Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fusing Plastic Bags (76:365)

Did you know that you can make a usable "fabric" out of old plastic bags? We have tons of them (over shopping + never remembering to bring my reusable bags...) and this is such a great way to use them. I've been googling all afternoon about it and am really excited to try it out! This blog was the absolute best one with great tips and warnings about it.

 You will need to layer 6-8 pieces of plastic in the end. 
Some say to melt all at once together, but that blog I listed above said to do 2 layers at a time, which worked best for me.
First I cut off the handles and base of the bag.

Then I sandwiched it in between freezer paper 
because one website said I could.
Don't do it! 
It became one solid freezer paper lump.

Then I sandwiched a new 2 layers (with printed sides of the bags inside out because the ink can bleed) between 2 pieces of parchment paper and ironed, constantly moving the iron all around, for 10-15 seconds, then flipped it all over and did the same on the other side. 
It took probably 6 tries before I was able to figure out a good temperature for my iron that didn't shrink my plastic and allowed it to all fuse well without too many lumps.
I kept expecting the plastic to be super smooth, this does not happen.
It is a little bumpy. The main thing to worry about it that the layers are fusing together properly. 
Stop after ironing and feel the plastic between your fingers to make sure they are fused well. If they aren't, go over with the iron again, moving around quickly, until well fused 
(or you'll end up with weaker "fabric").

Lesson's Learned:
-Make sure you have good ventilation when doing this.
-Remember, the bags are hot after being ironed.
-Practice different temperatures to find the best for your iron.
(My perfect temperature is right in between acrylic and nylon.)
-Keep that iron moving or you'll shrink your plastic.

Tomorrow I'll post a project I'm making with the plastic "fabric".

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