Saturday, January 14, 2012

Upcycled Plastic Bags

What to do with all those plastic grocery bags? Well, recycle them or reuse them, of course. But, I have had a ton of fun upcycling them by turning them into new, one-of-a-kind bags. It's not difficult, but it is time consuming... and, it takes a lot of plastic bags.

The first thing I do is go through the kazillion plastic bags I've been saving for some unknown reason. Target bags are my favorite. (Thank goodness I shop at Target a lot). They have a fairly large section that is plain white, which makes a great background for my bags.

Next, I cut off the section of the bag I want for my new bag.

I usually layer my bags like this: 4 or 5 white target bags, then the plastic bag pieces I'm using as decor, then a clear garbage sack. The clear bag is just some bags we had laying around that were too small to fit in any of our trash cans. This bag is very important. You can't iron on top of the colored plastic, so this bag allows me to decorate any way I want and still see my design.

I do all my layering right on the ironing board, so I don't have to try to move my flimsy pile of bags. Then I lay either a towel or parchment paper over my baggy creation and iron it on medium setting. Amazingly enough, those flimsy bags fuse together into one tough piece of plastic.

Pile of pieces for one bag after I ironed them

Cut the pieces to my desired size

Then I used those pieces & sewed the bag together just as i would if it were fabric. I don't have a set size. I just make it whatever size works with the size of bags I have.

The possibilities are endless. The first few bags I made had 4 sides and a bottom. The last batch of bags I made were more bookbag style - with no bottom or sides, just a front and back. Oh, and FYI, don't sew your handles on like I did this one, (one end of the handle on the front of the bag, one on the back) it doesn't work well. They are always in my way. Make sure you sew both ends of your handle on either the front or the back & your other handle on the other side.

Sometimes I add stuff to the bottom of the bag for fun.

I have no rhyme or reason to what I make, I just have fun with whatever plastic pieces I can find. Any plastic bags (bread, tortilla, chips, toilet paper, etc) will work for decor.

I think these bags are ridiculous & fun. They are far from perfect, they are even crinkly, & I love them.

Boring back, but cute bows!

Sometimes I use fused plastic bags to make the handles.

Sometimes I use material similar to what some belts are made from for the handles. One time I used a thick ribbon.

Sometimes I add fluff. Why? Because I like fluff.

I couldn't leave the hubby out. This one's for him - whether he wants it or not.

These bags are quite sturdy. They won't last forever but, I've carried many groceries in these bags and they are still in great condition. I did split a side from one by carrying too many books in the bag. But, it was the sewing that came apart, not the plastic.

Happy Crafting!

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