With more and more fashion designers looking to use recyclable materials in the making of their clothes it only makes sense to fuse plastic together to create new and unique textiles. Yard lengths of material can be made from fusing plastic trash together so that they take on a vinyl-like texture durable enough to withstand being fed through a sewing machine. Follow the steps below to learn some pretty cool ways to create your own recyclable trash bag clothing and accessories.
What You’ll Need:
1 box of plastic trash bags of your size, color and choice. Even fragrance does not matter. Different types of plastic bags produce different patters. For example, stretch bags create a texture similar to tires.
1 Kitchen Table, Craft Table or other large surface
1 Flat bed sheet
1 large, fluffy towel
A Minimum of 1 ream of printer paper or a roll of white craft paper. If you’re using black trash bags then newspaper is acceptable.
Begin by folding your flat bed sheet in half and then in half again. Spread it out flat on the table and smooth any wrinkles from underneath.
Fold the towel in half. Lay it on top of the bed sheet and smooth out any wrinkles. The texture of your towel will help add to the texture of the final product.
If you’re using standard 81/2 X 11 copy paper then you want to lay your paper out in two rows on top of the towel. With a twin size sheet you should be able to lay out two rows of paper 8 across. Do not leave any spaces or gaps between the pieces of paper. Overlap the edges by about an inch to keep any gaps from opening during the fusion process.
Unfold a trash bag but do not open it. Keep with the folds of the bag so the layers stay stuck together. Lay the plastic bag down on top of the sheets of paper. Make sure that there is at least 2 inches of paper showing around all four sides of the trash bag. Smooth out the excess wrinkles but don’t worry about a little here and there, it adds to the texture.
Stack two more trash bags on top of the first one. Just unfold like before and continue the process until you have three bags stacked on top of each other. Don’t get nitpicky about the edges because you’ll find that none of the bags are exactly the same size.
Once your bags are stacked lay another row of paper on top of the bags. Again overlap the edges and make sure at least 2 inches of paper sticks out over the edges of the trash bags.
Setting the iron is probably the hardest part of fusing plastic together. Different trash bags come in different weights and thicknesses. A lighter plastic will require a lower setting on your iron. I found that the small colored trash bags fused well when I set my iron on 3 with no steam. Standard white kitchen trash bags fused together perfecting at the 5 setting and black lawn and garden trash bags required a setting of 9. All irons are different though so you’ll need to experiment with your iron to get the desired setting. Just don’t add water. Steam will melt the plastic fairly quickly.
Once you have your rows of copy paper laid on top of the plastic, begin to iron. Move the iron swiftly around, up and down and across the plastic. Do not let it sit in one place. That will melt the plastic to the paper. After you have ironed one particular spot about four seconds set the iron aside and peek under the paper.
Keep the iron moving and iron the entire piece of plastic. When you are done you should have a large square of material that somewhat resembles vinyl.
To make larger sheets of material simply stack two, already fused, sheets of plastic on top of each other. Cover with paper and iron only one edge. Try to iron in small at about ½ of an inch. Continue to repeat the process to accumulate yardage.
That’s all there is to it. Now you can make material to make curtains, shower curtains, book covers, purses, wallets, clothes, belts, you name it. Have fun.