Craft Project for April: Bag out of bags.
Last month, when I was visiting my cousin Robin in DC, we made a pledge to make a new craft project each month. So far, so good! I plan on posting details here and hopefully in a shared flickr account. There are no rules or restraints, opening up a lot of possibilities.
For my first project, I made a reusable grocery bag out of used plastic bags. I saw an etsy tutorial about fusing the plastic (which, of course, I couldn’t find again once I was ready to start the project) and I used another shopping bag as a pattern.
Here’s how it started. Last month, I was vacuuming my livingroom and I suddenly looked up and thought, “What’s in that shopping bag I’m vacuuming around?” Now, I do vacuum on a regular basis, but I always saw that the way my year goes, I’m in a work-induced coma until April (at which point I snap out of it and realize that my house is a mess and there are two strange cats living in my basement). The giant shopping bag was filled with the bags that held all of the Christmas gifts I gave people. In fact, it had been sitting, filled with trash, in that spot since I was wrapping pressies before Christmas. That would be (for those who have lost count) more than 5 months ago.
Yikes! Then I watched the etsy.com tutorial on fusing plastic bags together to make basically a sturdy sheet of colorful plastic. I needed lots of bags and I had them. This week, I went through the sack and separated bags out by color and size. It was a mix of #2 and #4 plastic. Each side needed to have 6 to 8 layers. I got my stacks and put them between two layers of plain brown paper with the print facing in. Then I ironed the stack until it melted. I was using a heavier piece of paper, so I had the heat up to cotton (no steam). The melting part was a little haphazard. One side melted too much and I could see some holes. The front and back aren’t quite melted enough. You’ll want to keep the iron moving and check frequently to see how it’s going. Then flip the whole thing over and do melting on the other side. Repeat with all 5 pieces.
I had drawn a template on the brown paper using the measurements from the other bag. I lay down the melted pieces and trimmed to size. I used a size 16 needle to sew it, and I didn’t have any skipping issues. I started by folding down around an inch on all of the pieces (except, obviously, the bottom) and stitching it. I had some lightweight belting that I wasn’t using and that became my handles. I sewed the pieces together using a generous 1/4′ seam allowance and trimming things even. Then I found a pack of white single fold bias and bound all of the seams.
Et, voila! My favorite part is how the Target bag and Geoffrey from Toy ‘R’ Us work together on the one side. Quite accidental and lovely. I used around a dozen bags (some were those really big bags that I never know what to do with), a 4-yd package of bias and maybe 1 1/2 of webbing for the handles. I didn’t purchase anything. And now, I have something fun and unique to go shopping with! Fun!