Tutorial – Fusing Plastic (or how to make disposal plastic bags into keepable stuff!)

[19 May 2009 | By | 12 Comment(s) | 53,161 views ]

soshesews coffee sleeveToday’s guest post is by the very talented Brooke, of So She Sews. I discovered her work on flickr one day (love it!) and I thought her style was such a great twist on the fused plastic trend. And it turns out she’s also an Atlantan, how cool! (Look at this cup holder! Isn’t it neat? You’d never guess that came from grocery bags!) So I asked her if she’d do us the honor of a tutorial.. and she did a great one. I had seen fused plastic bag tutorials before, but not with the thin grocery bags like this.

Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did… – Dot

How To Make Fused Plastic Sheets (from plastic bags)
…and then turn them into something neat!

Plastic bag fusing tutorial by So She Sews

1. Fusing Plastic Bags: Things you need, 2. Fusing Plastic Bags: The Bags!, 3. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step One, 4. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Two, 5. Fusing Plastic Bags: Don’t forget the Earth!, 6. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Three, 7. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Four, 8. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Five, 9. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Six, 10. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Seven, 11. Fusing Plastic Bags: The Motion in the Ocean, 12. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Eight, 13. Fusing Plastic Bags: Turn up the Heat!, 14. Fusing Plastic Bags: Aaaaand we’re GOOD!, 15. Fusing Plastic Bags: Step Nine, 16. Final step!

The description of each picture gives you the scoop on what’s going on, so click through the links above for directions, or you can see all the steps here.

So what to do with it now?

“Just behave as if this cool, fused plastic sheet were a regular piece of fabric! It sews right through on a regular machine (won’t get stuck or not feed feed properly… it will smoothly go through just like any piece of fabric would!).

When you are cutting shapes out of it, I recommend you draw your shapes on the backside of the fused plastic using a permanent marker (so that it won’t smear and get all over you), and then cut them out. Do this instead of pinning pattern pieces to it because wherever you put your pins is going to leave a tiny hole in the plastic.

Just use a regular or universal needle, no leather needles needed… this stuff is actually quite soft and easy for a regular sewing machine to pierce right through!

And if using a sewing machine isn’t your gig, try your “hand”… haha… at hand sewing through your fused plastic! I’ve made some wonderful little accessories by “whipstitching” or “blanket stitching” around the edge with colorful embroidery thread and even yarn!

There are so many possibilities for what to do with this new eco fabric… dream up something useful for your new recycled fused plastic!”

Thanks Brooke, This is really cool, green, and inspiring!

All About Brooke, of So She Sews

“Imagine a young Cindi Lauper with Bob Villa composure.
Haha! Ok, well you can already tell that I’m a bit of a jokester. What is life if you can’t have fun, am I right? Basically I’ve been amazingly blessed all my life to pursue having fun for a living. And having fun to me is at the very core of creativity. I adore things with color, difference, functionality and good design. I learned to sew when I was very young, thanks to my amazing Mother (who will appreciate the Bob Villa reference), and I’ve been cultivating it since. I’ve done everything from altering wedding gowns to cutting faux fur all day long as a professional fabric cutter in a mascot costume factory. My education was in Costume Design for Theatre but my passion for vintage fashion has just as much to do with my design style. I care deeply about my impact on the earth, and hope one day to have my own “eco-home” with a little veggie garden in the back, and solar panels to power my sewing machine!”

Work by So She Sews (for dabbled.org article)

Buy her stuff (Pictured above): Owl Purses, Dresses, Wallets

Check her out at
http://soshesews.etsy.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/soshesews/

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12 Comment(s) »

  • Missie/Crafting with Cat Hair [] :

    That is really cool! I usually use my plastic bags to throw out the cat poo, but I might have to take a few and give this a try :)

  • ki kuroiva [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    RT: @DotatDabbled: fused plastic bag tutorial by So She Sews. check it out http://tinyurl.com/p6ymu4 more smart#eco ideas!

  • Tanya [] :

    Cool idea and inspiring me to do something with our plastic bags other than just pick up our dog’s poo – this sounds way more fun :)

  • Birdie [] :

    This is very cool! Love the cupholder idea…one question, though: Have you noticed any fumes from the plastic when you fuse it?

  • brooke [] :

    Hi Dot! Thanks so much for having me here! xoxo!

    About the fumes… a lot of tutorials will “warn” you to do this in a well-ventilated area, etc. Personally, I haven’t noticed anything. The key here is that you’re not heating the plastic so hot that it combusts or burns. Basically you want it to get *just* hot enough to become sticky so that it will stick to the next layer.

    I do work in a fairly small area… with no windows and just one tiny ceiling vent. I’ve never noticed even so much as a smell.

    Now, my hair product sizzling when I use my straightening iron… that’s another story.

  • mariel4985 [] :

    yesss, that is neat! i’ll pass this around to my crafty friends. :D

  • Dot [] :

    So glad you like it!

    and thanks again, Brooke!

  • Mariel Shaw [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    tutorial on how to make fabric out of plastic bags! looks easy and eco-friendly – i dig. RT @DotatDabbled: http://tinyurl.com/p6ymu4

  • PostRank – Crafts [] (elsewhere) discussed this :

    Tutorial – Fusing Plastic (or how to make disposal plastic bags… http://bit.ly/lQLN #postrank #crafts

  • Linda DeJesus [] :

    Hi! Thanks for this great tutorial – I love it!! I will be buying some parchment paper today so I can do this ASAP! I was wondering, though, if you think I could use this fused plastic “fabric” safely as a lining fabric for reusable snack/sandwich bags? I have see other folks say to use the mylar from chip bags, etc…..or PUL fabric…..but this seems like it would be a great alternative as it is more commonly found in my home! We use these basg to transport our food home from the store, so it should be safe to store a PB&J sandwich, right??!! Thanks again – Linda

  • Dot [] :

    Sounds like a good idea. let me know how it goes!

  • Plastic summer | smartliveworld.com [] :

    [...] bag fusing tutorial by So She Sews Image by Dot D Writeup (5/20): http://www.dabbled.org/2009/05/tutorial-fusing-plastic-or-how-to… See the really cool stuff she makes with this! (some [...]