Picture of Plastic Bag Fabric!
In this tutorial I will show you how to create a kind of fabric from a plastic bag. Disclaimer:this is not my idea this was originally on make podcasts.

Step 1: Parts list

Picture of Parts list
To make your fabric you will need: A plastic bag (of course), an iron ( the ones you do laundry with), wax paper, and an ironing board. (Lovely assistant optional) May I remind you wear proper respiratory protection and use a well venelated area. This may do the same harm as spray painting, breating in or sniffing a sharpie.
1-40 of 75Next »
CoralL11 months ago

Is there any smell when you melt the plastic? Even not noticeable, can anyone with Chemistry background tell if this process is not harmful to health?

ratgirl131 year ago
This is fantastic! Just finished making some. Going to save up more bags so I can make a tote bag. Checked out your profile, see you are from Kingman. I live in Golden Valley! Hope you made it through high school!
Thanks for the great 'ible
kirnex2 years ago
I love your assistant! That totally made my day. I think you should make him/her some clothes, though. Maybe a recycled plastic raincoat.
gingerandtu6 years ago
so I have been researching food safe plastics. I found that most shopping bags are made from #2 HDPE plastic, which is FDA approved food safe. Do we think it is safe to use these fused bags for food storage?? Anyone??? Thanks!
Thanks for that info! I wonder if using those green produce bags you get at the store might be great for this. I'm thinking of making a silverware liner for my silver chest. I wonder if it will keep it from tarnishing as quickly. Also, what a fab idea for a liner for a potato (and other root vegetables) bin. I bet using the green bags will help them keep longer. See what your comment has inspired?
Lego man (author)  gingerandtu6 years ago
.Yeah I'm pretty sure. It doesn't change the molecular structure (thats what i was told) so it should be as safe as using a new plastic bag.
(seabear)5 years ago
can the fabric be dyed?
No...it's plastic. But it can be colored with a sharpie or other solvent-based marker prior. The heat will seal the color in. :)
gkelly53 years ago
Thank you! I thought the tutorial was quite clear. In fact, I made a grocery tote bag today. It took me about 4 hrs from start to finish including ferreting about for the bags and re-doing the handles which were a bit short first time round. Now that I know the process, the next one will be a lot quicker. My husband has already put his order in for one ;o) My tote used up 20 supermarket bags and is slightly larger than a supermarket bag. It's not the most stunning bag in the world, but it's serviceable and strong. The fused bag "fabric" resembles the plastic tarps you can get in the $2 shops, but not woven, obviously. I didn't have any stuff-ups fusing the bags. I used the cool end of the wool setting on my iron, since there is no rayon setting, and I used baking paper which I guess is the same as parchment paper, to sandwich the bags between when ironing.
recycled grocery bags project 11.jpg
kirnex gkelly52 years ago
Awesome job on that! You could also always use duct tape inside the bag to reinforce it for heavy duty jobs. Your bag turned out marvelously, though.

How did you connect your seams? I'm going to try my hand machine sewing some of this fabric for the same purpose.
What's it like? Canvas, or more like a cotton? Maybe it's flexible enough to use like a furoshiki, but if not it's a creative replacement for the bags grocery stores and the like sell.
Ronyon4 years ago
Ive been looking for large, clear and cheap plastic panels,and this could be just the ticket!
timewarp715 years ago
Hi guys ! just found this site and I love it.....I am gonna try adding wax crayon shavings and see if i can add some "confetti" in the bags this way. I will let you know when i try it and see what the outcome is. I have made wallets, carrier bags, camping placemats and a liner for under my tent with this stuff. If you fuse the fabris with an iron instead of sewing, it prvents holes and makes this fabric virtually waterproof. Happy crafting.
casey321b7 years ago
can you use freezer paper rather than wax paper?
Freezer paper has plastic on one side (instead of wax) and this might fuse to your sheets. There are instructables that use freezer paper as a stencil, which is then ironed on to fabric to temporarily adhere to the t-shirt or whatever. It still might be worth a try, and maybe having a paper layer on the outside of the fabric would work okay/look nice. I might give this a go myself.
Lego man (author)  casey321b7 years ago
I haven't tried that yet because I have no freezer paper so you can tell me how it works if you try it. Parchment paper works best I believe.
akaleeroy5 years ago
Be careful about burning plastic!

Does anyone know if it's a problem when melting them together?

I suppose only when you burn thru and you create fumes, but we'd like some guidance here from somebody who knows this stuff...
Lego man (author) 7 years ago
I only have time to work on these things on Fridays because on Fridays I have no school. And also I'm on a First robotics team GO TEAM 60 YAAAA!!!! and Team 987.
TEAM 2090!!!! I know someone on that team.
Lego man (author)  robotguy45 years ago
Which person may i ask?
No one you know, probably. Its a Hawaii team.
Lego man (author)  robotguy45 years ago
Well i knew that with a quick internet serach :P what i meant is who did you know :P
Oh, cool. I'm in FIRST, too. Go team 1123!
peytonjr6 years ago
how stiff or flexible is the finished product?
its not bad if you do 8 ply its strong and flexibl but 64 cant move well :)
ok cool. Im thinking of making some of this and then vacuum forming it :D
Zem6 years ago
Nice way to recycle plastic bags! But what do you do with the scraps? (Handles and bottom)
animan1 Zem6 years ago
toss them into a pile then make a collosse
Lego man (author)  Zem6 years ago
Sometimes I fuse them into strips and if i need a strengthened piece of fabric i will fuse it to that to reinforce like "re-bar"
Zem Lego man6 years ago
Oooh, cool thanks.
whooooo! go MAKE! i saw the podcast then made this for biking. The podcasts were so much better with Bre. When i have some free time i'm gunna start on a different type of messenger bag.
Lego man (author)  pyrotechnical6 years ago
Yeah it was better when Bre was in it cause not all his projects were from MAKE magazine. I like Kipkays vids because i got to see how either how the project i wanted to do turned out or help me with things i didn't completely understand.
teoeva6 years ago
I'm just wondering about making that kind of fabric more resistant.... what about using the same "structure" of duct tape? plastic - fabric net - plastic could work good a fabric reinforcing will make it more resistant ...
Lego man (author)  teoeva6 years ago
Hmm I have never thought about that. That sounds like a good plan if you can get the fabric net into the plastic, I'm pretty sure it would work if you put the net in between 2 pieces of the plastic then fused it together. I will have to try it myself......Usually I will use the scraps as reinforcement but its prolly not as good as a net and it doesn't make the fabric as flexible.
RadiantLux6 years ago
I've been crocheting plarn into purses. The drawback is that crocheted things have lots of holes. Certain items might fall through the bottom of the purse. I wonder if this "fabric" would make a nice purse liner?
Lego man (author)  RadiantLux6 years ago
Yes it works very nicely as one if you are able to make it with no holes and to the right dimensions inside the purse. I recently made one for the plastic bag purse i made for my sister and it even waterproofed the inside.
seejanerun6 years ago
i have never heard of this....very neat. the one thing i would say that would be helpful is how this would be helpful, say like what you would use plastic fabric....
What can I use this for.
anything, use your imagination. think something up. while reading this instructable, i though of almost 15 things to do with it. -gamer
mind posting them?
1-40 of 75Next »