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Topic: Frankenstein Reusable Grocery Bag  (Read 16948 times)
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Lyzard
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« on: January 24, 2008 11:24:30 AM »

My vow this year was to be more environmentally friendly, so one of the things I'm doing is to use only reusable grocery bags when going shopping.  Buying bags for this purpose is good and all, but I wanted to use up all those obnoxious plastic bags from last year.

So after reading extensively in the Reuse/Recycle section of Craftster I decided to cobble together a creation from cannibalized plastic bags.  Plastic bags from all sorts of stores were fused, trimmed and stitched together to create a bag that is bigger than a paper grocery sack and about 10 times as strong.






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Deidra
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I shall not tolerate such rubbish! Good day, sir!


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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2008 11:29:59 AM »

That is an awesome bag! I would love to know how you did it. I have a TON of plastic bags laying around because I don't want to throw them in a landfill and I haven't found uses for them yet. We usually just put our paper ones in the paper recycling but for plastic i've been stuck for a while.
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Leah_Danielle
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2008 11:30:20 AM »

A-MA-ZING!!! That's all I can seem to get out!

My mouth just dropped when I saw this!

PS - I hit 'this rocks'!
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Do what you love. Fuck everything else. -Little Miss Sunshine

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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2008 11:32:20 AM »

absolutely magnificent.....wow i just love it
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cassette.
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2008 11:59:33 AM »

I think I would also use the word magnificent. recycling is the king of feel-good moments right now. this is also a ridiculously stylish item and although the "not a plastic bag" bags are so "fashionable" (?!) at the moment, this looks a hell of a lot better. wear it with flair, it makes me smile to look at it and I'm sure it'll do the same to everyone else.

speak to you soon!
cassette.x
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KupCake
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2008 12:07:27 PM »

This is such a good idea. I would love to know how you made it.
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NixArmageddon
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2008 12:18:39 PM »

You did such a great job!
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CraftyCoug
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2008 12:22:16 PM »

That is so cool! 

We're wondering, though, how did you fuse them together??
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Bela-Kiss
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2008 01:49:18 PM »

awesome...
Some grocery stores will take the plastic bags you have use and recycle them to make new plastic bags...Ours does. So that is a tip for thee others you have lting around. Grin
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Lyzard
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2008 01:54:54 PM »

Wow!  Thanks for all the nice compliments!  

The technique I used for this is something I picked up on the Reuse/Recycle section here at Craftster, so to get a really good tutorial search "plastic bag fusing," but I'd be happy to explain the way I did it.

Basically, you want to take all your plastic bags and flatten them out.  Cut off the handles and the bottom.  Now you have a plastic "tube."  Turn this inside out if there is any writing or decoration on the bag because the ink will sometimes run when you fuse the bags.  You can either stack a couple bags on top of each other or fold the bags until there are 6-8 layers of plastic.  I ended up folding one bag a couple of times until there were 8 layers.

Next you want to place the layered plastic between two sheets of heavy paper.  I used construction paper since I had it on hand.  Heat a regular house iron somewhere in the medium range.  Some people have said they used a much cooler setting, but I'm the impatient type and it wasn't fusing fast enough for me on a cooler setting.  First iron one side, then flip, and iron on the other.  Don't pull the paper apart immediately because you may tear holes in the still-hot plastic.  If you wait the plastic will peel away from the paper as it cools.  If the plastic isn't quite fused yet cover with paper and iron again.

This step takes some getting used to since if you iron too long the plastic may melt too much and create holes.  If you don't iron long enough the plastic won't fuse.  I'd recommend giving it a try with the bags you don't like as much just to get the hang of it.  

As a side note: I did this in the garage because I'm not sure if there are toxic chemicals released into the air during the fusing and I didn't want to make my dogs (or husband) sick.

After I'd fused the plastic bags I started trimming them down into squares and rectangles.  I'm not sure what other people's experiences are with fusing, but my fused bags did NOT come out square or even.  

After that I pieced together the front, back, sides and bottom of the bag, overlapping the plastic pieces the tinyest bit and sewing everything together on my sewing machine with a zigzag stitch and some old thread.

Since this bag hasn't been road-tested yet I'm not sure how sturdy the cut-in handles are, but overall it certainly feels like it should be worth it's weight in... um... plastic.
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