I have an obsession that I just have to share. Have you heard of fusing plastic using grocery bags? Have you tried it? I am addicted to it and have made oodles of little make-up bags and things with it. I just can't get enough of it. It's like creating your own plastic fabric.
I have lots of little holiday ideas to share with you this season. Starting with gift bags that have endless uses (plus will hold stocking stuffer treats). All you need are a bunch of plastic grocery bags, parchment or wax paper, scissors and an iron (and ironing board).
This little bag here is sort of the alternative to a traditional holiday stocking, so the recipient can continue to use it all year, in all of its green crafted glory ;)
I began my project by fusing plastic together. There is a great video tutorial for fusing plastic bags that you should watch, right here. I am not responsible if you burn something or hurt yourself, so pretty please, be careful ;) - and make sure you do this in a well ventilated area.
What you need are eight layers of plastic grocery bags, that you sandwich between parchment paper (or wax paper), and then iron with a hot iron on each side. Make sure you sandwich the plastic between parchment or wax paper, or you will have a mess of melted plastic on your iron and board.
What I do is cut off the bottoms and handles of 4 grocery bags, which makes them able to open up to a bigger size...
To get this grayish/beige color I used brown and white plastic bags. Make sure to turn your bags with print inside out, after you have cut the handles and end strip off.
Then put your eight layers of plastic in between your paper.
Start to iron your plastic over the paper, evenly. And here is where my tips get important. The first time I tried this I found out that, it took longer than expected to fuse the plastic together even though my iron was on the hottest setting. But, test this, as your iron might be calibrated differently than mine.
Also, the plastic will shrink more than expected, so don't be surprised at that because I was ;)
You may have to iron both sides more than once. That is a-okay. I just keep flipping it over and ironing until it is fused. And trust me, you will know when it is fused. It will be one solid piece of plastic fabric that will make you so happy you will have to do an Irish jig right there and then.
You should have no bubbles between your layers (you WILL have wrinkles here and there though, that is normal).
You can check it over and over as you iron, just be careful because the plastic is hot.
When you are done, you are left with this -
Bendable, sewable, cuts like butter - plastic fabric...
I folded my fused piece in half, sewed three sides together with the zigzag setting on my sewing machine, then trimmed the edges with scalloped scissors. I also added a little hanging loop on the side, made from the scraps I trimmed off after sewing.
Once my bag was sewn and ready to be decorated, I made 3 paper flowers to embellish my bag with. I used some other fused plastic I had made, a brown paper bag scrap and a used coffee stained coffee filter (which I rinse, save and dry after we make coffee) to make the flowers.
To make similar paper flowers (or snowflakes), feel free to use the paper flower tutorial I shared with you earlier in the year, right here.
This is how the back of my wee creation looks. I love the print there. It makes it look like a burlap sack in a way...
My goal was to make a green craft out of trash really. Practically free, with a fabulous outcome. Of course, you can use anything you want to embellish your gift baggie.
You can even make an actual christmas stocking using fused plastic bags if you want. I chose this bag, which you can add a flap or zipper to, so that my recipients can use them throughout the year.
You will love working with the fused plastic, I tell you, it is so easy and plyable to work with, I just love it. (I have been experimenting with melting other items into the plastic as well as working on bigger projects. You can make endless items, just as you could with regular fabric, only this is waterproof! See example here...)
So, getting to the embellishing part. I hot glued the 3 paper flowers to the front of this gift bag, layer by layer.
Then I raided my rusty things jar in order to find a centerpiece.
I chose a flattened red bottle cap, and then placed a green felt ball in the center. I hot glued them together as well. Pressing down on my center-piece inside and out to make sure it all stuck together well, and it did.
It was so easy and so much fun-
That I can't wait to make more!
After you make your gift bag feel free to print out my free handmade labels to attach to your baggies. Don't forget, all my freebies to date, are kept in the freebie section of my blog, that is located in the right hand side bar.
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE PDF of sheet below (give file a few seconds to open)
Also, if you say howdy in the comments section of this post, I will add your name to a hat-
Because I will be sending this little gift bag full of wacky little things to one of you ;) - I will draw a name in a couple of days.
So, there you have it, our first fun craft for the holiday season. And green to boot!
With that I will skedaddle, but will see you ever so soon.