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And now for something wearable in plastic…

December 4, 2009

Even though we’re supposed to have moved on from plastic bags to newspaper, I seem to be on a roll, so here is one more for the plastic project.  The acrylic paint makes it not quite “pure” but one hopes that since it is wearable, it won’t be recycled anyway!  Jessica

How I made it:

I cut open a flimsy clear vegetable bag and painted one side with metallic acrylic paints (Lumiere fabric paints) and let it dry over night (acrylic needs a good 24 hours to really set).  I fused about 8 layers of black plastic supermarket bags (from the corner bodega where they always insist on putting things in bags) to make a usable base and cut it into squares.  Then I cut slightly smaller squares from the painted flimsy stuff and larger rectangular pieces from unpainted clear plastic bags – large enough to fold over and completely cover both sides of the black squares(plus a little extra).  I stacked them all so that the black was in the middle, with a metallic layer on both sides, then a clear layer to seal the whole thing together.  Fused on both sides repeatedly until it seemed really solid and uniform.  Then I cut some of the squares in half on the diagonal to make triangles.  Then I folded some squares and triangles unevenly and fused them so that they were attached at the pointy ends and left a loop in the middle (kind of) so that they function as beads, then strung them on a neckwire.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2009 4:13 pm

    Very Nice. I am always concerned about fumes while fusing/melting plastics. What are your health and safety recommendations while working with these materials?

    • December 7, 2009 4:25 pm

      Thanks! I’m exploring the difference between various qualities of flimsy plastic. Whole Foods says their bags are 100% recycled resin, and I’m not sure how that differs from plain old recycled plastic OR whether it fuses differently if it does have a different composition. Maybe I should write to them about their definition of resin….

      I’ve been looking for some specific warnings and suggestions about the dangers of fusing plastic, and so far, I haven’t found anything other than cautions. So I am fusing at the lowest possible temperature and for the shortest possible amount of time (high #3 or #4 setting on my iron – rayon and cotton blends) 1 – 2 seconds for very thin layers, 5- 10 seconds for 6 – 12 layers. I keep the window open and/or the exhaust fan on. I’ll definitely post anything if I find more concrete info.

  2. June linowitz permalink
    December 8, 2009 3:14 pm

    That necklace is great!
    I’m not sure that resin fumes are any better for you than plastic fumes. I used to work with epoxy resins and stopped because of health warning ( Duane Hanson was a big deterrent). I. would be careful of fumes and make sure that you’re working in a very well ventilated place.

    • December 8, 2009 3:31 pm

      The definition of resin (alone) is very vague – it seems to just means any kind of viscous stuff. The question is – What kind of resin? Plant? Polymer? etc. etc. So yes, lots of ventilation….. The two-part epoxy resin is wonderful, technically, but it could wilt the world and warp your brain in a a minute or two… Not a very Beyond Garbage substance. But that is definitely not the kind of resin the bags. Although my bets are that they are from some petroleum product or another. I have a query in to Whole Foods to see what their bags are made of. I’ll definitely post their answer, if I get one.

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