Instructables

How to Fuse Plastic Bags into a Laptop Case

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Picture of How to Fuse Plastic Bags into a Laptop Case
Need a laptop case and want to do your part in saving Mother Earth? Try out this laptop case made from plastic bags.

Watch the episode here or watch below:

 
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Step 1: Materials

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You'll need:
-wax paper
-scissors
-iron
-lots of plastic bags (the crinklier the better)
-Fabric for lining (like an old sweatshirt)

Step 2: Preparing the Bags for Fusing

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Cut off the handles of the bags (but save them for later). Also cut of the very bottom of the bag, getting rid of the seam.

TIP: If there are any logos on the bag, turn it inside out to keep the ink from running

Fold the bags til so there are 8 layers (folding twice will do this)

Step 3: Fusing the bags

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Open up the windows in the room you're in for ventilation and turn on your iron to a medium setting

Tear out two pieces of wax paper that are large enough to cover the plastic you're fusing.

Sandwich your plastic between the wax paper and begin ironing the wax paper, keeping it moving at all times. Iron each side for 20-30 seconds.

Remove the plastic from the wax paper and check for bubbles in the plastic which will lead to holes and tearing down the road for your laptop case.

Repeat this step for about 10 bags

TIP: You can also fuse logos from plastic bags onto your fused plastic

Step 4: Sewing together the plastic bags

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Start by "truing" up the pieces, trimming the edges so they are all straight and even.

Position the pieces to make a rectangle big enough to fit your computer on it twice, with a bit extra for a closure flap. Keep about 2 1/2 in on each side for seam allowance.

Sew pieces together by overlapping them on top of each other and sewing with a zig zag stitch





Step 5: Add lining

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Get your fabric and cut a piece that is the same size as your sewed plastic

Place the pieces together, right sides facing in. Attached them with something that will not puncture them (NO STRAIGHT PINS). Use bobby pins.

Sew the liner and the shell together leaving one end open.
would nordic skate ski glide wax work rather than oil? this is for the parchment paper fusing . it sounds like great idea with undiscovered uses. shinglessound goof, but too many tornadoes and windy days, insulation factor ? almost all of pantaagucci is made from recyclable plastic soda bottles . i go through my buildings trash can near the mailboxes when we get mailed those neatly folder plastic bags that you are supposed to put your old clothed in so the veterans og falling stars or some other organization that sounds like a reputable org,but it is a different company, whose owners tend to be very rich off your donations,which they dell to make rags, at least the clothes.Very low$$ to the recipients. cars 4 kids fall into this too.
i use the prepackaged bags as a emerg rain jacket or more common in my case a ground cloth , for a nap in one of the parks.
i have kilos of glide wax, and a couple good sci wax irons. i cant ski anymore so be nice to find a use.
quangpod3 years ago
Do you have to use new waxpaper each time?
DIY-Guy4 years ago
Nice idea using an iron to bond layers of plastic bags to each other. Can this be scaled up with many layers upon layers until the plastic forms a stiff solid layer? It would be nice to be able to make shingle like pieces of plastic for other projects which need hard sheets of plastic material.
"Shingle like pieces" Hey-I think you just gave me an idea without intending to, DIY-Guy! I found that a sandwich of 2 Wally World Bags folded into quarters was already making me wonder what I could do with those little squares of plastic---Shingles? Hmm- Constructing panels for a Greenhouse? (I doubt the plastic would take the sun over time, guess not that one-tho I am told a coat of paint shields from UV-not sure on that one, either) there has to be loads of stuff other than clothing to do with these plastic bags, right? Keep noodlin'
Nick, enough time has lapsed that I can tell you my choice of words was entirely intentional. The intent was to spread the idea of "shingle-like pieces." Congrats on grabbing the idea which was seeded here on Instructables!

BTW, have you started to finalize the shingles-of-recycled-trashbags idea into a concrete form yet? We'd like to see what you have done, or will do with the idea. :)
That's actually a really clever idea. I'm going to use that for a chicken coop in the future.
flio1914 years ago
another thing, using cheap wax paper with the plastic bags is a baad idea, because the paper can sometimes get fused into the plastic if you pull it off too late, or pull it off too early. I recommend using some oil and using a paper towel to apply onto the wax paper (not the plastic!) before fusing. It does make the plastic a little oily, but it will come off easily with a quick soap wash later.
Thanks for the suggestion!
flio191 flio1914 years ago
oh yeah, also, it makes it so you can reuse the wax paper over and over! last time i did this, i only changed the wax paper... twice or three times!
cyberdove4 years ago
Doesn't the energy used for this project add to your carbon footprint?
Good question.

Which takes more energy though, manufacturing new plastic "fabric" or "shingles"? Or does it take less energy and resources to merely melt some already-manufactured plastic sheets into something usefull?

REDUCE: Check! (No orders are placed for manufacturing new plastic.)
RE-USE: Check! (Bags received previously are being kept and used.)
RECYCLE: Check! (Bags are diverted from landfill back to into products.)

If the concern is about generating a small quantity of heat for recycling, which is better? Landfill? Or recycle?

Or... perform some other act of conservation such as (1.) turning off the computer and Internet connection for enough time to equal the same wattage being used for the plastic fusing process. (2.) Use an existing source of heat instead of an electric iron, such as the bottom of a frying pan immediately after cooking with it. While it is still hot. But that could lead to a larger environmental burden through increased cleanup, greater use of soap, straining the sewer systems with unnecessary water use, etc. (3.) A pre-existing source of heat and an old fashioned non-powered iron could work well together. Some examples would be to use the heat from a vehicle engine to heat an old iron while driving around, or place any kind of iron on top of a wood stove that's being used. (4.) Use the sun and a fresnel lens. Kind of tricky to manage the heat correctly but no so-called carbon "footprint" at all! (Do beware the toxic fumes and pollution which will be worse than any kind of managed and filtered exhaust coming out of your local power company. THEY are regulated and carefully controlled, your aerial toxins would not be filtered, reduced or managed scientifically.) (5.) A glass box type of solar oven might be used to bake sheets together, or again, heat an iron to bring it up to temperature. The solar oven would need 1/2" thick glass but that can be scavenged from a scrapyard. Or put a few sheets of glass on top of each other. Again, no so-called carbon footprint! By the way, I've heard that the jet used by Al Gore has a "carbon footprint" larger than what an average person will use in their entire lifetime! (Sorry Mr. Gore, we're just not buying it.)

After analysis, this fusing of plastic bags project seems to REDUCE so-called carbon "footprints" and should be considered a true eco-friendly manufacturing technique. 5/5 stars for the author! Good job!
;) I love your suggestions for "acts of conservation."

I happen to think that the earth is in a state of dynamic equilibrium...things constantly change, but they ultimately even out.

I do like this tutorial, as I tend to wind up with quite a few plastic bags.
Amzy4 years ago
gonna try it! i think this makes a great christmas gift for my sister xD

just wondering... could I use a tshirt instead of a hoddie?
i dont see why you wouldnt be able to. the sweatshirt is just so you can stuff it. i dont think it matters what kind of fabric you use. just remember, think green
eoutlaw4 years ago
Oh yeah, Wisconsin!
I've been wanting to make a pair of out stitched shoes for some time now, and I'm wondering if this material would be strong enough for the midsole. Does anyone know anything along those lines?
wotot24 years ago
Would Tootsie Roll Wrappers work? or are they to waxy?
bleounis4 years ago
why can't you fuse the already fused plastic sheets together instead of sewing them?
I've done the whole "fusing pieces together" thing before, and though you can do it, it's just a lot harder, and also if you screw up, it makes for a very uneven plastic. also, i think they were going for that look, with the stitching visible.
I agree with you. I just made a bag and seeing the stitching is really nice on the outside. Fusing the plastic together again did not work that well. Also really good parchment paper works well, I used the same two sheets for the whole bag. Great Instructable!
How about making the edges of the fused plastic pieces half the thickness of the middle part,and then fusing pieces like those?The sheet formed should be a perfectly flat sheet if done right.
flio191 csmiler4 years ago
right, if done right is the key thing here. I've tried this, and that too is a little tricky, but with a little practice, it sounds like a good idea! Now the only problem is, if you have any space between the thick part and the thick part where you fused the thin sheets together, you'll end up with a small strip of weaker plastic.

Then again, you could maybe take just one thin piece and lay it on there to make it secure. (just don't spend too much time heating the plastic over and over - overdoing it will start to make the plastic... kinda hard and textured.)
I was asking myself the same question.
NickGriffin4 years ago
I guess I wondered why the careful thought not not use straight pins to keep the pieces together (the red fabric from my Alma Mater) and the plastic, using bobby pins instead-then running a sewing machine (that pokes little holes while sewing) to stitch it together)....ummm...great bag-I need one for my notebook-perfect!
ohhhhh I see now, thanks... Nick...
So what happened with the bag handles we cut of in the beginning????
I think she said to use them in the "stuffing" part of the sewing-where she stuffed one section, sewed it across, then started stuffing another, and sew on, and sew on...
saeslp4 years ago
can the pieces of fused plastic be fused to each other instead of sewn? I have more thumbs than most people.
Fieldownage4 years ago
Probably the best and most hilarious amateur DIY video that I have seen so far. ;)
noahh4 years ago
I have tried this a couple times now, and every time I fail. The wax paper always sticks to the plastic so I can't peel it off without leaving ugly little bits of wax paper! It also always ends up really wrinkly and weird.
I use regular printer paper. It works for me.
i suggest baking parchment paper instead of wax paper. it shouldn't stick
Great idea, I think I will try that soon.
k4m4 years ago
man! that was cool something easy useful and good for the earth thats a nice project
mg0930mg4 years ago
Nice i'ble, using this technique to make a paintball gun case... :)
korvan5 years ago
This is a seriously cool 'able. Will probably try this out on the weekend.
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