Did you know that there is such a thing as trends in the world of crafting? Well, guess what, there is! And at the moment projects involving recycling materials are definately hot. Amongst those are anything using plastic bags, which sit for 1000 years in the trash heap before disintegrating! So to use them again before they meet their fate is certainly a commendable thing to do, and it just so happens to be fun and free at the same time!
Serious crafters have been making fabric by fusing plastic bags and even sewing clothes and all sorts of items from the fabric. As a way of introducing you to this idea, I've come up with a really simple and quick project that will leave you with something useful, coasters! So while I may now be to blame for a new stash of plastic bags at your house, you can also thank me for introducing you to something that's really quite exciting, at least I think so!
- at least 3 thick plastic bags (not for food)
- an iron
Directions For Fusing Plastic Bags:
- Set the iron for 3.5 or near 'Rayon' setting.
- Cut handles and bottom seam off bags, and cut down one side seam to obtain a flat piece of plastic
- Depending on the thickness of your bags, you'll need about 6 layers, which is either 3 bags cut in half, or 6 bags totally disassembled and flat
- Lay a piece of un-printed paper on the ironing board, place your six layers on top of the paper, and another piece of paper between the iron and the plastic.
- Work in a well ventilated area as melting plastic can emit fumes!
- Working in sections, iron each section for 10-15 seconds. This should fuse the first few layers.
- Within the small sections, move the iron around as much as possible. If you hold the iron in one place for too long, you'll get dimples where the steam holes are. It is recommended to iron in straight lines to keep track of where you've been.
- Don't lift the iron to check the progress until you've counted 10-15 seconds, and then check on the sides.
- After working on one side,flip the plastic over and iron the second side too.
- Layer bags according to what you'd like to see on the outside.
- Decorative words and symbols from bags can be cut out and fused to your plastic fabric, though to protect them try fusing a clear piece of bag, the weight of a zip-loc sandwich bag, over the decorative element.
- Have fun experimenting, and you'll have enough to make coasters and some place-mats too!
To Make Coasters:
- Follow directions above to create a fused plastic bag fabric that is on the heavy side.
- Find a round object that is the size of the coaster you'd like to make and use that to trace circles onto your plastic fabric.
- Use a scissors to cut out the circles. Now you not only have something new for your home but maybe even a great very economical gift idea! You could make a ton of these in no time, and package them in beautiful square boxes or even place them in little pouches you've sewn from fused plastic fabric!
- Now you can proudly call yourself a bag lady!
Note: Clear bags with printed patterns are especially great for using as the outside layer. I made the butterfly coasters by placing another such bag over the bag with the butterflies, and I just love the layered collage-like effect that I created.