Repurposing Plastic Packaging

09 May

Seriously.  The lighting in the house?  The camera?  Chris started talking about a new camera the other day and now it’s all I see.  Other people’s gorgeous photos, inadequacies in mine, poor lighting, arrgh!

Anyway… I felt inspired on this Mother’s Day and decided to look into something I’ve been wanting to do for a while- using plastic bags (that I keep b/c I can’t stand the thought of throwing them way) to make new items.  I checked out plastic fusing but, as it turns out, that works better for the thinner bags (a la sandwich and supermarket shopping bags).  I had these heavier duty bags from pretzels, chocolate chips, and organic sugar so I decided to try to make my own reusable tote.  Who knew that you can put them through the sewing machine?

I cut them flat and then around the edges so that they were all smooth.  Then (I don’t use patterns for anything) cut the two pretzel bags just enough so that they were the same size.  They would be the front and back of the bag.  The two small sugar bags were cut to form the gusset at the bottom.  And the chocolate chip bag (Costco size) was cut to make the wide sides.  Then I turned the right sides in and sewed them all together with a hem across the top just for finishing.

The shape of it came out great.  It was easy and very cool.  BUT I learned a little something about sewing plastic.  While the shiny, smooth, heavy duty sugar and chocolate chip bags worked great, the pretzel bags ripped easily and there are already a few holes here and there on the seams that I’ve tried to gently fix (insert frustrated growl here).

Next time I will: 1) use the smooth plastic food bags or fused plastic shopping bags for better durability and 2) use plastic for the handles (the brittle pretzel bag frustrated me so I sewed a shoelace on for handles and gave it to Sadie for a play bag).  It’s all learning and process and I’m psyched to do this again!


Posted by on May 9, 2010 in Uncategorized


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4 responses to “Repurposing Plastic Packaging

  1. Michelle Comeaux

    May 9, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    so cool! you are awesome!!! i take mine to whole foods. they take plastic bags. but… now you’ve inspired me. 🙂

  2. Lisa Russell

    May 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Very cool- I’ve fused grocery bags together with the iron but I haven’t tried these yet. I saw someone selling them as grocery bags once before. You’re so crafty 🙂

  3. Ronet

    May 10, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Oh, this is freakin’ awesome!!! I have been looking at books about making our own bags — out of old fabric, etc.; but I never thought of using old chip bags & the like!! You’re brilliant, my dear!!
    And, now, I’m off to look up fusing grocery bags (I still have a bunch from back before I started using cloth bags only).
    Thanks for sharing!!! ❤

  4. Open Source Learning

    May 10, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Mah-thah! You are awesome! I gotta go buy me something in a bag so I can try this!!
    Remember gum wrapper paper chains? Wonder if they would make sturdy enough handles…. that’s a lotta gum though….


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