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This is an easy way to recycle. It is a simple plastic bag bag that only requires a basic knowledge of two words: over and under. The only materials that you need can be found in almost any home and the end product is useful, not just something pretty that sits on a shelf.
 
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Step 1: What You'll Need

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For this bag you'll need:
1. An ample supply of plastic bags
2. Cardboard ( a little bit bigger than your finished bag)
3. Scissors
4. Yarn
5. Duct Tape (any color, I just happened to have teal)

Step 2: Make Your Loom

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Take your card board and cut small slits on the top and bottom sides. They should be about half an inch apart and both sides should be identical. Its fine if they're not, but it makes it a little bit easier if they are.

Step 3: Threading your Loom

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Now you are going to add the warp threads to your loom. The warp threads are the ones that run vertically across your loom, later you will weave the weft threads on (plastic bags). This is where your yarn comes in. You're going to need a lot so don't cut your piece off until your done threading. Take the end and stick it through one of the end slots and wrap it around the slot. Next hook it over the corresponding slot. Turn your loom over and hook your yarn through another slot. Keep going like this until you've used all the slots up. Wrap the final end around its slot. I know that all that sounds confusing, but hopefully my pictures will help.

Step 4: Making your "Yarn"

Take your plastic bag and lay it out flat, with the side seams tucked in. Cut off the bottom and the handles so that you are left with a plastic tube. You can weave these in later. Fold your bag length wise and cut it into pieces about an inch and a half wide. Once you unfold and cut these, they will be your yarn. (They will be loops until you make a small cut, the pictures will explain more)

Step 5: Shuttles!

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This step is totally optional, but it makes weaving a whole lot quicker! Some people like using shuttles and others don't, so its your choice. A shuttle (in this case) is a piece of left over cardboard that is the same length as your loom. You use it like your plastic bags. Once you're done with a side and you flip your loom over to keep going, set your plastic aside and pick up your shuttle. Weave with it like you would with the plastic bag. Once you have it woven through turn it on its side and pull your plastic through! (I know that wasn't very clear, but it was the only way I could think of explaining it. Hopefully the pics will help.)

Step 6: Begin Weaving!

Now you will start adding your weft threads (a.k.a. plastic bag strips). Take the end of one plastic bag strip and hook it through the same slot that you hooked your yarn through. Take the other end and weave it through the warp threads. (Over, under, over, under). When you get to the edge, note whether you went over or under last and do the opposite on the other side. When you get to the end of one, tie on another and keep going. This is where it gets tedious, so make sure that you make your "yarn" as you go along so that you'll have something else to do. I reccomend doing this over a period of time, just because it takes so long. It takes hours, I'm not kidding. I have pictures of my bag as I went along below so you can see mine take shape.

Step 7: Taking it Off the Loom!

Yes, its finally time to take your hard work off your cardboard loom! Before you do this though you have to tie off the ends. Take the yarn that was stuck through the slit at the bottom of your bag and tie it to the end of the first plastic bag that you wove with. Do the same for the other side. Now you will start the part that always makes me nervous. Cut the yarn that toward the top part of your bag. I know this sounds confusing but I hope that the pictures help. Tie strings that are next to each other together then flip it over and do the same. Finally pull it off! this may take some wiggling but I promise that your bag will eventually come off. It looks pretty messed up when it first comes off, but you can adjust it by pulling it however you want to.

Step 8: Handles

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Now it is time to make and attach some handles to your new woven plastic bag bag. You can make these however you want and out of whatever you want, but if you use plastic bags make sure that they are strong enough to support your bag and whatever you put into it. Mine were made from plastic bag handles twisted then braided together. OK, now that you have the handles it is time to attach them! If you are well versed in the ways of fusing plastic bags you can fuse them on. I however used duct tape. MAKE SURE YOUR BAG IS INSIDE OUT!!!!!!!

Step 9: Add a Lining

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There are multiple ways to do this step. Again one way to do it is by fusing, but the other is duct tape. If you use duct tape then follow these steps, if you decide to fuse, then I can't help you, but I'll try to get a version using fusing up as soon as I learn how. So, the first step using duct tape is to tear off one long piece that can go around your whole bag. This piece will then need to be rolled up so that the sticky side is facing out. Make sure your bag is turned inside out and wrap this around the top of your bag. Then make smaller rolls of tape and stick them on other parts of your bag. Then take yet another plastic bag and cut the handles off. You then need to figure out how much you need to cut off the top to make it fit your bag. You your bag to fit snugly into it. (Remember, your bag is inside out) Attach the lining to your bag by putting your bag inside and making sure that all the tape is secure.
Update: If you want to fuse your plastic lining onto the inside of your bag, then all that you have to do is cut the handles and bottom off of a bag and but down the seam so you have a long rectangular piece of plastic.Lay the plastic over the area you want to fuse. Place a piece of parchment paper inside your bag and another one over your weaving and plastic rectangle. Take an iron and put it on its third setting, then rub it over the parchment paper/weaving/plastic. Do this all over the inside of your bag, then trim the extras. This gives you an even and smoother lining for the inside of your bag. 

Step 10: Turn Right Side Out

Turn it right side out! You have now made a recycled reusable shopping bag, purse, beach bag, or what ever else you want to use it for.
LadyLark4 years ago
Love this idea, but I am clearly doing something wrong. I followed all the instructions and wove the bags onto the cardboard. But after I cut the yarn and tied it and removed the bag from the cardboard, all I had was a woven tube. I must be missing the step where you close up the bottom of the bag. :/ Silly me. Please help! Thanks
I think what you need to do is cut the top but not the bottom. The bottom then has a continuous thread making the bottom. For this to look neat your first few rows need to be pressed down hard. This is based on weaving I did years ago but not with this particular project.
janaro4 years ago
Hi
This is agood work I like it .
holly144 years ago
This is so good! We are doing a task at school where we have to make bags out of recycled materials so this is really great for me. I'm pretty sure I will use this technique :)
=35 years ago
Instead of yarn you could use plastic bag strips right? And would it possible to put a zipper on one of these some how because I want to make one of these as a pencil case for when I have to go back to school.
Scriptone6 years ago
Wonderful idea, I was looking for something like this. I love how you figured out how to make the loom "lift" so you can zoom the shuttle through faster. thank you.
dobbylvr (author)  Scriptone6 years ago
Thanks.
Hi! I'm looking for ideas for a livelihood program for a small community in a slum area in paranaque. Think this can work?
greatpanda5 years ago
 FWIW, the tool you're calling a "shuttle" is actually a "shed stick".  The space that it holds is the shed.  A shuttle is what you wrap yarn around to pass the weft back and forth through the shed.  I want to try this sometime, always too many bags lying around...
digsretro5 years ago
Why not leave the bag strips as loops? Then you can connect them at each end by looping them the way you can connect two rubber bands together. Also you'd be weaving with double the thickness of 'yarn' so the weaving would go faster, I'm assuming. Note: I haven't tried this, I'm just talking theory... The bag looks really cool, though, good job! Karin in Orlando
dobbylvr (author)  digsretro5 years ago
I don't leave my bag strips as loops becasue that makes them half as long, and I love continuing my colors onto the other side of the loom, I think it looks better that way. You're right though, it probably would make the weaving a lot faster!
Well you could just attach the same color loop so the color would continue. And something I thought about later is that you wouldn't have all those little tab ends where you tied on another strip, making it look a little bit cleaner. :)
This is an awesome idea! Could you use the same concept with scraps of fabric as well? Also to "recycle?"
dobbylvr (author)  carolatjando5 years ago
Thanks! Yes, you can use this process with strips of almost anything. I've done it with fabric, yarn, and plastic bag, but there are many more possibilities!
Darkshot6 years ago
Hi, i wanted to know...do you think that this awesome bag would be strong/soft enough for a 15,6" laptop????????? and how many bags do you think it would take?
dobbylvr (author)  Darkshot6 years ago
Hi! The bag by itself probably wouldn't be strong enough, though if you layered multiple bags it might work. Im not sure how many bags you would need but my guess would be at least 2.
Okay, thanks anyways, I got an old apple bag from my mom. This was from when my dad used to work there back in the day. :D free bags FTW!
IdahoDavid6 years ago
Nice use for those bags everyone seems to accumulate. I work for a library and I can see this as a great craft for kids to make there own book bags. Well done.