Plastic Bag Mitten "Rubber Glove"




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

I once built a sailing canoe on Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. I used Pandanus keys washed up on the beach as paintbrushes. Pandanus is a local fruit. After it's been bashed on shore for awhile the fibers at one end make a nice brush. I didn't have rubber gloves to use with the epoxy. So I figured out this nifty way to put a plastic disposable shopping bag on like a mitten and use it instead of a rubber glove.
I've been using this method ever since.

Excellent photos by theinfonaut The hand model is Bhaskar Mookerji a.k.a. "Buro".

Step 1: Place Hand in Bag and Wrap

This is the key step. If you start by pulling the bag to one side instead of the other the handle loop won't be long enough to loop over your thumb. You'll be off by half your wrist circumference.

Try it both ways til it works.

Step 2: Catch Bag Over Thumb

Wrap clockwise or counterclockwise, whichever you prefer.

Handle the bag somewhat carefully to avoid ripping it.
If you look carefully you'll see a hole by Buro's finger. That's because these shopping bags are all made wrong. As my dad would say, "It's not made for what it's designed for". The folded gussets at the bottom of the bag will rip two holes in the bottom of the bag if you actually use it to carry groceries or handle it roughly.
If you were to cut across the bottom of the bag and weld it together flat like a pillow case you'd have a much stronger bag that would carry more stuff and last longer.

Write your congressman and picket the grocery store demanding properly made bags.

Step 3: Fini!

Conduct battlefield surgery with confidence. You now have a plastic bag on your hand. All you need now is a sharp soup spoon, a bullet (for your patient to bite on), and a big bottle of whiskey (for you).



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    9 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i use plastic bags to insulate my clothes when i find myself without a place to crash


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm pretty sure the holes are in case a person decides to place the bag over his head; this way they might not choke themselves to death. Why people do this is beyond my knowledge


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea! Actually, working at a grocery store, I'm pretty sure the bags are designed like that so we courtesy clerks (distinguishable from "baggers" because we also clean) can fit paper bags inside of them.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I know that model! Hah, that's so funny to see him (er, his hands) here.


    12 years ago

    I love it! Gonna be painting my house this summer. This will save hand cleaning time.


    12 years ago

    wouldnt epoxy melt them?¿?

    Wade Tarzia

    12 years ago

    That's clever. But what I would really really like to see is an instructable about how to build a canoe far from home on Majuro Island ;-)