DIY: Plastic Bag Fabric: Reclaiming Plastic Shopping Bags for Good

A wallet made out of fused plastic bags.

Stacie / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Plastic shopping bags are a scourge on the environment. What to do with all those plastic bags that seem to be just hanging around everywhere. One idea that seems to be a hit amongst the DIY and creative arty crowd is to fuse various plastic bags together and make fabric out of them. The basic process is to iron the plastic bags, with a sheet of baking paper between iron and plastic, until two or more sheets fuse together. Sound easy - well in theory it is, but it takes a little practice to get the timing and heat just right. Once you have it down, you can start experimenting with colours and patterns, using the plastic bag labels as decoration. And then you cut, sew, glue or whatever the plastic fabric together to make all manner of things. Such as this plastic bag wallet at Vestal Design, and Karin Carter's SLiK Nonwovens: Textiles made from recycled plastic bags.

We at TreeHugger love to see new uses for all this rubbish, check out previous posts on making cool things from plastic bags such as Anna Roebuck's designs, plastic bags into chairs, plastic jewellery, or try crocheting plastic bags.

Resources for DIY with plastic bags:

how to make plastic bag yarn to knit or crochet
- fusing plastic bags tutorial
- upcycling plastic bags video tutorial