Bag-o-Bags and Pill-o-Bags – New Life for Plastic Grocery Bags

| September 9, 2015

What do you do with your plastic shopping bags from the grocery store? Do you save them and reuse them? Do you throw them away? Do you use them to pick up after your dog?

Prior to Bag-o-Bags and Pill-o-Bags, I used the grocery bags to pick up after my dog and reused them in whatever way I could. I also use cloth shopping bags to slow down the influx of the never-ending sea of plastic bags. As much as I don’t like the grocery plastic bags I’ve found another use for them. The bags aren’t so bad if they’re repurposed. Enter Bag-o-Bags.Bag o' Bags

First Learn to Make Plarn

One day while I was browsing the Internet for ways to reuse plastic bags I came across a video on making plarn (plastic yarn) out of grocery bags. With plarn the imagination is the limit for what you can do with these bags.

For example, in my first venture into the plarn arena I made a rather large shopping bag (Bag-o-Bags). It’s not very attractive, but it is sturdy and useful. I can fit quite a bit of groceries in this bag. Being made out of plastic I don’t care if it gets wet. It’s super easy to clean.

What I did learn, however, is these bags have a tendency to stretch a bit. If I had taken that small fact into consideration I wouldn’t have made my first shopping bag so large. I’m now working on a few smaller options. Just take a look at all the items that fit in the bag and there was room for more (yes, I’m in the process of making smaller bags with the light-weight plastic bags seen in the photo).  Shopping Items

If you’ve checked out the video on how to make plarn, you’ll note there are a few parts of the bag that are not used for plarn, namely the handles and the bottom seam. Not wanting to toss those pieces into the trash I collected them in a container until I could think of something else to do with them. Enter Pill-o-Bags.

Making Pillows with Plastic Bag Remnants

The pillow shown in the picture was created using the accumulated remnants of plastic bags. The cloth material came from an old pair of curtains that were faded and about to be tossed out. Instead of tossing them I washed them cut out a rectangular piece just large enough to fit my collection of plastic remnants.Bag and Pillow

I then used Stitch Witchery  to create seams (thank you Crystal). I don’t sew and Stitch Witchery did a wonderful job of closing the pillow seams. All I had to do was cut a piece of the Stitch Witchery ribbon; place it between the two pieces of fabric, and iron with a damp pressing cloth. Ten seconds of ironing was all it took to bind the fabric together.  No, the pillow isn’t even or very attractive, but I’ll get better with time.

Adding a Bit of Decoration

With the plastic bag remnants securely “stitched” into the pillow, the last thing I decided to add was a button in the middle (or somewhere near the middle). The pillow is a nice accent for outdoor furniture. No worries about it getting wet, after all, the insides are plastic.

If you’re looking for something to do with your growing collecting of plastic grocery bags, try making plarn. Some folks have made backpacks, dresses, floor mats and even shoes. With the excess non-plarn worthy pieces try making a pillow or maybe a bed for your dog. The only limit is your imagination.

Pssst –  For you tree huggers out there, Bag o’ Bags is a great way to get an environmentally friendly conversation started at the checkout line. 😉

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Category: Recycling

About the Author ()

Felicia is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment.

Comments (4)

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  1. Crystal says:

    You’re very welcome for the Stitch Witchery tip, Felicia – I love the stuff! As for plastic bags, did you know you can fuse them together to create fabric for things like bibs? Here’s an Etsy blog tutorial that explains how: https://blog.etsy.com/en/2008/fusing-plastic-bags-with-the-etsy-labs/

    And you can make iron-on decals from plastic bags, too: http://www.filthwizardry.com/2010/03/iron-on-decals-from-plastic-shopping.html

    I’ve done both with good results so give it a try. Just don’t get distracted and set your iron down directly on the plastic – it makes a big mess!

    • Felicia says:

      Wow, there are so many things to do with old grocery bags.

      My bag-o-bag was a big hit at my local health store and local farm. They liked it so much that they want me to make more so they can sell them. I’d really rather show people how to make them, but I might make one or two to see how it goes.

      • Crystal says:

        Well, here’s a potential money-making writing opportunity, Felicia – what about creating detailed instructions with photos for others to make the bags and then they could sell those (with royalties to you, of course)? Or maybe they’d like to just pay you to write up printable instructions so they could print them and give them as promotional freebies? What do you think?

        • Felicia says:

          There’s something to think about with these bag-o-bags. What I really want to do is share the information in a presentation at my library. The more people making bag-o-bags the fewer bags there will be in landfills.

          What I’ve found, however, is folks want the bags but don’t always want to make them. I guess for those people who want to make them I’ll teach. For those who don’t want to or can’t make them, I’ll charge.

          I like your idea about promotional freebies. The more I think about it, there are opportunities to be had with these bag-o-bags. Not just for me, but for anyone willing to make them.