April 16, 2009

How-To: Turn Bags into Beads

I've become somewhat of a curator of plastic bags. In fact, there are some doors you shouldn't open in my house because you will be buried under an avalanche of interesting plastic. Primarily, I fuse these bags into collages and turn them into other things like: BEADS.

If you would like to transform your own collection of plastic bags into beads, follow these instructions:


  • Clean plastic bag

  • Parchment paper

  • Iron

  • E6000 or similar glue

  • Toothpicks

  • Scissors

  • Ruler
Fusing the Plastic

Place two layers of plastic between two sheets of parchment on a hard surface and iron them together using a low setting with the steam set to off.

That will leave you with a sheet that looks like this:

Making the Bead

Cut out a triangular shape that is about 4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide at the bottom. You can play around with the sizing. The wider the triangle, the longer the bead and the longer the triangle, the fatter the bead.

With a toothpick, apply a thin layer of E6000 or similar glue to one side of your triangle. Leave a small strip free of glue at the base of the triangle. Place a clean toothpick at the base and roll up the triangle around the toothpick so it shapes an oval bead. Jiggle the toothpick a little to make sure that it doesn't stick to the bead.

Leave the toothpick in the bead and stick it into something to dry overnight. I used a dried out bit of Model Magic clay, but any kind of Styrofoam, etc. will work as well.

Once your bead is dry you can lacquer it or leave it as is and use it in a project like this:

or this:

Happy Recycling!



parallel-botany said...

I love this!
I've only seen beads like this made from paper, I didn't even know you could also make them with plastic bags.

MaryAnne LoVerme said...


Karen's Monsters said...

That's so cool Simone! What a great way to use plastic bags.

Kelle's Kitchen said...

Wow, I would never have guessed those beads were made from plastic bags! Good work!

NYCrochet said...

Whoa, that is so cool! I'm going to start fusing plastic all over the place!

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Neat idea! Will add it to the bead making repertoire!

Kimara@weefolkart.com said...

I normally try to avoid all plastic bags opting for my reuseable totes,HOWEVER,these are too awesome not to try! I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for plastic bags I can repurpose into beads. Thanks for a terrific idea and a very informative tute!

Charcha said...

I never knew you could do something beautiful like this with plastic bags. I have become an instant fan of your blog....thanks for sharing.

CCC (Crazy Cooking Camper) said...

What a neat idea. Thanks for sharing it. I really like the watch bracelet (green is one of my favorite colors).

I linked the tutorial at PassiFlora magazine http://passifloramag.com/2009/05/plastic-bag-crafts/ Hope you don't mind!


Shannon said...

Really cool but the stores that I shop at have ugly bags :/