Mother Nature is My Home Girl

Happy Earth Day, y’all!   (And thanks, Google… you always come through with your clever home screens right when I think I might forget medium important holidays and random botanists’ birthdays.)

But seriously, I love the planet, I love DIY, and it’s no secret that I love saving the murnies, so logically I love upcycling like nobody’s business.

Bring on the Earth-Day-themed-upcycling-posts-throwback-round-up-trip-down-memory-lane-smorgasbord-of-April-twenty-second’s love!

Ok!

(Click on the image or the link above the image to take you to the original post!)

Vinyl Record Bowl

free dog toy toilet paper roll

Nice Knobs!  (Salvaged Crystal Door Knobs)

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Vintage Yardsticks and Rulers

{Source: Corner House Blog}

Wine Cork Crafts

{Source: ewehoo!}

Fused Plastic Tutorial

Recently I brought you a Pinterest love-fest of Fused Plastic Projects.  Here a few highlights:

(Click on images to link back to the original source website)

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Source: Betz White

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Source: About.com

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Source: Emily Grace

Yeah, there are some crazy creative people out there.  With sewing skills.  (Which I lack.)

Anyways... inspired by the inventiveness of fused plastic and my own desire to do it myself, I did a little research.  Turns out, it’s super easy to make!  Best of all, it’s super cheap (darn close to free), it’s a quick process, and it’s upcycling a resource that’s often fated to a landfill: plastic bags.

I’m sure a lot of you go the reuseable-bag route  (I try to remember them, but I actually use the grocery bags as trash can liners, so I sometimes end up with a few extra ones, i.e., craft supplies!).  However, even if you opt out of the grocery bags, you probably still encounter other kinds of plastic bags from time to time (think of packaging for a loaf of bread, especially those retro-fabulous Wonder Bread bags).

For this particular project, I used black bodega bags.  These are especially fun because they have gold and silver metallic striping on one side, which I used to cut out a C and J (for Courtney and Josh… not K-Ci and Jo Jo… but good guess).

fused plastic

Then I took about 4 bags and cut off the handles and the bottom:

With the handles and bottom cut off, the bag can have a larger surface area to work with.  Open up bag, unfolding the sides, and lay flat.

See the difference in workable surface area?

fused plastic

After four bags are cut, opened, and layered, you should have a stack that is 8-ply (4 X 2 = 8).  I wouldn’t recommend anything thinner, otherwise you’ll end up with holes and the final material will not have as much structural integrity (yeah, that’s right: structural integrity).

And I tried a mere 6-ply, by the way:  lots of holes…

Yeah, that’s no fun.

Then I placed the layered bags (with the cut out C and J on top) in between two layers of parchment paper, then placed this parchment-plastic “sandwich” on an ironing board.

Sold in most grocery stores...

In a well-ventilated area, e.g., the fire escape, I ironed on high until plastic was fused.  Don’t let the brevity of that statement mislead you into thinking that this is a fast, fool-proof process.  It does take a little time, a little patience, and a lot of ironing.  You iron directly onto the parchment, making sure to never let the hot iron touch the actual plastic (or you’ll have gelatinous plastic goo… which is nearly impossible to clean up).

Iron all over the paper, never keeping the iron in one place for too long (this is how you get holes).  Occasionally peel back paper to see the plastic’s progress.  Remember, bubbly is bad:

Fused plastic with a lot of air bubbles will not be as durable, so if this is how your plastic is looking, replace the parchment and continue ironing.  The ideal texture should be something like raw silk or crepe.

After you’ve achieved the necessary texture, remove from parchment and allow to cool.  Then, you can cut it, sew it, glue it, love it, whatever your crafty heart desires!  As showcased in my Pinterest finds, this material can absolutely go through a sewing machine, and can be treated just like any kind of vinyl or thick crepe.

All “that’s what she said” jokes aside, see how thick and hard it is?  (I know, I know…)

And here are both of the finished products:

See?  This method doesn’t alter text or melt the ink, so bags with fun logos or messages can definitely be used for this project.

As you can see, I haven’t quite figured out what to do with this material yet (nor have I come up with a plan for the other 5 zillion plastic bags I’ve saved over the past few months, including ones with Target bullseyes, Wonder Bread logos, smiley faces, trees, kitschy phrases and… the list goes on).

Maybe I should take a sewing class…

…or two.

So, in summary:

How about you fine folks?  Have you recently tried your hand at an upcycling project?  Or a sewing project?  Or both?!  Share below in comment form, or e-mail me:  thegingerpennypincher@gmail.com.

Other upcycling ideas…

Wooden Pallets

Wine Corks

Tin Cans

Beer Cans

Vinyl Records

Yardsticks and Rulers

Paint Chips

Beer Can Appreciation Day

Today is Beer Can Appreciation Day!

No, really.  That’s a real thing.

Though beer has been brewed for literally thousands of years (some archaeologists speculate as early as 4,500 B.C), the whole beer-in-a-can thing is a relatively new concept.

This years marks the 76th anniversary of canning beer, so I thought I would pause and do a little Google image/Pinterest search and showcase some fun things to do with used beer cans — because canned beer is always a cheaper and slightly greener option, but it still produces a lot of waste (that hopefully you choose to recycle or upcycle).

And while I was at it, I extended my search to soda cans and pull tabs as well…

As always, click on the image for a link back to the original source website.

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Box made from cans!

Source:  Atomic Shrimp

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Can Lantern Lights

Source:  RubyvVermillion

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Soda can lights

Source:  Diary of a Crafty Chica

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Luminaries

Source:  The Star Online

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Bracelets made from cans

Source:  Bubbley Boutique  (Etsy shop)

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Can car

Source:  Sandy’s CanCars

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Soda can ash tray or tealight holder

Source:  TrickLife.com

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Pull tab chandelier

Source:  Purple Homes  (designed by Mauricio Affonso

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Vase made from beer cans

Source:  Wonder How To

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Beer can butterflies

Source:  Gearfuse

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Beer can plane

Source:  Robot Nine

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Pull tab clutch

Source:  Design Boom

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Beer Can Chicken

Source:  E-Rcps

Ta da!  Hope you enjoyed these ideas.  And of course, if you have any of your own, feel free to share in comment form below.

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Things that (P)inspire me: Fused Plastic Projects

This week’s Pinterest round-up features fused plastic!  This stuff, made from plastic grocery bags is a great way to both recycle and create a free material, similar to a thin vinyl.  And the best part is, it can go through a sewing machine!  (Though I don’t sew, so this won’t be an avenue I’ll be exploring any time soon.)

Here are my findings!  As always, click on the image for a link back to the original source (gotta keep up the good blogging karma, y’all).

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Fused plastic tote.  Source:  Betz White

(Do you spy the Target bullseyes?  Yes!)

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Fused plastic lunch tote.  Source:  Upcycled Design Lab

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Fused plastic purse.  Source:  About.com

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Fused plastic wallet.  Source:  About.com

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Fused plastic wallet.  Source:  Figaflors i Braves

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Fused plastic tote.  Source:  Flickriver

(I think there’s a Home Depot bag in there somewhere…)

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Fused plastic flower necklace.  Source:  Emily Grace

Fused plastic bibs.  Source:  The Pretty Bean (Etsy shop)

(I looove the use of the bread bag!)

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Fused plastic tote bag.  Source:  Lark Crafts

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Fused plastic eyeglass case.  Source:  Eclecti

Then… I was so inspired, I tried my hand at the stuff!  Turns out, it’s super easy.  Check back next week for a full tutorial!

 Grab a button if you were featured on this week’s round-up!

Image URL:  https://thegingerpennypincher.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/feature-on-the-gpp-button.jpg

Link URL:  https://thegingerpennypincher.wordpress.com

Other things that might inspire you…

Wine Cork Crafts

Recycling Tin Cans

Things That (P)inspire Me