.

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Material can maintain a shape
  • Biodegradable
  • All natural
  • Pine resin is a great natural adhesive

Cons:

  • Pine resin melts at high temperatures
  • These bowls would not be microwave safe nor would be suitable for hot foods
  • Pine resin hardens very quickly, can be hard to manipulate

Future Work:

  • Make the bowls more aesthetically pleasing and have a smoother shape
  • Try using silicon molds to help shape the material
  • Research other plant-based resins /adhesives with higher melting temperatures to make the bowls microwave safe
  • Coat bowls with wax to improve texture?
  • Using plant-based dyes to add color to the bowls
  • Iterate on this process before moving on to plantain peels

One thought on “Rice Husk Bowl Prototype

  1. Julie! I’m thrilled you began prototyping. This is an amazing effort. (Great documentation as well – super valuable in this iterative process).

    Pine resin is a really interesting choice lots of medicinal and survival uses I.e. candles, glue, salve etc…

    The key is going to be, as you said, to coat the bowl in something that is more impervious to heat that will seal the resin and husk. I’m not sure about the status of this research now – but definitely something to look into.

    https://www.paintsquare.com/news/?fuseaction=view&id=13887

    Liked by 1 person

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