OK, I read about this technique early on in my 30Days of Creativity project research, and I knew I wanted to do it! You take flimsy plastic shopping bags and fuse them together with an iron to create a thicker, more sturdy plastic. Once you’ve got your fused-plastic material you can make any number of things but I loved the idea of these small, zippered pouches and tote bags.
There was only one problem. I don’t sew. But lucky for me I have my pick of people who DO sew right in my family and when I asked my sister Kathleen, she agreed to help me out. Which is why these turned out so well!
First I needed to create the fused-plastic material we would be working with. I scavenged some great plastic bags (a variety of sized and weights, from the flimsiest produce bag to a really sturdy, heavier plastic, large sized shopping tote bag).
Here is a great tutorial by Anda Lewis. She has more experience doing this. Check it out.
Fused Plastic Bags:
Open a window or door so your work space is well-ventilated.
Cut off the handles and bottom seams of the bags.
Cover your ironing board with parchment paper.
If your bags have any design on them, turn them inside out so the ink is on the inside. When it is heated, the ink tends to run and make a mess.
Layer between 6 and 8 single layers of plastic with your prize pieces of plastic on the top.
Cover the plastic with parchment paper
With iron set at medium high, start pressing, moving it constantly. Be sure and go to all the edges. Flip it over, and iron again. Now, careful, because it is hot, check and see if your plastic is all fused or needs a little more heat. If it is bubbled or has places that seem to still be in layers, iron it some more. The bags have different thicknesses, so you may need to do a couple of trail runs. My first try was too thick but I got the hang of it.
I can’t give you the specifics on the sewing. But Kathleen assured me that if you DO sew and have a sewing machine that can handle heavy-duty sewing tasks, this is an easy sewing project. She put both the zippers in and let me do a few straight seams (well, they were supposed to be straight) but after I sewed one whole pouch the wrong way out, I handed over the sewing side of things with relief.
But I really DID some of the sewing. See photographic proof:
While she was sewing, I kept her dog, Ruby, company.
Kathleen suggests putting in the zipper first to make it easier. Like this:
I love how these turned out!
The outside layer of the pencil pouch was a bag from Flax and if you take a close look at the photo you can see the bags are “80% recycled material”! So we’re re-recycling them! The zippers and thread are new so these pouches are probably 80% or more recycled.
I scavenged the plastic bags, fused the plastic and trimmed the pieces, but Kathleen did all the sewing on this great little tote bag. Thank you, Kathleen and Ruby for helping me see this project come to fruition.
When I went to see my folks and show off the project for Day 26, I also got to see their dog, Molly, and I couldn’t resist a picture.
Thanks for stopping by.