We used to have a cupboard overflowing with bags but The Man recently cleaned it out. I do not know where all the bags went. I searched around in closets and found enough to make a bag of bags.
Basically the tutorials I found online, including this one, tell you to follow the following simple steps:
- Cut the bottoms and handles off plastic bags.
- Turn the bags inside out so the ink is on the inside, otherwise it will melt on the paper and make a mess.
- Between sheets of wax paper, iron 8 layers of bags until they fuse together. Set the iron on something between polyester and rayon.
- When the plastic is fused, you will have a strong material much like tyvek. Check the fabric for places that did not get fused and try not to over-do the fusing because that will make the material lumpy and hard to work with.
- With the fused fabric, sew whatever you like out of it.
The resulting material is smaller than the original plastic bags and it is stiff. It turned out a bit lumpy and I think there are a few places where the plastic didn't fuse. I figure that for a small shopping bag, this isn't a big deal since the original material was only 1 layer thick and worked just fine for shopping.
To make a bigger bag I would have to sew several fused pieces together. It would be nice to have a full-size bag. Of course this means that I will have to find a way to collect plastic shopping bags. We've already made the switch to reusable bags. It's easy to find plastic shopping bags, though.
It seems to me I could fuse long strips and then weave with it like a basket. Or create very thin strips and twist them to make a sort of twine and weave that. If I had a collection of nicely colored bags instead of the rag-tag bunch of white ones I had with logos on them, I could create nice bags that even my fashion-plate sister would like. If I could get the fusing process down so that it didn't come out so lumpy.
But, best of all, though, since the material created by fusing is so much like tyvek, I could make hiking gear. Perhaps a hydration pack or fanny pack, maybe a dry bag or camera bag, or really funny would be a rain jacket. I ordered a bunch of mosquito netting so that I could sew my own mosquito tent so maybe I can use fused plastic bags for parts of my tent.
Doesn't solve the plastic problem on the Earth, but I feel better about it knowing I can turn something that might otherwise choke and kill birds and turtles into something useful.