Everyone knows a heck of a lot about recycling/upcycling plastic bags and making Plarn (plastic yarn), but by accident a came across an unique thing that plastic can do, and with this technique you can make beautiful waterproof lace out of plastic rubbish bags. It is my original idea and invention- and I am very excited to share this with you all. I think I shall call it the Cat Technique just because I think it is appropriate.
Anyway, you can make this for yourself, or as a present for someone else, but if you are going to use it for a project or for something else (like selling) then PLEASE CONTACT ME FIRST :) (please understand I am not screaming I am just making it clear, and directing your eye HERE)
Step 1: Preparing the Bag
One must prepare the plastic bags properly or else they may become weak. The type of plastic you need CANNOT under any circumstance be biodegradable, they will desentergrate by them selves.
You must find a plastic bag, Note that one plastic bag is enough for a beautiful lace like bracelet for an average sized wrist, with beatiful and fine detail.
The plastic bag must be lied down flat. Then it can be folded in half (lengthwise) around three to four times, what ever you feel comfortable with cutting, I prefer cutting the plastic bag when it is folded four times. Just remember to fold very carefully, as you do not want wonky pieces, that are weak.
Then you cut off the bottem seam and the handles, the bottem can be thrown out ( at least it is better than a whole bag going to land fill), but the handles can be used for other recycling projects, that I might post. But please comment if you can do something with the bottem seams.
Then we can cut it.
Step 2: Cutting the Bag
You must then cut the bag into individual pieces each about 2-3 cm wide. But dont rule it out, just cut them, just "eye-ball" it. But it all depends on how you want the final product to end up, or how confident you are. The thinner the plastic the harder it will be to make the string, and the more delicate it will be.
The next step becomes a little trickier- so you must be very patient, with the plastic, and yourself.
Step 3: The "Cat" Technique
Firstly you must unravel all the little peices of plastic- and keep them warm, this is crucial!
Because what we are needing to do is to keep the plastic warm so it breacks less easily, whilst we stretch it.
You must individually stretch every piece, but we cant stretch it too much that it breaks.
The reason we stretch it, is because we are making something that is very fine, and strangely there is point that the plastic breaks, but there is also a stage right before it, which is when these fragile plastic strips become super strong. Almost "army" like or ant like in strength, it may not look so strong, but it is.
There is a special way in which we can tell that our stretching is done.
Just observe the plastic, each time you pull, you can see it changes colour slightly, bcomes almost cloudy. And sometimes, when one is stretching the plastic, one can see a tiger-cat like pattern forming, some weaker bits in the middle of oceans of stronger bits, in the shape of tiger-cat fur patterns. Try and just make it all consistant,all this new cloudy colour. We do not want it to be weak in some areas, (because we can also sew with it.)
There are two ways of stretching it. When it is flat, just pulling it and the piece in between your hands is flat, or when the piece in between is curled up, you can use either, just do what ever your comfortable with.
But just remember to do it slowely, and that it is invitable that it shall snap at some point, this is okay, dont get annoyed, like I do, it will just snap even more-because you will just stretch it quicker.
With all the snapped pieces you can tie them all together, you dont want a loop, you just want a nice long string, we can get rid of the scraggly ends later, with some glue, or just tuck them on the wrong side of the piece of lace.
Step 4: Tie Them Together
Now we can just tie them all together, I prefer to use a single knot, but you can use more, if you feel that, that is required. Just remember they might look scraggly but we can remove them with some scissors and glue (hot glue).
Then you can make a ball and just store it that way, cut and use however you want.
Now, the fun part.
Step 5: Now Making Something Lacey
I cannot knit, but if there is some sort of pattern to make something look lacey than go ahead and do that.
With my own personal bracelet and other lace projects I use a number of crochet stitches and techniques, my favorite are
& Chainstitch fish net like bobbles
But there are many more stitches that you could use, and for different projects too, you can use this lace for anything, even sewing it to the bottem (hem) of a pretty dress, the options are endless, trust me.
And there you have it folks, recycled plastic into lace, who would have thought :)
Something that was once so expensive is now made of rubbish, something that is now so cheap