How to Make Fabric From Fused Plastic Bags (Free DIY!)

5 Materials
15 Minutes

Are you overrun with plastic grocery bags? I sure am. My cabinets are overflowing with them! I use them for trash and recycle them whenever I can find a place that will take them but still — they still seem to multiply.

So what else can you do with them?

Fuse the plastic bags together to make fabric! Back in the spring, I showed you how to use up the paper grocery bags, now it’s plastic’s turn…

In this post, I’ll show you how to fuse plastic bags to make fabric for crafts — plus how to add a beautiful marble effect.

Materials Needed

  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Iron
  • Crayons (optional)
  • Parchment paper
  • Zester or fine grater

Step 1: Prep your bags

To begin, we’re going to grab 6 bags and cut them to size. Ideally, you’ll have bags with a white background, but any color works. You’ll just end up with a different look.

Cut the handles and the bottom of the plastic bags off and open up the seams. You’ll be left with 12 sheets of plastic, roughly in the shape of rectangles.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on an ironing board or heat-friendly surface and stack 9 of the plastic sheets on top and set aside the other 3.

Note: use parchment paper NOT wax paper. These aren’t the same thing!!!

Step 2: Grate some crayons (optional)

You can simply make basic fused plastic but I love how it looks when you add some color! Choose two to three old crayons in colors that will work well swirled together and grate them on a kitchen zester or the fine side of a grater (don’t worry, it cleans up beautifully with soap and water).

If color makes you uncertain, pick all warm colors or all cool colors. When in doubt, choose colors that are next to each other in a rainbow 🙂

For this project, I used blue, grey, and white for a fresh palette.

Why white when the bags are already white? Because the white mixes with the blue and grey to create lots of different lighter tones! The same principle applies to any colors you choose.

Once you’ve grated up your crayons, sprinkle them in thick swirled bands onto your stack of plastic sheets. Don’t worry about perfection. They’ll melt and swirl into beautiful patterns no matter what.

Be sure to go easy on the amount of wax you use. Keep in mind that the wax will spread, so less is more.

Place the last 3 sheets of plastic on top of the grated wax and top the whole pile with another sheet of parchment paper.

Step 3: Use an iron to seal the plastic

Next, preheat your iron to the polyester setting. This will make the iron hot enough to fuse the plastic bags but cool enough not to obliterate the entire thing.

Run your iron over the top sheet of parchment paper, moving constantly. Be sure to never allow your iron to touch the plastic directly! Move it around for 10 – 20 seconds, flip the whole thing over, iron the other side, then check the plastic for “doneness.”

Your plastic is ready when it’s one solid, flexible sheet. If the layers aren’t completely fused, just repeat the ironing step until they are.

Be sure not to iron for TOO long, otherwise, your fused plastic fabric will become brittle.

Step 4: Use your fused plastic fabric for crafting!

You’re already done! You can use this fused plastic fabric for a lot of different crafts. I’m always looking for ways to make free upcycled projects like this fluted vase I made out of a gelato cup.

With fused plastic bags, I’ve seen people make wallets, reusable shopping bags, garden markers, and coasters out of this stuff (you know I love a good coaster), but really you can use it for anything you can think up!

I used mine to wrap an old tin can I saved from the recycling bin to make a pencil holder:

I made another sheet in a different color palette, cut it into strips, wove them together to create a basket-weave (reseal the weave with another swipe of the iron), and glued a bobby pin to the back to make hair clips for my kids:

There you have it! How to make fused plastic fabric for crafts. I hope you enjoyed this project and learned something useful in the process.

Resources for this project:

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Brianna at Bloom in the Black
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  3 questions
  • Mary Mary on Mar 02, 2021

    I use plastic bags for making sleeping for the less fortunate, so I don't split my bags at the seams. Would this idea still work?

  • Meleia Clark Meleia Clark on Mar 02, 2021

    Could you make a flower pot holder with it?

  • Karen Karen on Mar 09, 2021

    I guess strips for weaving could be lengthened by overlapping the ends and ironing again?


Join the conversation

4 of 34 comments
  • Lisa West Lisa West on Mar 09, 2021

    Now I have to get crayons. Lol. New Jersey will be plastic bag free with in the year. What we have now we use for the litter boxes. So all the HRHS YOU KNOW THE HIS AND HER RIYAL HIGHNESSES HAVE CLEAN BOXES. LOL. I wonder if a head band can be made out of it? Or ribbon for wreaths what do you think?

    • Hahaha oh my word, I wish I could send you some of mine! We're swimming in crayons.

      I love the idea of a headband and ribbons! Honestly it's a pretty versatile material. So many possibilities!

  • Mary Mary on Mar 15, 2021

    Love this!! I am going to try making this with my grandkids. When they spend the weekend, I’m always looking for projects to do with them and this is perfect. Maybe we can make their mom a Mother’s Day present this year!