Reusing & recycling – fused plastic


I’ve been having a go at fusing plastic bags. The idea is to make something more durable and either useful or ornamental from ordinary plastic shopping bags and food wrappers. There are lots of Youtube videos with hints and tips but the essence of it seems to involve an iron, baking parchment (essential to protect the iron and ironing board) and plastic bags. Friends warned me that it was fairly unpredictable and not as straightforward as some of the videos seemed so I was expecting to experiment. So, I did…


I started with food wrappers. Crisp bags are good, cheese wrappers too and even coffee bags. I liked the contrast of the silvery inside of the crisp packets and the colourful exterior. I think these could be embellished with embroidery or maybe added to larger pieces.


Next I tried shopping bags. Its important not to use biodegradable ones for obvious reasons. I used a combination of bags, they all worked fairly well. Plainish, white ones worked well as a base. Those that have a paint/ink coating needed more heat but eventually fused.


I added small pieces of different colours and text to give some interest to the surfaces. Keeping the number of layers more or less the same across the piece means that a similar level of heat can be applied and the layers bond at the same time; this keeps things simpler. But, you can go back to an area that doesn’t bond first time to give it more heat.


Next I started fusing the pieces together. I’m not finished yet but the plan is to make a bag or container. Watch this space and see how it turns out.