Monday, May 21, 2012

Tutorial: How to Upcycle Plastic Bags

We seem to accumulate plastic bags one way or another, whether they once housed frozen veggies, milk, bread, or other purchased goods. If you find yourself with extra, here is a quick and easy way to turn them into something new. I first started using this method when crocheting with plastic bags. I lived in Manitoba at the time, in a small town where there were no stores. After I ran out of yarn, I needed something to keep me busy and it was a great free & upcycled substitute.

Step 1: Get some bags and a pair of scissors. Step 2: Trim off the handles. Step 3: Cut the base of the bag, down the seams, so the bottom is even and can lay flat. Step 4: Trim the bottom to cut off the jagged edge. Step 5: Cut the bag in a spiral shape, in one long strip that is your choice of width. Step 6: Keep going! Step 7: Fini! Now you can use this to crochet, knit, weave, wrap, embroider, make pom poms, sleeping mats, or a number of other things. To attach bags together, just poke a hole at the end of both strips and pull one through the other. Below are some samples of things I've done in the past. It can be used in place of a ribbon and bow as a great gift topper. It can be used to crochet or knit so many things. I even tried making slippers. They are quite durable, but just need to be lined inside with a soft material for comforts sake. It can even be used to make a hat! The project I'm working on at the moment is plugging the holes in my bike basket by weaving plastic bags through the in-betweens. It is taking a long time but will make toting things around much easier when it's finished!

The most amazing thing I've seen yet however, is the popular church lady craft of using milk bags to make sleeping mats for folks in Haiti, Mexico and other countries around the world. Here is a video from the Northern Life community newspaper highlighting a story of some women in Sudbury, Ontario.


alex said...

These look nice! It's so perfect, every time I go to get groceries I get a ton of plastic bags!

Michelle Drew said...

Thanks Alex! I agree - we all seem to accumulate so many bags.

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