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Learn how to fuse plastic together and then upcycle a bag out of it! All you need is an iron, plastic bags, a sewing machine, and some straps and buckles and a few hours of your time and you’re on your way to having a cool durable bag!

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Comments

  1. cboyce says:

    Does anyone know of a more reusable alternative to wax paper? My wax paper only survived one use when making one of the fused plastic sheets, and I don’t want to generate a bunch of trashed wax paper (which I can’t recycle) to make something other spare plastic bags (which I can recycle). Neat design though! If I can find some source for sturdy plastic/vinyl I’ll try to make one.

  2. bf5man_ says:

    Hi Cboyce, i’ve used aluminium foil and cheap aluminium pizza pan and the pizza pan worked great. It’s more sturdy than the alumnium foil. It’s reusable too.
    Also, there’s a great intructable showing you how to weld together sheets of plastic. I would use this method instead of sewing the plastic parts:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/EZEZIAVMIMEP286W1W/?ALLSTEPS

  3. Bre says:

    I got like 8x use out of wax paper. If you can find parchment paper aka freezer paper, that’s the best.

  4. Marked says:

    Parchment paper isn’t the same thing as freezer paper.

    Freezer paper is a white kraft paper with a plastic coating on one side. Butcher Paper is the same type of paper without the coating. A brown bag is make from kraft paper and probaby work the same.

    Parchment paper is a high density paper with higher heat resistance than kraft paper. It’s used in cooking and baking. May be found around the baking supplies.

  5. polyparadigm says:

    I used copy paper (top) and the white side of a pizza box (bottom) for mine, and they lasted for the whole project. Definitely better than wax paper, since it didn’t dirty up my iron any…if anything, it cleaned it.

    I cut out letters ransom-note style, and made a banner. This comes full circle from the scrap vinyl salvaged by the messenger bag designer, I guess.

    The left side is based on a Big Lots bag, the right side is from Subway (obviously). I had to do character-reassignment surgery to some of the letters, but I think it’s pretty legible, overall. You can see it here:

    http://flickr.com/photos/polyparadigm/686960525/

    People on my block have coffee together on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, an event we call “Step Out”. But people have trouble remembering which day, and it moves around from house to house; hopefully, this sign will help us figure it out in time, and increase the turnout a bit.

  6. polyparadigm says:

    By the way, why do you suggest that we fold bags up and then stitch them together, when we could just leave them full size and iron them all together at once?

    Not that the zig-zag stitch doesn’t look cool, but it seems obvious that you could just overlap the plies by a few inches before you iron them, if you wanted to join them together without introducing weak points or letting rainwater in.

    I don’t own a sewing machine, so maybe I’m biased.

  7. ozztozz42195 says:

    Does anyone know if you can screen print on this material?

  8. ozztozz42195 says:

    Does anyone know if you can screen print on this material?

  9. FalcoTheImpaler says:

    you can. just make sure your ink is compatible
    (as you ight not realize, most shopping bags are already screenprinted.)

  10. fuzychiapet says:

    I didn’t need a messenger bag, and wanted to start off small. Here is my first attempt at a bag using this technique.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11158652@N03/1056229133/

  11. jonegti says:

    Actually they are printed using flexography with very quick drying solvent based ink. Screen printing grocery bags would take forever. Flexo allows printers to make bazillions of bags every day. You can screen print but a lot of screen printing inks use plastisol which the “sol” part would melt the bags. Waterbased inks would work. You can find them at Dick Blick or other art stores.

  12. Punt08 says:

    This is so cool I used big Ikea bags Itriead cheap drug store bags they are much more flexibe

  13. think_different says:

    This is a great idea. Your messenger bage looks really profetional and designer. i made an iPod case out of a white trash bag. I fused the edges instead of stitching them to keep it water resistant. The only problem i have is i can’t rid of the rinkles when i iron it, I think it’s cause my ironing board isn’t flat. I’m going to try and make a laptop case for my iBook G4 next. Thanks for the project.

  14. stopthehate says:

    Ok I get how to make this but in the pdf file with Bre Pettis’s design what is the width of each part. It shows all the lengths but not widths. Help would be appreciated.

  15. Johnsmirror says:

    Hey, this was my first Make project! I lost the pictures, but it turned pretty good. Thanks for getting me hooked into Make! I’ve also made a book and a wallet. Make on!

  16. Nenona says:

    Will an iron-on sheet attach itself to the plastic “cloth”? Or do you have to screenprint on it?

  17. Timothy says:

    Here ya go…a little alteration on the plans and there you have it.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/tim.mahan/PlasticMessengerBag

  18. lhc says:

    Has anyone tried the “plastic welding” technique described in the Instructible linked in the second comment instead of sewing? I think it would be great… if it worked well!

  19. Michael Z. Williamson says:

    Wait, buy a perfectly good bag at Goodwill, cut off the “$5″ fasteners you can buy online for 30c each, spend all weekend wasting plastic bags, wax paper and electricity to cobble garbage together into something that won’t last a year, or 20 minutes with real loading, or…

    …go to the surplus store and buy a used, good condition patrol pack for $10?

    Is this hippie environmental logic?

  20. MÃ¥rten says:

    No, I don’t think so. To begin with, no one have said that this is more environmentally friendly than buying a used bag or something else. If you don’t enjoy the process of making your own messenger bag out of reused plastic material, then don’t! It’s supposed to be fun an rewarding. One could use textile fabric, but then it wouldn’t be water proof.

    I’m guessing that fusing garbage bags together using heat from an iron uses far less energy than getting new plastic sheet with similar properties.

    If you know where to buy buckles/fasteners for 30c online, please tell me where! I need some. I think it is really strange when lose parts like that cost more than a whole bag with many of them attached!

    And if you don’t get a new bag from goodwill just to get the fasteners (and possibly even if you do) it certainly is good for the environment because you reuse things instead of just trowing it in the trash.

    And why do you think it wont hold for a year? it looks sturdy enough to me, and you can easily fix it if something breaks. Because you made it and you know how to fix any part of it.

    And I think it looks cool, good work Bre, Federico and Amanda! Thanks for sharing this. :D

  21. Eliza-Jane says:

    This looks great, but as it is made out of plastic bags does it make a lot of noise? (thinking of using it for school). Also, does it sweat a little?

    Thanks! I LOVE this. I have to have a go!

  22. Anonymous says:

    look i work at a shoestore, and we have these big 6 1/2 feet tall window signs to advertise whats going on with the store at that time.

    BUT, when the ad is no longer needed, the sign gets tossed. I was just putting it out there that if u ask nicely and leave a name and number, the ppl will call u and let u have it for free.

    We do it all the time, and i just now put two and two together to come up with this handy way for u to get free vinyls. hope it helps :)

  23. tanjila jesmeen says:

    oww good job.nice suggestion.thanks for sharing.

  24. this is very vague. can you post something with exact dimensions and approximately how much plastic bags we would need? thanks.

  25. Gloria Kelly says:

    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.

  26. Gloria Kelly says:

    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.

  27. Patty Jula says:

    This video shares a really cool idea for making bags! I made a bag, a purse if you will, earlier this week based on your video. I sewed fabric on onto my fused plastic bags so it looks a bit different. I ironed only about six bags which makes it a tad bit smaller than I would like. I’ll probably make numerous changes to the next fused bag I make but I like it! Thank you for sharing.

  28. Jeena says:

    I wonder what the carbon footprint of this bag is, where you use a 3000 Watt iron for ages + the wax paper + the $5 rucksack just to get the bucles where you _trow away_ the rest (wtf?!) versus a mass produced messenger bag.