In Craft Tutorials, Design inspiration

Hope you all had a happy 4th of July! We spent most of the week packing for our move. Phooey…purging and packing. It’s amazing how much one can accumulate. Especially when you are like us and enjoy saving stuff just in case we can make it into something someday! Two posts ago I was showing you my recycled plastic bag fusing experiments. Today I took a break from working with cardboard boxes to play with the plastic bags again.

And what better place to have a plastic tote photo shoot than atop a plastic kiddie slide? :) Really, it wasn’t planned. When I finished the bag I went outside to shoot it and there was the slide, waiting with perfectly coordinating colors.

So, I used the plastic bag fusing technique I mentioned earlier. I sandwiched the bag layers between parchment paper which was nice and big as I wanted to create pieces as large as possible. It takes a little practice with the iron to get the right time and temp. This stuff shrinks a lot when you are fusing it, so start large. I’m not into logos showing, however, I am a fan of Target and the bulls eyes give my octopus a bubbly background to hang out on. I also added a little machine stitching on the waves for some extra dimension. (click on top photo to see detail better) I had a little trouble with thread tension and skipped stitches when sewing on the plastic. Again, practice helps.

I accidentally messed up the piece I planned on using for the back, so I ended up using the floral from my earlier post. Kind of a mixed theme, but the colors coordinate. For the tote I sewed 2 rectangles together down the sides and bottom. I created the box corners by sewing perpendicularly across the bottom/side seam. For the handles, I copied the basic shape and fold of the handles from a paper grocery bag. I cut 2″ strips and folded them twice lengthwise then zigzagged down the center. They are attached to the inside of the bag with an X stitched inside a square.

Cute! I was hoping that I would make a bunch of these to take to the grocery as reusable bags. Hmmm…a little too time consuming and not big enough without doing some extra piecing. I think I’d rather make some out of fabric. I also have a brainstorm for an easy way to have a stash of plastic bags on hand to reuse on a whim. I’ll share that later.

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Showing 25 comments
  • Christina

    I love the octopus and the Target bullseyes work very well with it! What a great way to reuse plastic!

  • Stephanie

    Now THAT is innovation! Great job!

  • TamboinMO

    This is just sooo cool!!! I’m going to have to try this some day!!

  • mommamaven

    These would make very cute gift bags.

    Did you use colored bags for the embellishments?

  • Betz White

    Yes! This would be great for gift bags.

    I fused the white bags together for the front of the bag. Then I fused some colored bags together and cut out the “appliques” of the waves and octopus. I fused those onto the front of the tote before I did any sewing. Does that make sense?

  • Fern

    Wow. Love the octopus bag. Love both bags actually.

  • macati

    it seems so easy the way you’re saying… love the octopus… you’ll be the source of envy in your supermarket!!

  • Mendy at Modern Charm

    So cute! I’ve got to try this!

  • cruststation

    Your octopus bag is cool, love the colours and design. Is it durable? As always, I love the green recycle aspect, you’re so clever!!

    I think if I was to try anything similar, I’d set something on fire or destroy the iron :)

  • Swirlyarts

    Wow – that’s great. I’m going to have to raid my friends houses for plastic bags to make some of these!!

  • RID

    I love all your works, and this is really nice. Congratulations!

  • gray la gran

    good grief! how do you do it? i mean, packing and purging, and making awesome totes too ?!
    you’re quite an inspiration. i love the blues and oranges in contrast :)

  • Knitterella

    Wow! How unique. That is great!

    Love the design – the octopus is very cool. Great job!

    Looks wonderful next to the orange and blue plastic slide!


  • Steph

    This is really fabulous! I love the addition of the appliques.

  • Lynn Anne


  • Di

    What a fantastic idea and the octopus is great – always a firm favourite of mine!!

  • teresa

    that is be-a-uu-tiful. great work!

  • quesadilla craft

    beautiful – tar-jay and a sea creature! two of my favorite things!

  • Abo

    Ohmigosh, this is so cute and inspiring!!

  • Anonymous

    I’m gonna try making giftbags out of these.

  • Ketutar

    It is beautiful :-)
    And just to think what material it is made of! Wonderful!
    We here in Sweden “prefer” the thick, soft stuff for plastic bags… (Like heavy-duty black garbage sacks) I wonder how they will fuse. *hmm* Probably going to be a huge mess, but at least I tried.

  • mommy2caitlin

    Awesome use of recycled plastic bags! I just had to add a post about this on my Bangles n Bags blog! I love bags (especially unique, one-of-a-kind bags like this one!)

  • christinemm

    Your bags came out fantastic! I like how they are original looking and don’t have many logos or words on them.

    I tried this technique today for the first time and found it time consuming and tricky.

    I don’t get many plastic bags as I don’t shop a lot so I had to raid my MIL’s closet for some bags. LOL.

    Thanks for sharing this with us and good luck packing and with the move.

  • Guccibags

    Your reusalbe bags are fantastic. I like the flowers speaking of life and beauty. Just imagine a shining afternoon in a picnic!

  • Storage Cabinets

    Love the idea! Keep up the good work :)

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