Introduction: Flowers Made From Plastic Bags

Picture of Flowers Made From Plastic Bags

These are my instructions for making flowers out of old plastic bags.

plastic bags are good because they come in all sorts of colours, are pretty tough and well, if you're making flowers you might as well be green and recycle a bag or two.

This instructable gives the directions for making a rose like the one below.

Step 1: Getting Your Materials Together

Before you start you will need:

- Plastic bags - lots of pretty colours!
- Green string - preferably something quite stiff. I used some plastic parcel string.
- Scissors
- A sewing needle - one with an eye big enough to thread your string through.
- A knitting needle - or anything pointy

You might also want a pen and some sticky tape.

Step 2: Making Petals

Picture of Making Petals

1) Take a plastic bag and cut the handles and bottom off. Now you should have a plastic tube.

2) Cut straight along one edge of the tube to make it into a sheet.

3) Now cut your sheet into strips about 4cm thick (that's about 1.5" in old money).

4) Take a strip and fold in one edge by about 2.5cm (1"). Keep folding it over and over so you end up with a flat roll of plastic.

5) Now cut the roll as shown in the diagram below.

6) Unfold the shape you cut out. You should now have a long strip of petal shapes!

Repeat steps 4 to 6 with another one of the strips you made in step 3. this should give your enough petals to make a good sized flower. You can of course do more, or less, depending on how big you want your flowers to be.

Step 3: Making the Flower.

Picture of Making the Flower.

7) Take one end of the strip of petals and roll it onto the knitting needle. Keep rolling until the whole strip is wrapped around the needle. Add another strip to make the flower head bigger.

Take care to make sure that the bottom edges of the strips line up.

Now carefully remove the knitting needle.

8) Hold the flower head together by pushing the sewing needle through its base.

Step 4: Attaching the Stem

Picture of Attaching the Stem

9) Cut three equal lengths of the green string. Each one should be a little more than twice the length you want your stem to be.

Now take the flower head you just made and remove the needle. Widen that hole with the knitting needle. It needs to be quite big, but take care not to rip the plastic.

10) Now thread each length of string through the hole so that the flower head sits at the midpoint of each.

11) Tie up each string. This holds the flower head together.

12) Now pair up the ends of the original three lengths and braid them together tightly.

13) Before you run out of string, tie the ends together so they wont fray. In the diagram each pair of strings is lettered. Tie pair A to pair B, pair B to pair C and pair C to pair A.

14) Chop off the extra string.

Step 5: Finishing Off and Notes

Picture of Finishing Off and Notes

To finish off your rose, play around with opening out the petals so that they look nice.

Of course you don't have to make a rose, I made a daffodil and another flower by experimenting with different petal shapes and using different coloured strips of bag.

One thing I didn't do, which might be nice, is to cut some smaller green petal shapes to attach at the base of the flower head. This should make the transition from flower to stem a little more realistic looking.

Have fun!


suzysmith24 (author)2015-05-07

(sigh)wish i cud try this but every time i try to get a needle through something,i end up pricking my finger instead so when i saw this tutorial i thought :there will be blood. Hahaha

Nirnaya (author)2014-04-08

Good one. I liked the color of the flower. So pretty.

I tried making the flower in a different way, check it out here

Hope you will like it :)

Grapes Laface (author)2008-08-01

Your colors are so pretty--all of my plastic bags are white. Do you know of any way to color them permanently? (not anything like markers, watercolors etc)

How about spray paint? Not a very green option though :(

Maybe you could try substituting plastic for satin or silk?

i am positive that would work except it wouldnt be quite as green.

True, and you could also use those Debbie Meyer green bags too I guess. It's my understanding that they have some certain number of uses? If you pay money to get them in the first place, this would be a good way of extending their use. I love recycling :D !!

sbraga3 (author)2012-07-19

muio legal!!! amei e já fiz uma, ficou ótimo!

laurelangel (author)2012-05-09

WOW! I thought this flower would flop over and be a waste of space, but I love it. its beautiful! I think using more than one color of bag would be pretty. :)

sunshiine (author)2011-07-18

Totally awesome! Thanks for sharing your hard work and great talent!

cindy12 (author)2011-05-11

This is pretty nice artificial flowers, great tutorials as well.

dblake862 (author)2010-09-17

Thats a really clever idea! And much better then trying to shop for flowers!

shop flowers (author)2010-06-22

So fine! My girl has TONS of colorful bags, I'm gonna' surprise her. That way, I don't have to shop flowers, I can make 'em and RECYCLE at the same time.

connielim_2000 (author)2010-05-09

I loved how you drew out the steps on the white board!  Simple, easy to follow and a totally reduction in actual steps.  Great job!

vadios (author)2010-04-04

Gorgeous  instructable! It would be very nice if you descrie the proces of making 2nd and 3rd variant of flowers in a more detailed way.

deviljyn (author)2010-04-01

EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT tutorial with the drawings thing!!

I want to see more of that technique to teach   :D

KnexFreek (author)2010-02-28

 Awesome!!!!! subbed!!!!!

zascecs (author)2010-02-23

Wow! Very nice! I would have never thought of that, I guess it's a good way of using up plastic bags instead of throwing them away and hurting the Earth.

KMOM14 (author)2010-02-12

Very lovely!  Would not have guessed they were made from plastic bags.

juliemosaic (author)2010-01-16

 Thanks for the easy to follow instructions! Great tutorial.

fifi-folle (author)2009-03-27

Nice one! These are like the tissue-paper flowers I used to make as a child but "green"! I only used two strands of string, giving four lengths for the stem, instead of plaiting/braiding I did knotted the stem as you would with scoobies ( and sewed a brooch back on. I have been making tote bags and looking for a way to decorate them, this'll do nicely. Thank you!!!

Helixthecat (author)fifi-folle2009-08-05

I really like the scoobie idea. I imagine that method is much more supportive than simply braiding the stem like I did. Nice!

got2bskilled (author)2009-07-23

I think this is the best use yet on plastic bags! *****

tina4 (author)2009-07-13

thanks for this idea, i think i will be busy with this now

laenasan (author)2009-02-28

wow! this is brilliant! thanks for this one!

Ma Barley (author)2009-02-02

Watch for a NEW ISLAND TREND on my island of Roatan! These little beauties will be dangleing from the end of the island girls braids!!!

philipwholland (author)2008-12-10

i've done this for many years with paper. the girls dig it, esp with paper cause they know you spent a long time on it, thinking of them the whole time, of course. ; )

Remote Man (author)2008-08-23

Instead of using green sting, i used wire. Looks quite nice and you can bend the stem around things.

candeelady (author)2008-02-29

My Craft BlogThese are great and really pretty. I never see bags in pretty colors, guess I need to shop somewhere besides the grocery store

hungryneedles (author)candeelady2008-08-16

you could use dryer sheets instead of plastic bags. I've painted them with acrylic paints.

bookfreak53 (author)2008-05-16

Thanks! Your diagrams were excellent. I have a hard time "seeing" diagrams, but yours were so clear I can see them. This will be fun to try out. You did good!=)

jppoisl (author)2008-02-13

Those are fabulous - great diagrams as well. Thanks for posting this :).

i make shooting things (author)2008-02-06

Sweet, thanks. Great idea.

teh_trout (author)2008-02-06

ahh yours look so nice. I'm finding this a good bit harder than it looks. Great Instructable with nice pictures though.

flatfootpenguin (author)2008-01-21

very cool its a nice way to do something with the bags and you don't have to dig up the real thing. once more very nice.

Dragonknight (author)2008-01-18

I have to say I'm very impressed not only with the flower project, but your presentation as well! It's really easy to follow, and the whiteboard presentation is pure genius! Well done on both accounts!

inquisitive (author)2008-01-17

Beautiful! Nice project!

quickthinker (author)2008-01-17

that seems a really cool idea making flowers from plastic bags.

Tool Using Animal (author)2008-01-17

Really nice, a few intermediate step photos would be helpful.

Thanks! Yeah, good idea. I'll definitely take some when I make more.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-17

Great job! I love all the pictures, they're very nice. I've seen the "Make flowers out of tissue paper", and stuff like that, but this is awesome! Great job!

Keith-Kid (author)2008-01-17

WOW! Great Instructable! Nice diagrams, although I had just a liitle it of touble with one diagram. Nice effect and relatively easy. Seriously awesome Plus 1

Helixthecat (author)Keith-Kid2008-01-17

Thanks! Which diagram was it? I'll see if I can fix it.

XsimonXcoreX (author)2008-01-17

great use of a common waste product! they look fab

Labot2001 (author)2008-01-17

COOL! amazing idea. i'll have to do this!! 2 thumbs up!!!

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