There are a lot of tutorials for fusing plastic bags, but I get asked frequently for directions so I figured there must be room for one more. I have noticed every tutorial I read has differences and my method is not exactly the same as any others. I have done a lot of trial and error and this is what I consider the best, most efficient method with the best results. For this tutorial I will show how to make an appliqued zippered cosmetic bag from fused plastic.

Step 1: Materials List

This is all you need to start fusing:

1. an iron
2. a hard heat-resistant surface like a wooden cutting board
3. baking parchment paper.
4. Some plastic bags! There's no shortage of those in the world, unfortunately.
For this project you need white 3 grocery type bags, some small scraps of colored plastic bags, and one thin clear bag such as a dry cleaning bag or newspaper delivery bag.
5. scissors

For the sewing part of the project you need:
A 7 or 9 inch zipper,
a sewing machine

Difficulty level: easy, but time consuming
Basic sewing skills required (straight lines, nothing fancy)

Thank you so much for your amazing in-depth tutorial I made one tonight and it came out perfect!!
<p>Does it matter whether it's a steam iron or not?</p>
Hi there, great tutorial! I'm just wondering... What size needle do you use for sewing fused plastic bags?
Thank you for this. It made my first attempt at this project a breeze and slightly impressed the wife! hehe
so, what do i do about the logo and design already on the bag? i dont want it showing through and looking tacky....
Hi very nice job, compliments. <br>I would like to customized with my brand and put it on my website with your name, link. I am Italian and I live in Denver, Colorado. <br>Would you contact me at lori.venturi@gmail.com <br>Thanks <br>Loredana
Eco-friendly, good looking and uploaded to instructable, what else do you want? ;)
Thank you for recommending bags with recycle codes 2 and 4. That will be very helpful!
thanks a lot! I want to try too! but I m just wanted to ask you if they are hard-wearing (for example to carry groceries) and if they last long time. <br>but sure they look too cool!
Darling idea! Can't wait to try it! <br>
I love this... I cant wait to make my first shoulder purse with this process.. Do you think the thicker white or black trash bags will work for this ? I would love to have a black shinny purse with my own design in red and white on it... What about grommets , Do you think they would tear the plastic and not stay in ? <br>You do such a wonder job with this fusing process .. It's different ... you do a wonderful job and all the different things you create are great... keep up the tutorials and your tips are so helpful , thank you for sharing ... Janey
Absolutely, positively brilliant!!! thanks so much :)
Never thought to describe cutting hearts as you did. An ice cream cone. Love it :] Great 'idble! going to make some myself. Im tired of bringing the bags back to the recycle box at the supermarket lol :]
These bags look great. Very finished looking, with creative designs.<br><br>I love your suggestion of using french fry bags and such, but I have to say I'm a little disappointed to see so many of these fused bag instructables suggesting the use of plastic shopping bags. Reusing plastic that is harder to avoid, such as chip bags, seems like a great way to not send more trash to the landfill or recycling center. Shopping bags and produce bags can be used again though, or just not taken in the first place. I'm not knocking your i'ble here at all, I just hope it doesn't encourage people to go out and take more plastic bags than they normally would, just so they get fun patterns or whatever for their recycled, earth-happy bags.
Very Cool!
Excellent 'ible, thanks! Very clear instructions and inspiring results - definitely a favourite :)
hi can i use butter paper instead of parchment baking paper
hi can i use butter paper
This looks like a very fun project!&nbsp; Thanks for sharing!<br />
Does anyone know if this works with Ziplock Baggies? I have zillions of these and wash and reuse them to death... but would be great to put them to rest in something pretty!<br />
I wish to thanks people publishing instructables about this plastic bags reusing methods as my organisation is setting workshops about it in Nairobi slums... In the name of NGO ni Wewe and the benefitor of those workshops, thank you.<br />
<p>After reading your instructable, I added this project to a Go Green Art Camp for five to ten year olds.&nbsp; They thought it was amazing.&nbsp; I agree.&nbsp; Worked great. Thanks.</p>
Atbirthday parties kids use thee little thin plastic bags to pick up the candy h<br /> ttp://www.dollartree.com/new-arrivals-seasonal/Christmas/Christmas-Tableware/Bakery-Bags/215c319c326p303435/index.pro?method=search <br /> like this, would that work ok for the top layer for decoration on the outside of the purse?<br /> <div id="refHTML">&nbsp;</div>
does this also work with stiffer &/or thicker bags? I eat a lot of "pre-washed" produce (cut up broccoli/cauliflower/carrot mix, e.g.) & always feel a little ashamed at the non-recyclable bags (6-7 a month of the 2 lb size). Also, frozen foods come in thicker bags (like peas & spinach, I mean). Kind of scared of the fumes so I'd rather not experiment if you already know they won't fuse properly. thanks for the great pix!
Yes it works with thicker bags, you just use fewer layers. I have used the bags from Ore Ida frozen potatoes and they work very well. You only need 2 layers for that and it fuses up really nicely.<br />
thanks eclipsed! for the info without the value judgements.<br />I have lots of graphics of fruits &amp; veg that I hope will&nbsp;make a groooovy market tote.
<strong>i really want to make one of these on this boring summer day.</strong><br/>hahahaha.<br/>but, i dont have parchment paper. i tried to use wax paper but it didnt make the two layers stick.....<br/><br/>any suggestions<strong></strong><br/>
I suggest to go and get some parchament paper. It makes the project much easier.<br />
This is the most thorough tutorial I have seen on fusing plastic bags. Thank you for all the experimenting you've done. Invaluable.
I wish I had seen your tut first! I just made a makeup pouch out of (what I thought was) fused plastic...followed another set of directions that said to stack at least 6 layers all at once. I didn't realize until over halfway through hand-stitching some cut strips together that the middle of my layers fused very little if at all and started coming apart in my hands. I'll be sure next time to do only a couple of layers at a time! Thanks for the tips!
That is what happens to me too, if I try to do all the layers at once. A lot of directions say that but it's never worked for me. The heat just doesn't penetrate that deep. Doing 2 layers at a time takes a bit longer but you get a better result, IMO.
Hi! I'm new here. Why zipper? try stick-velcro. Much easier. Thanks for your tutorial.
I like zippers better for several reasons. They look nicer, close more securely, don't make that ripping noise, and don't get all kinds of fuzz stuck to them like velcro.
Definitely beautiful and inspiring! Made my first one last week :-)
hey nice tutorial, we hav a plastic bag art comp at skl n I was strugglin 4 ideas. quick question: cud u fuse the seams? I know there is a danger of the bag stickin together but if u put somthin inside (like a piece of metal covered in baking paper) then do u reckon of wud work? cheerz for the great ible xxx
I made one. Mine didn't turn out very well. I had trouble with the zipper, so the top looks funny. It also stinks really bad so i sprayed perfume inside it and zipped it up. Otherwise this is a fun easy and useful project!! =]<br/>
As I read about lengthening the stitch to prevent perforating a "tear line" in your project, I wondered if after stitching a seam, could you fuse a piece of plastic over it to seal the seam ?
Yes you could do that and it would make the seam waterproof as well. Depending on the complexity of the item though, and the placement of seams, it might be difficult to iron on every seam.
Your bags are beautiful. Very inspiring, I can't wait to try this out. For the clear plastic overlay, could you use the plastic veggie bags from the produce section? Thanks for the instructable.
Yes! Those thin plastic produce bags are a good choice, they don't obscure any of the colors or design.
Thanks for the instructions, I've been wanting to do this for awhile, I'll have to give it a try with your detailed instructions.
I was convinced to (successfully) try plastic bag fusing reading another instructable but your instructions and photos on fusing are excellent and can only help improve my technique, <strong>thank you</strong>. My 1st and only attempt thus far was to cut open a thin grocery bag and fold it over on itself. This allowed me to have 5 layers of plastic bag vs the usual number of even layers of &#8220;4 or 6&#8221; layers used. <br/><br/>I used the cheapest computer printer I had instead of the &quot;cooking parchment paper&quot; above and below the the plastic sheets and I also placed several layers of newspaper between my bottom sheet of computer printer and the ironing board for better thermal insulation. I didn't want to lose heat to the cloth covered metal ironing board. <br/><br/>These 20 or so sheets of newspaper made for a &#8220;soft&#8221; surface to fuse the plastic bag sheets and worked well as an experiment to learn the fusing technique.<br/><br/> I'm amazed at how thin, strong and flexible the 5 thin sheets of plastic now into one sheet of plastic bag has become after fusing! I wonder what the different results would be ( if any) using your idea of a stiff thick wooden cutting board and no newspaper insulation? I will try that and give the results here.<br/>
<strong>2nd Try: </strong>Setting the iron to the &#8220;silk&#8221; setting, using NO newspaper or computer paper under the plastic bags as they rested on the plywood sheet made it difficult to get the temp right .. No fusing at all or melting holes in the plastic sheets.<br/><br/><strong>3rd Try:</strong> Same 1/4&#8221; plywood sheet PLUS 10 layers of newsprint PLUS 2 large sheets of computer paper (Top and bottom). <br/><br/>The computer paper sheets were taped together with Scotch Brand tape at a few places to minimize their relative motion to each other. These two larger sheets of computer paper ( each made of 4 sheets taped together) &#8220;sandwiched&#8221; the 4 layers of plastic bags between the newspaper and the iron. See photo for details. <br/><br/>Adding the newsprint and the computer paper &#8220;sandwiched&#8221; made fusing easier and gave more control ( no holes this time). <br/>
I think the silk setting is too cold, I would recommend the polyester setting, it should be like one notch higher than silk. And always use paper below and above the plastic. If you don't use paper below then the plastic may stick to your board. I also would not iron directly on scotch tape. Tape is made of plastic with a layer of glue, and the hot iron can melt the plastic or make the glue get gooey. If either of these get on your iron, it's difficult to clean off.
im always looking for new ways to make bags. i make knitted and wool 'felting' bags as well as sewn bags but this is amazing. i want to try this as soon as i find my iron >__> now where did that go?
this is so great! thanks for the tutorial-- i can't wait to try it! :)
OK this excellently written tutorial has pushed me over the edge, I'm definitely going to try fusing plastic now. Good job!
This is actually /way/ easier than the other way I was going to try. Thanks so much for posting! :D
that's just awesome! I especially love the ore-ida bag!

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