The Plastic Bag Hoodie: How to Fuse Plastic Bags and Sew Them Into a Hoodie




About: I make things. Anything, on a super cheap budget. Things with personality are awesome and dangerous things are super fun. Things with personality that are also dangerous things are superfantastical.

I was inspired to make this Instructable by two things. 1. my lack of a rain jacket and 2. a project by maker bre who use to do weekend project for MAKE: magazine

So one rainy Saturday night I was running thought downtown with my friends to get out of the rain. i was wearing my favorite zip-up hoodie and when we got into a near by Starbucks I thought ,in my sopping wet hoodie "this does not work, this does not work at all"
Now at this point one of friends suggested we should have brought ponchos but I hate ponchos. So when I got home I found this weekend project on fusing plastic bags. So thus was born

The plastic bag hoodie.

Now you don't have to make a hoodie, you could make any thing you want. A wallet, a camera case, a parachute or even a rocket ship!!!!! (OK so I don't really recommend the last two but if your heart says yes go for it! but I'm not responsible )

Why is this instructable "green"? well billions of groceries bags are used every day and they serve a good purpose, to get your groceries home. But the humble grocery bag is used for how long? on average five minutes at most. So let it be reborn into something new and better. Not many people ever get to recycling their plastic bags. Also it takes less energy to make than reprocessing the plastic bag recycling plant or buying a raincoat made in gigantic factory or sweat shops .So this instructable

1. Saves plastic bags from slowly decomposing in landfills.

2. Keeps you nice and dry

3. Saves you money

4. saves energy

5. And it's easy!

6. it's freeeeee!!!!!

by the way this is the first time I've used a sewing machine (but i was going for the Frankenstein look)

also makes a cool original gift!

Step 1: The Materials

The materials you will need are

1. A lot of plastic bags, grocery, garbage, any thing you can get your hands on but try to recycle (target bags work great) I used garbage bags that didn't fit in my garbage can

2. Thread, any kind should do

3. Wax, parchment , or even printer paper (2 pieces)

4. Newspaper

Step 2: Tools

Yay tools!

1. Sewing machine (or you could hand stitch it) or I suppose you could use a solder iron

2. Pins

3. Iron and board

4. Scissors

Step 3: Fusing Plastics Part One: Preparation

Before you ever touch that iron you need to prep your bags

Snip off the handle and bottoms so you have a sort of tube.
Now turn it inside out so that when you start to iron the melty ink from the bag doesn't make a big mess!

Step 4: Fusing the Bags

Lay a sheet of paper down on your ironing board. For the hoodie you want it to be four layers of plastic thick. This means either fold it once or stack two plastic bags. Then lay another piece of paper over it. Make sure the paper is bigger than the plastic. Then turn on your iron and set it somewhere under or on rayon/polyester. Run it over it for about 15 seconds(move slowly and it somtimes takes more than 15 seconds) then flip and do the same to the other side. Rub it between your fingers to make sure it's fused everywhere . Repeat till it is one sheet of plastic.
If you are the least bit confused watch this video:
By the way this is the video that inspired me!
do this in a well ventilated area like a garage

Step 5: Sewing Part One

Using the zig-zag stitch put together four sheets of plastic. Consult chart for sizes. For instance the two pieces that will be come the must be at least (if your medium) 61cm across and 68cm high. The arm is the same length every time because some of the shoulder becomes the arm. Don't cut out the pieces yet.
You will need to refer back to this chart.
For people who cant read the chart the second picture has image notes translating it.

Step 6: Sewing Part 2

Technically there is no sewing involved in this step, but it's here to make insure a easier sewing experience. Find some newspaper and cut every thing out to size. The front and back are pretty straightforward, the arm though take a bit of geometry. 1. Draw out the center line 2. Draw bottom line keeping it centered 3. Draw cuff lines 4. Draw top line keeping it centered 5. Connect top to bottom

Hurray for geometry!

Step 7: Sewing Part 3

Pin the newspaper model onto the plastic sheets. Cut them out. Cut a circle with the diamiter of 7 in. cut in half. Center on the top and cut to make the collar. Cut front in half. Stitch shoulders together than an open arm and than the next. Now the hard part. fold over and stitch the arms and sides in one fail swoop. Flip inside out (now declared inside in) now there is a seam where the arms and side are together.

Congrats! you now have a jacket but it's still missing a hood...

Step 8: The Hood

The hood is simple, but connecting it is a pain. Fuse enough pieces that, when stitched, wrap around your head and then stitch the tops together . It is wise to over shoot here. Pin (use many pins!) as shown in the pictures. First to the back bit then the collar. Don't connect the collar closed. Stitch and go to next step

Step 9: The Hood Part 2

Hold top closed and look in mirror. Snip off excess. Flip hood inside out so you'll have a seam when you flip it back. Stitch up top and OPTIONAL: snip off the pointy bit of the hood.

Step 10: The Zipper

I do not know where to buy a zipper but I know how to to install one

1. Align the first half of the zipper on the front

2. Pin down

3. Stitch up to top

4. Then go back down so it is firmly in place

5. repeat

And if you all don't mind can you suggest a place to buy zippers?
UPDATE' k now you don't have to,

Step 11: Please Do


1. Comment (I always love a great idea)

2. Post pics

3. Vote!

Thank you I will soon have a pic of the finished hoodie

Finalist in the
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Participated in the
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    176 Discussions


    4 years ago

    This seems super cool but my mom is worried about me messing up her iron is there a chance that could happen? or could I get one for cheap at a thrift store or something like that?

    7 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Hey there! When I originally made this my mom had the same concern! In the end I went out and bought a cheap iron and nothing bad happened to it during the project, I was really careful to never let any plastic out from the wax paper near the iron. I was a good thing i bought the iron though, it meant i had one already when I went to college!


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Alot man I made it today and I came up with some awesome uses for it. Do you know of any ways to paint it? because now it looks really ugly


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    not that i know of, that tyvec look is sort of part of it. In my experience shopping bags can look a little smoother. Maybe 8 layers instead of 4?


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I used 12 layers of K-mart bags and it had a weird webish texture so I tried a spray paint that sticks to plastic so I'll see how that turned out in the morning!

    St Jimmy

    8 years ago on Step 5

    If you are only making a small object (a card case for my Magic cards), could you skip the sewing and instead fuse at right angles along the seam?

    4 replies
    imrobotSt Jimmy

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    maybe but I'm not sure if I follow what you are saying

    St Jimmyimrobot

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    I mean place two sheets against each other at right angles (one flat and one pointing down) and fuse with the iron. Also, I tried it, and it isn't strong, but it worked. Also also, I found that anything thicker than five layers (2 and a half bags) was too thick and got holes in it and didn't fuse properly

    imrobotSt Jimmy

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

    interesting, if you don't mind I'm going to feature your comment, it's got some great info!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Have you tried putting a layer of onion sacks in between the layers to add strength? But maybe it would also add a texture that you don't want?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    yes but does fuseing the bags emit toxins into the air? did it make you feel lightheadded? on second thought it probably doesnt release much toxic gass unless you fuse the pieces together with a soldering iron also mabye you could use all white bags and add some type of dye. i have seen how tos on the internet about dyeing plastic computer parts with Rit.

    5 replies

    I have over heated plastic bags when fusing them....very dizzy and nauseous for about 15 minutes. I did not like that.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i don't think because it doesnt burn the plastic but just melts it with the iron


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    oooo nice catch i forgot to mention to do this in a well ventilated area like a garage