This is an Easter basket woven from recycled plastic bags. Easter and Earth Day are close together this year which gave me the idea. When Easter is over, you can also use it for other things like mail, toys, yarn and knitting projects, fruit, etc.
Step 1: Materials
Plastic bags. I am not sure how many bags I used but it was probably around 20.
I had some different colors of bags, the green bags were from newspaper delivery on rainy days. The pink ones were from a charity donation bag. There are also many white bags used which you don't see, for the vertical pieces of the basket.
Needle and thread- a few steps will use hand sewing
Iron- for the fused plastic
Glue- (I used silicone construction adhesive)
Preparing your materials:
This bag uses two types of recycled plastic: fused plastic and "plarn". (plastic yarn)
For how to make fused plastic, see my tutorial here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Fusing-Plastic-Bags-the-eclipse-way/
For how to make Plarn, see this tutorial: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Plarn-Plastic-Bag-Yarn-For-Knitting-/
It's basically just long thin strips joined together.
Step 2: Making the Base
Fuse some large pieces of plastic, they should be 8-ply if you are using standard plastic grocery bags.
Cut one piece into the desired shape and size for your basket bottom. I chose to make an oval, but you could easily do a circle or a square. My oval is about 11 inches long and 7 inches wide.
Next, fuse another sheet of plastic, 6 or 8 ply.
Cut some strips that are twice as long as you want your finished basket height.
So for example if I want the sides to be 4 inches high, I cut the strips 8 inches long. The width is about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch. it's OK if they are not exactly the same width, but they should be close.
You will need enough of the long strips to go around the circumference of the bottom.
Note: You should have an ODD number of strips.
Step 3: Sewing the Vertical Standards.
In a basket, the vertical spines are called "standards". The horizontal pieces are called "weavers".
This step makes the standards out of fused plastic.
I reinforced my standards with wire, to make it sturdier and to let me bend them, but the wire is optional. The basket will still hold it's shape without the wire.
I cut a piece of wire to the finished height of the basket sides, and used pliers to bend one end over to make it blunt.
Then I folded the long fused plastic strips and sewed them up on the 2 long sides. Use a long stitch length, because short stitch length makes many holes close together which can cause tearing. (Ir's like a perforated line)
Leave one short end open.
You should not have a long pocket or sleeve made of fused plastic.
Insert the wire into the sleeve, blunt end first. The blunt end keeps it from puncturing through the end of the sleeve.
Repeat with all of the standards.
Step 4: Attach the Standards to the Bottom.
Arrange your prepared standards around the edge of the base. This will look like rays of the sun, (unless your basket is square).
The open end of the standards is then sewn to the base, which seals the picket and encloses the wire completely.
Sew all your standards to the base as shown.
If you use the sewing machine, be careful to walk the needle over the wires so you don't break the needle. Use a long stitch length, because short stitch length makes many holes close together which can cause tearing. (Ir's like a perforated line)
Step 5: Weaving the Basket.
Now that your standards are attached to the base, bend them so they are standing up.
Now you will use your plarn, and begin weaving. Tie the end around one of the standards, and then just start weaving: over, under, over, under.
This is why you needed an ODD number of standards, so that when you have made one full circle, your second "lap" will alternate with the first lap.
(I accidentally had an even number of standards, which means I had to go "over under over over under" in order to get alternating rows.)
Every couple of rows, you should push the weaving down towards the base to compact it and get a nice tightly woven basket. If done correctly, the weavers will totally cover your standards, inside and out.
Be creative with colors, you can add stripes by alternating colors of plarn.
Step 6: Finishing the Top Rim.
Keep weaving until you get within about half an inch from the top of the standards.
Then tie off your plarn and tuck in the end to one of the woven rows.
Next, you will bend over the standards to hold down the woven plarn. Bend then towards the outside or the inside, alternating on each standard, whichever side the last row of weaving was on.
The wire should hold them down. If you did not use wire, then you can use a dab of strong glue to fasten down the ends of the standards. I used silicone construction adhesive, but you could also use gorilla glue or liquid nails. (I don't recommend hot glue because it will melt the plastic)
Use clothespins to hold it in place until the glue dries.
Step 7: Decorate the Rim and Make Handles.
At this point, I decided I wanted to decorate the basket rim and make it more substantial looking.
I cut 3 long wide strips of plastic bags, These strips will be more substantial than the ones used for plarn.
I used green, pink and white bags, to make the rim more colorful and decorative..
Then just braid them together into a nice thick braided rope.
I then glued this rope around the outer rim of the basket, using clothespins to hold it into place until the glue dried.
I used silicone construction adhesive, but you could also use gorilla glue or liquid nails. (I don't recommend hot glue because it will melt the plastic)
Next, braid 2 more ropes the same way to use as handles.
I sewed the handles on by hand, on the inside of the basket.
Step 8: Decorations
This is an optional step.
You can decorate the basket with plastic bag flowers, or you can cut out letters from sheets of fused plastic and spell a child's name, etc. There are lots of creative ways to decorate the basket with recycled materials.
I had a little plastic bag from Japanese candy that had a cute bunny picture on it, so I fused that to 6-play fused plastic to make it stiff, and then cut out the bunny shape and glued it onto the basket.
If you want to fill the basket with Easter Grass, you can make that out of used plastic bags, too!
See this Instructable for directions: