In my first Instructable in this series, we made rope making spindles and equipment to make rope indoors and then made a grocery bag rope. However the way most grocery bags are daisy chained, there are knots that show on the rope. The picture is of the rope from the first instructable And while some may find it OK for the knots to be there, some would like to make grocery bag rope that is less “knotty”.
One way to do this is to cut the two half bag rings in half. In other words cut the bag not in half but in quarters. Then double up the chains so that you have a 2-ply strand. The knots are half as big and will show less. Or you can cut the bags into six pieces and make a 3-ply strand. The resulting knots are smaller. The pictures show the results.
Step 2: Folded Loop Daisy Chain
Another way is to make the daisy chain links such that the connections between loops are smaller and will show less. That is done by taking a loop and folding it in half. Then taking another loop and putting it through the fold of the first loop and in turn folding the second loop in half. The pictures will give you a better idea of what I mean. By the way I didn’t figure this out myself. I am not as bright as all that. (The truth hurts sometimes). I saw this in a YouTube video shown here:
For this instructable lets call it a folded loop daisy chain
Step 3: Fused Pieces
As you can see it makes for a much smoother rope with minimal knots showing. I am sure there are more creative ways to minimize the knots but what if you could eliminate the knots all together? Well, you can but it involves a little more work and a few more things which you may already have.
To make grocery bag rope without knots, we have to connect the bag strands together a different way. We will fuse them together with a hot iron, a square rod and some newspaper
. Let’s prepare the bags first. We cut off the handles and bottoms as before but instead of cutting the bags in half to make loops we cut the big loops on one side diagonally at 45 degrees to open them up. See pictures.
Prepare the rod. Take the square rod and wrap the rod with newspaper. The reason is because the fused grocery bag plastic will not stick to newspaper. Now take a piece of news paper and cut it so that it is several inches wider than the iron.
Prepare the iron. What we want is to fuse a small strip of the bags to connect the bags together. The stick is there so that the iron will only heat the width of the stick. We want the iron to be hot enough so that it will accomplish the fusion with one pass forward and back. So use a piece of bag and place it on the stick and cover the stick and paper bag with the strip of newspaper, and then play with the heat settings until all it takes is one forward and back pass of the iron to fuse the plastic bags without ruining it. If you have access to an ironing board pile the cut grocery bags toward the narrow end of the board. The strand will grow and go over the square end of the board.
Step 4: Some Things to Know
The first picture snows the results. A nice even rope with no lumps or knots.
Some things to know.
The second picture snows the comparison of the different ways of making rope with the equipment I showed you how to make. You will see the difference of the knots in each rope. Hopefully you will notice that the ropes are basically the same diameter. That was intentional. That diameter is based on a strand made from a half bag loop.
The different methods required different ways of cutting the bags to get that result. For larger diameter rope just add more loops or what ever your methods starting cut requires.
If you have followed me this far you may be wondering "OK, making rope out of plastic grocery bags is fine but I want to make "REAL" rope with real twine or string". Or maybe you have some very brightly colored yarn that you want to make decorative rope out of for a project you are thinking of.
Lets explore those possibility's in my next instructable.