Fabrics Plastic Bag Waste

Published on May 18th, 2010 | by Becky Striepe


Fab Fabrics: Fused Plastic Bags [with video]

Plastic Bag Waste

Around the globe, we use over one million plastic bags per minute. Yep, per minute. And most of those head straight to the landfill. Obviously, bringing your own bag can help make a difference, but what about all of those bags that somehow seem to accumulate despite our best intentions?

Rather than tossing those empties, you can use the plastic bags you’ve collected to make durable, eco-friendly fabric at home! Here’s how:

In this video from crafter Pickled Pandas, she shows how to make fused plastic fabric out of several different kinda of discarded plastic:


Looks pretty easy, right? Think of all the bags you’d save from the bin! So how to you use this fabric, once you’ve fused all of your bags together? Brooke of So She Sews talks a bit about sewing with fused plastic fabric:

Just behave as if this cool, fused plastic sheet were a regular piece of fabric! It sews right through on a regular machine (won’t get stuck or not feed … properly… it will smoothly go through just like any piece of fabric would!).

When you are cutting shapes out of it, I recommend you draw your shapes on the backside of the fused plastic using a permanent marker (so that it won’t smear and get all over you), and then cut them out. Do this instead of pinning pattern pieces to it because wherever you put your pins is going to leave a tiny hole in the plastic.

Fused Plastic Grocery Bag

You can also hand-sew with it just like regular fabric using a universal needle. It’s great for all sorts of projects from small things like coin purses to larger items. You could even get really meta and make yourself a reusable grocery bag from fused plastic ones, like the one pictured above!

Image Credits:

Plastic Bags. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thegreenpages/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Fused Plastic Grocery Tote.http://www.flickr.com/photos/eclipse_etc/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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About the Author

Hi there! I'm Becky Striepe, a green crafter and vegan foodie living in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two cats. My mission is to make eco-friendly crafts and vegan food accessible to anyone who wants to give them a go. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

5 Responses to Fab Fabrics: Fused Plastic Bags [with video]

  1. Jessica Marie says:

    I love this idea, but what always stops me from doing this is concern about fumes. Do you know if the heating process releases anything that’s hazardous to breathe, or that is air-polluting in general?

  2. Lynn says:

    Love the idea of course, how can you not. But have you done any research on the potential of harmful fumes from fusing? I’ve seen various cautions, but no evidence that the heat and melting plastic release toxic or at least irritating fumes (not that you can smell anything). Would love to know exactly what is released when you iron plastic at high enough heat to melt it. Doing this outside doesn’t necessarily seem like a better solution environmentally speaking anyway.

  3. Intriqued by the concept as well and would love to share with our customers, yet wonder like the other commentors, about the hazards of harmful fumes from the process.

  4. Margaret says:

    I’m not sure why people think it’s OK to heat regular plastic to make fabric, beads, whatever – it’s not meant for that, and the fumes, even though they may be “minor” or not even noticeable, are still there – and still unsafe. This is a good example of recycling that is *not* eco-friendly – and therefore *not* green.

    If you want to use plastic bags to make crafts, go ahead and do that. Tear or cut them into strips, weave or knit or crochet or braid them – just don’t heat them. If you want to heat plastic to make crafts use some that’s designed for it – like polymer clay. But even then, *follow the manufacturer’s directions*. Polymer clay when overheated can also produce toxic fumes.

  5. Pingback: Fused Plastic Fabric | Crafting a Green World

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