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Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
40 mins

Do lunch right
The sack of sacks. No one knows exactly how many bags Americans throw away every year, but most estimates put the number in billions. Those mountains of plastic shopping bags can take hundreds - even thousands - of years to break down in a landfill. Put those tenacious and ubiquitous properties to good use. Turn those trashy bags into a hardy, hip, seemingly indestructible lunch tote. All it takes is the household iron to meld layers of plastic bags together into a tough, flexible "fabric" that looks cool, wears long, and wipes clean. No sewing or gluing in necessary- the same iron that laminates the fabric melts the seams together.

Anyone who's ever accidentally touched a plastic bag to toaster oven knows that plastic melts quickly and sticks tenaciously. Laminating four to eight plastic shopping bags together makes the perfect weight of "fabric" for this unique, quirky lunch tote. The graphics on shopping bags become transparent as they fuse and give the final product a subtle collage effect.

Posted by Eco Craft Published © 2018 Susan Wasinger / Lark Crafts · Reproduced with permission.
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  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 1
    Step 1

    Cut the bags down the side seams with scissors and undo the bottom pleat to make a long rectangle of material. Four to eight bags layered together make a nice laminate, depending on the thickness of each bag.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 2
    Step 2

    Most plastic grocery bags are a little too flimsy for this project, so gather some sturdy plastic bags like the kind you get at your favorite clothing stores. Looking for a pleasing mix of colors and graphics.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 2
    Step 3

    Layer the bags one on top of the other and secure them with clothespins to keep them from shifting. Heat your iron to medium high. Put a layer of baking parchment over your ironing board and on top of the stack of plastic bags. Iron from the center outward, being careful to iron each section thoroughly for 30 to 60 seconds. Let the paper cool until it comes off the surface easily and check the fabric to ensure that it's fully laminated. If it isn't, iron it again.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 3
    Step 4

    Trim your laminated plastic fabric into a long rectangle that's about 9 x 30 inches (22.8 x 76.2 cm). Fold the rectangle in half and crease the bottom edge.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 4
    Step 5

    Now fold down the front half of your material to create a rabbit-ear pleat or gusset along the bottom edge of the bag as shown in pictures 5 and 6.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 5
    Step 6

    This pleat will create a nice roomy bag that can stand on it's own. The excess material at the top will create the fold-over flap at the top of your finished bag.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 6
    Step 7

    Flatten and crease the bag into shape.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 7
    Step 8

    To make the side seams, place a wooden ruler or straightedge about 5/8 inch (1.6 cm) in from the edges. The wooden edge will ensure that the heat of the iron melts together only the side seams and doesn't fuse the bag front to back. Make sure the top flap of your bag is open and doesn't get ironed into the seam. Protect your iron and board with parchment, then iron the seams together on both sides until they're completely fused. Take special care to iron the sides of the pleat, as there are several layers to fuse.

  • How to recycle a plastic bag pouch. Plastic Lunch Bags - Step 8
    Step 9

    You can decorate the top flap of your bag by cutting fun shapes (stars, circles, words, initials, etc.) out of plastic bags and ironing them on. Take care to protect the other parts of your bag when you iron on the decorations so you don't accidentally fuse other parts of the bag together. Add a dot of self-adhesive hook-and-loop tape to close the flap if you like.

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Comments

erikaerikaerika (:
erikaerikaerika (: · 4 projects
thats so cool! im going to try it
Reply
crafty countess
crafty countess · U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, US · 1 project
this never worked for me....sigh
Reply
Crystal C.
Crystal C. · Huntsville, Alabama, US · 3 projects
i love it. i recently tried my hand at fusing but wasn't sure what to make out of it when i had the finished project. i ended up making it into a giftbag for a present for mother's day. i love this lunch bag idea. thanks!
Reply
Jane  C.
Jane C. · 11 projects
Smart, cute and eco-shic!
Reply
Jet H.
Jet H. · Haarlem, North Holland, NL · 108 projects
great solution and great project i love it. tahnks
Reply
Ginger Ginger.
Ginger Ginger. · Australia, AU · 16 projects
That is tooo cool!
Reply
Arty Kitkat
Arty Kitkat · St Albans, England, GB · 61 projects
These are really cool. I'm definitely going to add these to my to make list Happy Thanks for posting this.
Reply
Steffi
Steffi · Nederland, Colorado, US · 4 projects
I love em! Very nice Happy
Reply
Katia Ruby
Katia Ruby · Portland, Oregon, US · 4 projects
I <3 eco-awesome!

Really nice!
Reply