Curbly Original
How To: Fuse Plastic Bags + Make a Sunglasses Case!

by M.E. Gray

Reuse and recycle: Make fabric from old plastic bags

As Earth Day approaches (mark your calendars! April 22nd!), I've been thinking about ways to reduce and reuse the things I don't need in my life anymore. I'm pretty good about recycling what I can - cardboard, papers, and bottles go in the curbside recycling, and compost I take to the local natural foods store. Plastic bags go to grocery stores with those plastic bag bins up front, along with other random thinner plastics like cereal bags, plastic wrap, and bread bags. If you don't have access to a plastic bag recycling bin, you can reuse your plastic bags by fusing them together to create a waterproof, flexible fabric!       

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Curbly Original
How to Make Authentic Oilcloth

by M.E. Gray

Learn how to make oilcloth fabric

Why do they call it oil cloth? What is currently being sold in stores as oilcloth is actually made from cotton fabric covered with a petroleum-based coating. However, genuine oilcloth (the real thing grandma had on her kitchen table) is made from cotton, canvas, or linen fabric coated in linseed oil. The fabric can be dyed or printed before the linseed treatment, and the oil gives it a water-resistant surface. Genuine oilcloth (also known as oilskin) is biodegradable in a landfill. The "real" oilcloth sold in stores today is made from PVC or polyvinyl chloride, and as such does not break down in a landfill.       

 

Here's how to make oilcloth, the old-fashioned way: 

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Curbly Original
The Three Easiest Ways to Make a Simple Market Tote Bag

by Holly Wade

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

I'm a sucker for a farmer's market or swap meet, and I've become very aware of bringing my own bags since California passed a law requiring you to pay for plastic bags at grocery stores. To use the materials I already had, I found three super simple ways to make an upcycled market bag: use stuff I already have! This transforms standard items into something practical using minimal cuts and sewing.  

I'll share how to turn a regular t-shirt, bedroom pillowcase and bath towel into useful bags for farmer's markets, groceries or just about anything else. None of them require you to sew more than a simple straight line, so they're ready in minutes!

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

1. Upcycled T-Shirt Market Bag

Keep in mind that a larger t-shirt yields a much larger bag, so something medium-sized is ideal. You should also avoid stretchy fabrics.

Materials:

  • Medium cotton t-shirt (solid is best but not required)
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread

Step

Lay on a safe cutting surface. Use the rotary cutter or a pair of scissors to cut off the sleeves and cut out the neckline.

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Turn the cut t-shirt inside out now.

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Using your sewing machine, sew a straight seam across the bottom of the t-shirt, back stitching at each end.  

Step

Turn the t-shirt right side out and you have a completed bag! 

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

2. Upcycled Pillowcase Bag

This one is my favorite. I have so many old pillowcases from bedding that I never use, and this requires ZERO sewing unless you want to decorate it, which you absolutely can!

Materials:

  • Standard queen-sized pillowcase
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Chalk (optional)

Step

Iron the pillowcase flat and lay on a cutting mat or safe cutting surface.

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Consider the size of the pillowcase. Length will be the total length of the bag. Cut about 6 inches off the top, open end of the pillow case. 

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Measure about 2 inches down and mark with chalk. Then use the chalk or a pencil to mark a 6-inch line that is in the middle of the pillowcase. Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut on the line, which should leave at least 5 inches on either side of the opening.

That slit becomes that handle and you suddenly have a bag with no sewing at all. However, keep in mind this bag may not hold as much weight due to the possibility that the handle could rip over time.  

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

 

3. Upcycled Towel Tote

This DIY is also great for a beach bag! No matter what you use it for, this towel tote is very useful and will probably be the largest and sturdiest of these three options. 

Materials:

  • Medium-weight bath towel
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Measuring tape or ruler

Step

Fold the towel lengthwise inside-out (if applicable).

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Consider the size of the towel. The folded version will be the length and width of the bag, with the fold being the bottom. Use the scissors to trim top and side as needed (about 15 inches wide, 18 inches tall).

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Sew straight seams on each side of the bag (keep in mind thickness of the fabric for machine settings). Back stitch at each end to secure. Turn right side out now. 

Three Ways to Make an Upcycled Market Bag

Step

Lay the towel flat on a cutting mat or safe cutting surface. Measure about 2 inches from the open top and mark with chalk or a pencil. Then use a ruler to mark and cut a 6-inch line across the bag. This will make the handles.

Now the bag is ready to use!

And there you have it! No matter what materials you have in the house, you can probably turn it into a bag with just a few quick cuts and seams. Certain fabrics will provide more stability for holding certain items, so always keep in mind what you'll use the bags for. 

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SHOPPING GUIDE: 10 Stylish Totes, Purses, and Satchels To Keep You Organized This Year

by Lexy Ward

SHOPPING GUIDE: 10 Stylish Totes, Purses, and Satchels To Keep You Organized This Year

At the beginning of every year, I feel the need to organize every backpack, satchel, and purse that is in my line of sight. (I do this throughout the year, but am ultra-motivated after the new year.) If you're in search of a new bag to organize everything from makeup to tools and everything in between, read on! Bonus: The style is strong with these.      

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How to Turn Plastic Bags into a Table Lamp

by DIY Maven

How to Turn Plastic Bags into a Table Lamp

Urban Threads actually turned plastic Target bags into a lamp. I still can't quite believe it even after reading the tute! 

First they fuse the bags. To do that, you'll need the following:

  • parchment paper
  • a scissor
  • an iron 
  • leftover plastic bags

To make the lamp's structure, you'll need this stuff:

  • 6 thin square dowels, about 1/4" thick
  • a small wood saw
  • wood glue
  • binder clips
  • X-acto knife, ruler and pencil
  • You'll need some sort of light source. UT used a battery-operated, stick-up bulb, but they also suggest a lamp kit--with an energy efficient bulb, of course--or a flameless LED candle.

Urban Threads likes to add thread to their projects, so to do that to this lamp you'll need a few more things. They include:

To see how it's all put together, head on over to Urban Threads.

I can't decide if I like the Target bulls-eyes or not. You?

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Teenage Mutant Sewing Turtles

by Mod Home Ec Teacher

created on: 06/21/08

Five Day Turbo Sewing Camp for teens just finished yesterday.  I say Turbo because they learned how to use the machine in two hours and spent four days (two hours each) sewing, jamming the machines, designing and giggling.  It was hard to keep them supplied with fabric.  Even though it was too short to teach them the perfect sewing skills, they got the feel of the machines and discovered they could create some sweet stuff on the sewing...

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Just say NO to plastic produce bags and hello to BYO Bags!

by DIY Maven

Just say NO to plastic produce bags and hello to BYO Bags!

So you've switched from paper or plastic and gone to reusable grocery bags. If you haven't yet done so, it's now time to ditch non-recyclable plastic produce bags for something a bit more earth-friendly too. A great alternative to them are the fabulous BYO Bags. They’re made of a lightweight nylon mesh that’s not only breathable, but durable, washable, quick drying and, of course, reusable. I found my set of 3–one small, one medium and one large...

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Eco-Tote Bags

by DIY Maven

Fellow Curblier bsgilf posted a question yesterday that was of concern to me a couple of months ago. It all started with IKEA charging for their shopping bags and San Francisco passing an ordinance requiring retailers to use eco-friendly bags. Always answering ‘paper’ when the paper/plastic question arose, I was looking for sturdy shopping bags of the same size as a quality paper grocery bag. In my search, I found ECOBAGS, which has a perpetual...

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How To Make a Plastic Bag Keeper

by DIY Maven

How To Make a Plastic Bag Keeper

In an effort to reduce and reuse plastic bags, how about making a plastic bag keeper? Chances are you already have everything you need to make one for free. Or you can buy one at The Container Store for 4.99 plus 6.50 s & h. Your choice.

The Props

  • A 2 quart plastic bottle (I used a Juicy Juice bottle, which worked particularly well.)
  • Box cutter and/or scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Durable tape
  • Excess plastic bags

The Procedure

Mark...

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