Crafts & Projects

Step-by-step plastic fusing

0 Comments 14 April 2010

Step-by-step plastic fusing

Plastic bag recycling centers have popped up at stores across the country, but the plastic bag recycling process still isn’t terribly efficient. Before carting bags off for recycling consider fusing them to create plastic fabric, which can be used like traditional fabric.

Cut off the handles and bottoms of the bags. For this project, we are using only the solid areas of the bag and cutting off the front where the logo is. Set aside handles and scraps to recycle.

If using a colored design, flip over to reverse or cover with plastic film before ironing. Here we are covering with plastic film. Use this approach for more vibrant colors. Clear clothing bags like those from dry cleaners work well for this.

Sandwich your plastic bags between two sheets of parchment paper and place on your ironing board. Preheat the iron.

Begin ironing slowly at a steady and even pace all over the surface of the bags. Start by ironing on the synthetics setting first, but usually we get better results at a higher setting (such as silk or wool). Different irons and different types of plastics may fuse better at a lower or higher temperature, so increase the temperature incrementally until you get ideal results. Try ironing the design surface first, and do most of your ironing on the reversed side. This will allow for more texture on the side you want to be the front of your plastic fabric.

Check periodically to see how the plastic is fusing. The plastic on the left in this photo has not fused as much as the plastic on the design area.

Occasionally rub plastic between your fingers to see if it has become one layer.

Here is the end result! Your plastic will shrink down by the time you are done fusing.

This is what the texture of the plastic looks like after fusing.

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