52 Projects is an adventure in discovery. Every week, for 52 weeks, do something. Something you’ve never done before. Something you’ve always wanted to do. Something that scares you. Something that inspires you. Something that inspires others. Something that tickles your fancy. Something that caught your eye. Something that just popped into your head. It can be big. It can be small. It can be whatever you want it to be. Find out how doing something can lead you to discover things about yourself, your world, your God. Then, come here on Sundays and share it with others. I'll write about mine here, you write about yours on your blog, then use the tool in my post to link to your something. Please feel free to jump in and participate anytime throughout the year!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Week 28: journals made from plastic bags

Last week in Lake Placid, I came across a wonderful toy store with a small art book collection in the back. I immediately fell in love with this book; Eco Books by Terry Taylor.

I love the idea of re purposing objects. This book gives you so many amazing ideas for books made with things you most likely have sitting around your house. Things like egg cartons and old cassette tapes and dental floss containers and cereal boxes. But the one that caught my eye was a book made out of plastic shopping bags. I've got dozens of them stuffed under my kitchen sink. I never would have thought that they could be heated together in to book covers.

To get started, I grabbed about 3 plastic bags per book. I took scissors and deconstructed the bag by cutting off the handles and opening the bag in to one big rectangle. I started folding the bag in half and then in half again until I had a rectangle about 9x6 inches and about 8-10 layers deep. Then I put my plastic rectangle in between two layers of newspaper and I set my iron on low heat. Obviously never put the iron directly on the plastic! It takes a few minutes and sometimes you have to adjust the iron a little hotter but what begins to happen after about 8-10 minutes is that the plastic begins to fuse together. I gently ironed back and forth, checking every so often, until it all fused together. Magically, it doesn't stick to the newspaper. When I was finished, I let the rectangles cool and they looked like this:

Next, I cut the rectangles in half, hole punched the sides and filled them with some heavy card stock paper I had on hand. Everything is held together with silver binder rings.

I discovered that you could tear pieces of different color plastic and add them to the cover too. It gives kind of a collaged effect. The covers themselves are fairly flexible but sturdy. I really only touched the surface of possibilities here. Next time I might add snips of paper images and text under some of the layers. I might add paint to the finished covers. These are the perfect size to toss in to your handbag. Try one...I'm sure you've got plastic shopping bags sitting around.

What did you learn this week?


  1. Hi. Remember me? :). I have been so derelict in my duties and a 52 Projector. You, on the other hand, are a rock my dear Jane!

    I love how you get excited about finding things and making things. You have such a special way of looking at the world and seeing beauty and art everywhere. I am in awe of you.

  2. That book sounds fascinating and what a cool idea to try since we, like everyone I know, have a million of those bags. (We do use them for cleaning up after the animals; can't do that with a reusable Trader Joe's bag) But even more striking to me is MrB's comment to you. I love how you both really appreciate each other and point out what you love and admire for everyone to read. You really seem to have a great partnership.

  3. what a very cool project! I'm so in love with the concept of repurposing! I am so very far behind here...have projects to post and no time to sit down and post....things are beginning to slow down a bit, soon, I hope!

  4. Intriguing!!

    We don't get plastic shopping bags here in SA anymore so all the ones we have are very precious to be used only when necessary. Eventually we will run out and will actually have to BUY them, but until that time - precious plastic bags!

    I've done my project for wk 28 in combination with wk 29, so will post Mr. Linky then!

  5. ~jane this is brilliant...i want this book...i want to make this journal...l♥ve how yours turned out...who would have thought a shopping bag could look so great! warm wishes and brightest blessings~