Instructables

Recycle plastic grocery bags, wire hangers and newspaper into Loons!

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Picture of Recycle plastic grocery bags, wire hangers and newspaper into Loons!
You can make a loon, or any other wee beastie out of things you would normally throw out! Absolutely no harmful ingredients are used!

Did you know that well over 90% of plastic grocery bags go into landfills each year? You can do your bit to re-use and recycle them. There are the normal ways - i.e. use them again, or give them up all together by using cloth bags. However, here's one off-beat way to use them up and create something completely different! You can use them when making papier-mache loons. Of course you will need a few other rubbish things too....

Don't forget when 1 ton of plastic bags is reused or recycled, the energy equivalent of approxmately 11 barrels of oil are saved! Save the world, make loons...

I would encourage everyone to shop at grocery stores where you can bring your own bags (and maybe get 5 cents back per bag in the process!)
 
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Step 1: Things you will need!

Loons and other critters can be made out of things you would normally throw out, plus a few other things you will have around the house.

You will need
Lots of old newspapers
Lots of old plastic grocery bags (don't you hate these?)
One(or maybe two)nasty wire hangers from the dry cleaners
A few small pieces of cardboard from old boxes, i.e. cereal boxes, cat food boxes, or any old box you could normally recycle.
Flour, salt and water from your kitchen.
Masking tape (you probably have some lurking in the basement!
You can even use the empty roll of tape for strengthening the neck!)
A mixing bowl
Patience!
(and a few old paints and paint brushes to finish off!)

Not needed - anything harmful or toxic!
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BalbirS7 days ago

we need to make carry bags of approx size 9x12 inches with a handle to replace plastic bags for carrying light items under 2 lbs.

we desperately need your help as these are made by widows here in india to earn a little instead of being dependent on others charity

kutedymples2 years ago
I don't come here much but I am going to have to start. I ran across a photo for the Loon project on Facebook and I have been sitting here looking at photos and reading comments for the last hour and still didn't read them all. Incredible project though, I have always tried to make things from scraps and what other people would call trash. But there is "Trash" and then there is trash. LOL I know that make no sense but I just got done going through my useable trash and although I had changed my mind about keeping about half of what I had there is a project sitting here right in front of me with the half that I decided to keep. I really love the way you painted the two loons and put them on a sign for your house. I have even used watered down elmers glue (when I am out of varnish) to go over your sign a good time or two it will with stand the weather much better than if you didn't use it. I use that it really helps keep in nice longer and although it is not completely immersible you can wipe it down to keep it clean without having to worry about smearing the paint off too. Ok, sorry for the long comment, I get carried away. Nice project though!
Pixi LaRue2 years ago
How wonderful! I have wanted to do a large scale paper mache sculpture, just couldn't come up with the "filler" over the armature. Think of the potential projects...my mind is racing. Thank you for sharing.
linacrespo4 years ago
Cat opcional? jjajajjaa lovely!
RoyalPayne4 years ago
Have you tried a swan? That's what I see from your basic 'loon' shape
aje1274 years ago
I would love to make some creatures for my landscape...can this be weatherproofed?
olliesha5 years ago
i was thinking, you could maybe use a toiler paper or paper towel roll to help with the neck base as well.
stinkymum (author)  olliesha5 years ago
Yes, I think I did actually use a toilet paper roll for this.
dakellymon6 years ago
I love your Loon, I am going to have to make some of these next summer with the kids at the Library in Northern Wisconsin.
slarmstead6 years ago
This is one of the coolest recycling/crafting ideas I have ever seen! I'm always interested to see how people turn trash into treasure; it inspires me! I can't wait to try this with my son. If I can get my act together in time perhaps our friends and relations will be receiving papier mache critters for Christmas this year!
IX Smith XI6 years ago
This is grate for hunting.XD
halolord6 years ago
wow that is awsome i am going to try it do you have the instructable to make the snake?!!!!!!!
sweet thanks for the pics lol
stinkymum (author)  halolord6 years ago
Here are a couple of photos showing the snake from different angles - hope this helps and you have fun making your snake.
giant ice 005.jpggiant ice 004.jpg
stinkymum (author)  halolord6 years ago
Get two wire hangers and bend them together round into a spiral like in the photo. Make sure that the spiral will stand up without wobbling. Elongate the top part to make the neck rising up (have the two hangers separate here to make the open mouth) and then cover all over with plastic grocery bags and bind them and cover them completely with masking tape to make the snake shape. Then you can papier-machie over the shape (about 4 layers is good). They you are ready to paint. I used the pointed ends of two wooden skewers to make the teeth and glued them on with a glue gun! The snake did have two polystyrene discs as eyes - but they fell off and got lost!
(removed by author or community request)
stinkymum (author)  DELETED_craz meanman6 years ago
I love them so much, I painted a new sign for my house! We get the real loons in the winter on Long Island Sound.
loon sign.jpg
Lego man6 years ago
The duck on step 15 looks like duck-lemon!
are you sure? he he nice observation
stinkymum (author)  duck-lemon6 years ago
May be your evil twin!
duck lemon.jpg
wait.. oh no... it can't be, freddy is that you, my long lost *goody two shoes* twin who left at the age of three to join the traveling flower aranging crew!
i thought i would never find you again!
lol comments are fun.
All it needs is a graduation cap!
stinkymum (author)  Lego man6 years ago
That shall now be his name!
Swert6 years ago
You have a lot of free time on your hands, don't you?
stinkymum (author)  Swert6 years ago
Free time!? I'm much too busy making loons, knitting, painting and taking photographs and travelling to exotic places to have free time! (then of course there's all the housework and shopping that has to be fitted around that!) Best wishes from a very busy Stinkymum!
Sunbanks6 years ago
Those are all so cool! I really like the zebra and the elephant. Great instructable!
Cute duckie +1 vote
stinkymum (author)  thermoelectric6 years ago
Thank you!
i just asked her and she loves it
glad to help my mum will like the design to make things out of shes arty
Charles IV6 years ago
How long does it take the paper-machie to dry?
stinkymum (author)  Charles IV6 years ago
One coat takes overnight in the boiler cupboard (when the heating is on, evening and morning). One coat takes a day in warm sun. If you dry inside without any heating it will take up to three days per coating. I recommend at least 3 coats of the papier mache, before you sand and paint.
StarBlades6 years ago
i like the duck
+1 vote =)
save the world!
stinkymum (author)  StarBlades6 years ago
The duck was my favourite too, but now I have actually finished the instructable loon, that is my new favourite!
Stinkymum, this is the cutest idea! I love your zebra too - how did you do that one?!?
stinkymum (author)  chinasmom20006 years ago
This was just made from plastic grocery bags, which I scrunched up into the zebra shape (I have a china zebra which looks just like it and I copied the shape from that) I made the front feet, tail and ears out of bits of kitchen roll cardboard. I then covered it all with the masking tape and moulded it into shape until it looked right. Then I papier mached as shown in the instructable. There was no wire hangar in this one.
Glow Gal6 years ago
Wow!!! This is a really original design! They all look great! I was wondering, how long did it take you to do? (I know that it would depend on the shape that you made...) +1 rating +1 vote
stinkymum (author)  Glow Gal6 years ago
They don't take long to make. The part that takes the longest is the drying out of the papier mache, and having to do at least three coats (say 3 days for that). Then there is the painting, which always takes me a while to get it right. One loon took longer last year, as I left it out all night on the patio table by mistake and in the morning it was lying on the ground with its throat torn out! I had to do major repairs! Obviously the smell of the flour and water paste attracted something hungry. But it was odd that whatever it was, went for its throat! It must have got a nasty shock and a mouthfull of plastic!
kimland6 years ago
thank you for this lovely instructable! I think this would be a really fun use of old plastic bags and a fun activity for my daughter this summer.
stinkymum (author)  kimland6 years ago
This is a great outdoor activity, although it's not that messy inside either. (The middles of toilet rolls and kitchen towel rolls come in handy too, for strengthening and shaping) I am sure you and your daughter will have fun (and help keep the bags and hangers out of the landfill)!
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