Turn your old plastic grocery and shopping bags into custom made jewelry! User669 has taught us how to turn plastic bags into fabric and then into reusable shopping bags but this durable fabric can have many additional uses. I have used it to make jewelry as well as in a relief collage.
To see user669's in depth instructable on how to create this plastic fabric (and a cool tote) follow the link below!
To learn how to turn your trash into treasure (jewelry) go ahead to step one!
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Materials
- plastic bags in colors of your choice (grocery bags work, as do some of the thicker shopping bags)
- ironing board
- computer paper or wax paper
- necklace/bracelet clasps
- thin wire
- round metal connectors
- 2 needle nose tweezers
- straight pin
- 2 ear wires
- 4 round metal connectors
- 2 needle nose tweezers
- straight pin
- Necklace and earring supplies can be found at bead shops and most craft stores.
Step 2: Preparing Your Plastic Bags
While your iron is heating up you want to prepare your plastic bags. You first need to cut off the handle and then the bottom of the bag so you can open it up to its fullest size.
Once you have cut off the extraneous pieces turn your bag inside out (if their is print on the outside it will make a sticky mess!)
Once you have it opened up you are going to fold it so that their are 8 layers of plastic. To do so you begin by folding it in half (that should make 4 since it was already doubled) and then fold it in half again!
- I recommend 8 for the thing grocery bags, but you can get away with 3-4 for thicker plastic bags
Step 3: To Add a Pattern or Texture to Your Fabric
On top of your 8 layers, place the piece of plastic that has the pattern that you like. On top of that pattern place one clear or white plastic layer. Then proceed to step 4
- you may want to try and make several pieces of fabric before you use the plastic bags that you are really excited about!*
Step 4: Creating Your Fabric
Once you have the layers laid out as you would like you are going to place your plastic between two pieces of computer paper. You want to make sure that none of the plastic is hanging out of the edges. it will make a big smelly mess on your iron...trust me
Now you are ready to iron!
I recommend sweeping the iron across 5 times, flipping it over (computer paper and all) and sweeping the iron across 5 times on the other side. * be careful this will be hot!
Before you check your new fabric allow the paper to cool for about 30 seconds, you will hear and see the fabric start to peel away from the paper. Now it is time to check and see if it is done!
If you have ironed it for too long you will see holes in your fabric. (although this may be a desired look for your jewelry)
if you have not ironed it enough you will see bubbles in your material and it will still make that crispy bag sound when you crunch it. This means that your fabric will be weak. If this is the case but the plastic back between the sheets of computer paper and iron it some more.
Step 5: Cutting Your Fabric for Your Earrings
Once you have all of the colors you would like you are going to begin to design your earrings! This can obviously be made in any shape and style of your liking. I have chosen to use blue and black rounded triangles.
To make the earrings pictured above you begin by cutting the 3 parts for each. 2 large triangles and 2 small triangles of one color and 2 medium triangles of a second color
Once trimmed to appropriate size and liking you are to use the straight pin to put a small hole in the top of all 6 triangles.
Step 6: Creating the Earring
For this step you will need:
4 metal connectors
2 needle nose pliers
2 ear wires
6 plastic triangles you created!
The first step is to slightly open the metal connector (connector A). The easiest way is to use one pair of pliers to hold one side of the connector while you use the other pair to pry it open.
Next add the 3 triangles in order of smallest to largest and then add an additional metal connector (Connector B). Once you have the 4 items on connector A take one pair of pliers and gently squeeze it shut.
Next you are going to open Connector B (again using both pair of pliers) and add the ear wire.
Close Connector B
Congratulations you have made your first earring! Repeat these steps to make the pair!!!
Step 7: Extras!
You can also write on it with permanent marker to add additional patterns and designs!
Step 8: Cutting Plastic Fabric for a Necklace
For the necklace shown on page one begin by cutting out circle of a variety of sizes. I cut one large circle, about ten different medium sized circles and dozens of small circles for this design. Next cut a wire a couple of inches longer than the length you would like.
Once you have your circles and wire cut, make two holes in the center of each circle (like a button) and begin to put them on the wire putting it through one hole and out the other (like sewing).
- I found it easiest to start with the biggest one in the center and adding them one at a time to each side so that it would be symetrical *
Step 9: Adding the Clasp to Your Necklace
Once you have added your desired amount of circles fold the wire over one of the metal connectors (A) (fairly close to the last bead about 3/4 cm away). While holding both ends of the wire twist the metal connector until the wire winds up tight to it. Wrap some of the excess wire around itself a few more times and cut off any excess.
Again using both sets of pliers (one to hold and one to pry) Open another connector (B) and hook connector A onto connector B. Next hook the necklace clasp to connector B. Using the pliers gently close connector B
Add Connector A and B to the other side of the necklace.
Congratulations you have now created a necklace out of recycled grocery bags! Now go get creative with your own designs!!!