Plastic Bag Bonanza!

As I write this post my studio and kitchen table are in complete and utter chaos, but at least I have something to show for it.

The chaos began yesterday when I decided to try my hand at fusing plastic bags.  though I’ve seen the technique on-line and in books, this was my first time actually doing it.  I found that watching this video by Etsy right before beginning to be extremely helpful.

After fusing the bags I decided to make some wallets.  They aren’t anything new.  I saw a similar wallet made from fused bags in a library book (The name of which has escaped me), but I made up the exact pattern for mine on my own.  It’s a standard bi-fold wallet with a pocket for bills plus four additional pockets for credit cards, licence, etc.

I found that the target bags work well for fusing, which I’m happy about since I wasn’t very excited about using them for making plarn.  I also like that fusing gives me another way of repurposing the plastic bags.

Once I made a few bi-fold wallets I decided to make some single pocket pouches for cards.  I think these would be great to house your business card collection, or better yet, those promotional punch cards that you get from just about everywhere you go these days (I work at a business that gives out these punch cards and people are forever loosing them).  These little pouches could even hold your credit card and licence, then slip discretely into your pocket.  Simple, yet effective, right?  It’s also a good way to take advantage of bags with neat logos or colors that you don’t have many duplicates of (which is important for making plarn).

I suppose you think that I will abandon the extremely labor intensive process of making plarn and crocheting with plastic bags now that I’ve discovered the magic of fusing, right?

Nope, that simply isn’t the case at all.  Below is a bag that I finished a couple of days ago.  The body of the bag was based off of the Easy as Pie Purse by Tracy B over on Ravelry.  If you read the pattern you will see that I removed the gusset and crocheted purse straps.  For the straps I used recycled leather ones off of an old purse and instead of a gusset I simply altered the pattern slightly by adding a couple of rows of stitches that don’t increase, thus making them curve inward.  The button is handmade by Jessi Gerak of Buttons Bones Ceramics.  She makes beautiful utilitarian ceramic pieces and was kind enough to give me this button during the May Day Show where we both vended.

Have you tried fusing plastic bags before?  What was your experience?  I’d love to see what you have come up with using this technique!  If you have, include a link in the comments below.  If you’ve never tried fusing bags but were inspired to do so by this post I’d love to here from you too!

To keep updated on all things zween, like zween on facebook.

Also, if you’ll be in the Akron, Ohio area this weekend I hope to see you at the Rowdy Indie Craft Fair this Sunday, August 14th.  It’s not just a craft fair either, as there will be craft and yoga demonstrations and live bands in the evening in addition to the awesome crafts to buy.  I’ll have these newly-made fused plastic bag creations as well as cards, earrings, gift boxes and much much more upcycled awesomeness!

*this post has just been added to Made By You Mondays over on Skip to my Lou.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Plastic Bag Bonanza!

  1. Sarah Peck

    Hi Emily I just placed your weeble wobble owl as a door stop in my kitchen. I love it and all your other items at the green gifts shop in Lakewood. My eyes are opened to plarn! Sarah

  2. Amazing, the things you come up with! You mentioned that it is nothing new, but you have certainly put your own stamp on it. Who would think that you would get such great designs out of chain store plastic bags. Well done Zween, very inspiring and original!!!
    Sunchi.

    • Sunchi, thank you so much for your encouragement. I agree with your point about finding interesting designs in such a mundane object of chain store plastic bags. I’ve really enjoyed playing around with this material and new (to me) process and I think that this is just the beginning.

  3. I just found your blog and have to say that you do the most amazing things with plarn!

    I read about the concept awhile back and wanted to try it, but (quite frankly) all of the projects I saw looked cheap. Not so with yours, and now I will have to try my hand at it.

    I also love all the upcycling going on here, since that’s something else that’s dear to my heart. (“Waste not, want not.”)

    • Christa,
      I hope that you do try your hand at plarn and make something useful out of it. When you do, I’d love to see it and hope you will post a photo on your blog!

  4. zee

    aaaaaaaaand… is there any chance for a tutorial on the wallets and card thingies?
    you rock.

    • You can find a link to a tutorial on fusing plastic bags in the above article. As for a tutorial for making the wallets themselves, sorry, but I am no longer making them. In fact, I believe it is hazardous to my health and the health of my family to fuse plastic bags due to the chemicals that are released in the heating process (even with the windows open and good ventilation).

  5. Destinee

    I love this purse and was wondering if youd be willing to give/sell me the pattern. i wouldnt sell my finished work, it would be strictly for personal use.

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