For someone who is supposed to be all eco and stuff, I have an embarrassing amount of plastic bags spewing out from underneath my sink. So I decided that my first upcycling project would involve plastic bags.
This project is super easy.
All you need is: Old plastic bags, An Iron, Grease proof paper, A big ish needle, String/thread, Scissors, A Triangle template, Assorted bits to melt inside
1) Open your windows. Seriously. Go and do it now. I am pretty sure that I was more intoxicated during this process than I have been for a looooong time. So be careful. Unless you want to get high (in which case don’t say I never give you anything…)
2) Cut open your bags so they are roughly the same shape. Cut off any ratty, knotted or bunched bits. Lay the bags on top of each other. Between 3 and 6 layers worked best for me. Fewer layers will give a thinner end product with holes. Layering more bags will create a stiffer sheet at the end.
3) Sandwich the bags between 2 sheets of grease proof paper. This bit is really important and will protect your iron.
Iron over the paper, keeping it moving at all times. Watch the edges as the plastic shrinks and sucks inwards. Its weirdly satisfying and engrossing. Or maybe that was the effect of the fumes.
My iron was on the hottest setting but it is ancient, so maybe start cooler then turn up the heat if you need too. You will need to run the iron over the layers a few times to make sure they are bonded together properly. If the iron touches the plastic directly it will sizzle, release a plume of intoxicating fumes, and may ruin your iron. Consider yourself warned.
Allow it to cool a little then lift the grease proof paper and check that the bags have formed 1 sheet of plastic (magic!) and that it is totally smooth. Then remove the grease proof paper…
…Voila you have bonded plastic sheets! Admire your recycled craftiaicious handiwork and give yourself a pat on the back. Or a glass of wine. Although I’m not sure how healthy it is to mix wine and plastic bag fumes.
I learned by accident that you can also melt things into the plastic. Bits of other bags! Sequins! Thread! Love hearts!
You could melt allsorts of other cool stuff between the layers too- like dried flowers, bits of paper or fabric…
6) Make a triangle template then trace triangles onto your plastic sheets and cut them out.
7) Make two holes in the top of each triangle with a sharp object. A hole punch would have been very useful, but apparently I’ve lost mine. The holes need to be big enough to allow the triangle to move in the breeze.
8 ) Thread your string/ thread/ whatever you fancy through the holes.
9) Hang the bunting in your garden on a sunny day (or even a rainy one as they are weatherproof!) and sip cocktails whilst watching your colourful recycled bunting undulate in the afternoon breeze.
Watch this space for more recycling ideas soon!
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