Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fused Plastic - A Tutorial

For my first So You Think You're Crafty challenge, I decided to try my hand at fused plastic.  Since the theme was dollar store crafts, I used plastics you could find at the dollar store:  Tootsie Pop bags, a plastic tablecloth and trash bags.  I also used some cellophane (the pink polka dots), but that did not work very well so I don't recommend it.

Any-who, The first thing you need to do is cut your plastics down to a usable size.  Since the smallest piece I had to work with was my Tootsie Pop bag, I cut the tablecloth and the garbage bag to that size.

I carefully cut open my Tootsie Pop bags.
I cut rectangles of the tablecloth that were approximately the same size as the Tootsie Pop bag.

I cut more rectangles of the garbage bags.
In all, you need about 6 layers to make one piece of fused plastic "fabric."  You don't really need to use a plastic tablecloth; I did because I wanted the yellow to show through the clear parts of my Tootsie Pop bag.  You don't even have to buy garbage bags--you can use bags from the grocery store.  I bought my materials because I was going for a certain look.

Next, line up your layers.  I used four layers of garbage bags, one layer of tablecloth and my Tootsie Pop bag.
Line up your layers.
THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!!  You want to put paper underneath and on top of your layers of plastic.  If you don't, your plastic is going to melt all over everything.  I'm going to say it again.  Sandwich your plastic layers between paper so the plastic doesn't melt all over everything.

The next step is to iron your layers together.  Remember, everything is protected between the layers of paper (sorry, I just had to say it again).  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the ironing because I don't have four arms or someone else around to take the photo.  You want to use a hot iron (wool or linen setting).  You need to keep the iron moving constantly.  Make sure you iron over the entire area of your plastic.  I worked in a circular motion.  Once you've covered the entire piece, peel off the top layer of paper and see how you did.  If you need to go back and fuse some more, you can do that.  Just don't over-do it for the plastic will melt completely.
The fused plastic
You're now ready to cut this down and start sewing with it.  This stuff stands up to being sewn great.  I was afraid that it would tear easily, but it is strong as can be.  It also has great body so it's ideal for bags as it holds it shape.

I've been using my tote bag for my daily lunch bag at work for a month and it is showing no wear whatsoever.  So give this technique a shot. 

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Weas said...

Thank you! I am going to try this to make a bag to carry my embroidery tools in when I take them on the road. I will let you know how it turns out :)

Krulls in Haiti said...

Love this! I'm going to try it today! Thank you so much for sharing an easy way to do this :)

Toodie said...

That is really cute and a great idea! Look out, M&Ms; I'm going to eat you all and use your bag!!

Terri said...

Can't seem to get your latest post - about pin cushions... Is that blogger messing us up?

Anonymous said...

How cute is this? Something for my 'to do' list for summer. Thanks.

Monkey Mind said...

I have used this method to make journal covers. It works great and is water resistant too!

The Craft-Arty Kid said...

I tried this before, and this has just reminded me how awesome it is. Thanks for the helpful tutorial

Anonymous said...

I tried this today, but it didn't work so well. It looks like the candy wrapper is at the bottom of the stack. I'm thinking mine didn't work since I had the candy wrapper at the top (right under the iron. Any other suggestions? I sure do want to make this for my daughter for Christmas.

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joy said...

One thing I learned in life is to love what makes you happy and to cherish every moment you spend with your family, friends or love ones because everything that we have now on earth is temporary. Well, thank you for inspiring us with your great art work.

shannon h. said...

Love this!! Any chance you have a pattern/instructions for the bag you used? The size and proportions are perfect! Thanks for sharing!

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