Plastic Bag Fabric!




About: I'm just a crazy OT student that dreams of changing the medical industry one DIY at a time. I started out here as some crazy middle-schooler with ADHD that was bored and wanted to make the most random things...

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

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.

Step 2: Cutting

1. First cut the handles off your plastic bag like so.

Then cut the bottom off your bag with scissors, my lovely assistant points to the spot.

Step 3: Folding

2. Cut one side and lay the bag out flat, it should look like the pictures. Then keep folding until you want to stop.
I stopped at three folds, making an 8 ply layer. Se that in the images.
Fold the bag in half with the ink inside (This is important!, if you don't the ink will make a mess later on.)
Place wax paper on the top and the bottom and you're ready to go!

Step 4: Making It

4.Set iron to dry iron and at a temp. above polyester and below rayon. (In my case it was level 3).

Then place iron on the wax paper but keep it moving, if you just leave it in one place it will burn through the plastic.
Keep heating the plastic until you think its done. Check it, if it crinckles then heat that area.But if it dosent, it should peel nicely off the wax paper.

Step 5: Finish

Good job you have made a durable plastic fabric (hee hee it rhymes!) This technique also works for trash bags.

Holes: holes appear if you stay in one place to long. It burns right through the plastic.

If you want to see the original idea
click here:
Make: Podcast

Please leave comments on this instructable, its my first and I want to know how to make it better.

Thanks for viewing!

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    73 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I love your assistant! That totally made my day. I think you should make him/her some clothes, though. Maybe a recycled plastic raincoat.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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 mangingerandtu

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    .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.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction's plastic. But it can be colored with a sharpie or other solvent-based marker prior. The heat will seal the color in. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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
    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Ive been looking for large, clear and cheap plastic panels,and this could be just the ticket!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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 mancasey321b

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    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

    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies