A fabulous way to make everyday plastic bags more user-friendly for a range of recycled-craft activities is to FUSE the plastic!
This technique is recommended for an adult to do only, as it requires use of a hot iron. But once the bags are fused and cooled, they are fabulous for kids to cut up, weave, stick together for their craft – and of course use to make wearable items for the upcoming #plasticfashionshow that we are hosting!
Collect your plastic bags, and sort them according to the ‘type’ of plastic. The more colourful ones are often great to use!
Fold your plastic bags (aiming for consistent thickness to the area you will be ironing) and place between a sheet of bake-proof paper. You can be experimental by combining different colours, embedding items in between, weaving the plastic first, etc.
* The temperature required will vary according to the type of plastic bag you are using and how thick the section is that you are ironing. – I started with the temperature at ‘cotton’ and adjusted up or down as necessary.
Iron onto the baking paper, with the plastic below. Move your iron back and forth several times and you will notice the plastic move and shrink and stick together once it has reached the right temperature. Keep ironing until the plastic layers are all stuck together. If you iron at too hot or for too long, the plastic can become hard rather than remaining supple.
(Here you can see how much the plastic shrinks!)
Once fused the plastic bags are ready to be used further in a creative project of your choice – Have fun!
***SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: Beware of burning yourself on the hot iron or on the plastic which will be very hot immediately afterwards. The plastic will let off some fumes so aim to do it in a ventilated area, and not for too long.
The Plastic Bag Fashion Show – Surfrider Eco-Event
Artist: Karen Benjamin
And for some fabulous inspirations of what is possible to create with fused plastic, check out the artwork and creations by Queensland artist: Karen Benjamin, and a huge thanks to her for letting me share some of her images here!