Never throw plastic away again! Not plastic bags, not cheap plastic tablecloths; these things can be used to make everything from wallets to raincoats. If you like to sew, but hate the prices on plastic material for sewing projects, make your own! Simply recycle those old grocery bags, tablecloths, shower curtains and similar things into new and useful items for yourself and your family!
Fusing plastic bags is one of the easiest things you can do. If you’re using grocery bags, lay several out flat, then cut across the bags, just below the handles. In addition, cut across the bottoms of the bags so that you remove the seam.
Keep in mind that, any print which is shown on the bags you’re using, could easily show on the item you want to make. However, it could appear as just a giant blue circle, waves of black ink, or another image. That is, just because there’s writing on the bag doesn’t mean you’ll be able to read that writing after the bags have been fused. If you prefer no ink images or smudges simply use just the sides of the bags which aren’t printed.
If you’re using something large, like a tablecloth or shower curtain, fold it so that you have eight layers. When using grocery bags with the handles and bottoms cut off you can use four bags or eight. One bag has two sides, so you can get by with just four bags, but if you want to use only the unprinted sides, you will need to use eight bags.
Stack the plastic bags, or fold the large piece of plastic, so that the eight layers are on top of each other. Lay a piece of parchment paper, freezer paper or even copy paper onto your ironing board or other hard surface. Set the stack of plastic on top of it, then cover with an additional piece. Make sure no plastic is showing from under the parchment paper.
Heat your iron to a hot temperature, like “rayon”, and press it against the parchment paper. Continuously move the iron around on the paper, paying close attention to the edges of the plastic, and never leaving the iron in the same position for more than a second. Turn the stack over and iron on the other side. You’ll have to press for about 15 to 20 seconds on the first side, then for about half that time on the opposite side. However, you can check your progress at any time. Simply lift the parchment and try to separate one of the bags from the stack by peeling a corner or edge. If it peels back, iron some more, but if it won’t peel back you’re finished fusing the plastic!
When the plastic has cooled you’re ready to use it as you would fabric. Simply cut your pattern pieces, sew it up, and voila! You can use the fused plastic bags to make grocery totes, raincoats, wallets, purses and much more!