05 July 2011

Moneyless Mondays ~ Fabric from Plastic Bags

Finished and trimmed
placemat for Aedyn
Yes you read that right! Today's post is on how to take plastic grocery/shopping bags and transform them into sew-able fabric.

But first, HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!!! Now, to the fabric. Fabric might not be the best word, but you're looking at a heavy duty plastic that can handle being sewn by a machine. The more layers you fuse together the hardier the fabric will be. And it doesn't scrunch like the plastic bags do.
The finished product could be used in a variety of ways. Simply trimmed to size it would be perfect for placemats, an activity mat, or a reusable drop cloth for under a toddler's seat or high-chair. Sewn it could be made into a purse, diaper bag, wet bag, or a reusable shopping bag. It could be used as a diaper cover, or as a waterproof layer in a diaper, nursing pad, etc. You could turn it into an apron or smock for when the kids do art projects...the list goes on. I try and remember to take canvas shopping bags with me. We have them, but if they make it out to the car, then that's usually as far as they go. I just can't seem to remember them until I'm in line with a buggy full of groceries and inevitably 2 cranky little boys. So I have a ton of plastic bags around the house, periodically we drop them off to be recycled, but there's always a bunch that still hang around. Target tried this concept to make bags and sell them awhile back, but it never really took off. Probably because people like me looked at them and said "Really? They want me to pay for that?" Supplies: 1) Wax Paper 2) Plastic Grocery Bags 3) Iron 4) Scissors

Tube after handles and
bottom are cut off

Step 1: Prep 4 bags Straighten out the grocery bags and cut off the handles & the seam at the very bottom giving you a tube or sleeve. If you want the print on the bag to show through (especially if you have a cute bag!) then turn it inside out and only use clear or white bags on top of it.

Sandwich ready for heat!

Step 2: Make a wax paper sandwich
Lay down wax paper to and stack all four bags on top of each other; lay another piece of wax paper on top. You want the wax paper to completely cover the plastic bags, if the bags come in contact with your ironing board or iron they will ruin them! You can use regular paper or cardstock, but it might fuse to the plastic...no harm done, but it's not as cool looking that way. (I wasn't thinking and used regular paper...)

Bottom half fused, top half unfused
Step 3: Apply heat
Use a medium heat, I used the setting for polyester/rayon. Keep the iron moving and iron for about 45 seconds to a minute, turn the sandwich over and repeat.

Step 4: Finish!
Allow to cool, remove the wax paper, and trim the edges

You could probably stagger the bags in order to make a longer piece and keep 8 layers, but I haven't tried that yet, let me know how it works if you decide to tackle it! Follow me on Facebook or Twitter so you don't miss out on any of the Milk Bubbles that just might make your day that much more special!


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