Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to Make Your Own Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags

 I've been promising you all a giveaway over at The Skinny and now it's finally here!  Go HERE to enter for a chance to win a reusable snack or sandwich bag of your very own!  Clicking on that link will also lead you to a lot more pictures of all the fun snack and sandwich bags I've made.  Yes, that's right.  They're snack and sandwich bags made by yours truly from recycled grocery bags.  Sweeeet!  And it's easy to win.  Promise, promise.  So go enter!

Antsy to make your own?  Here's a quick how-to:

-Collect a lot of plastic grocery bags.  And when I say a lot I mean A LOT.  If you're like me and want to do crafts the minute you see them instead of waiting to accumulate the supplies in a calm, responsible way, you can do what I did and hit up your local grocery store's grocery bag recycle bin.  I asked before I took a few bags full o' bags, but I don't think anyone would care.  After all, you are recycling them.

-Make your grocery bags into "fabric."  To learn how to do this method (It's a tricky process, I'm not gonna lie.) I referenced the following tutorials:

-Dana's excellent tutorial for using this method to make reusable grocery bags on So You Think You're Crafty.  I love the idea for the milk bag, by the way.  (Be sure to check out Dana's blog MADE too.  Everything she shares is always so darling and classic.  Thanks Dana!)

-Etsy Lab Archive's tutorial on just the method for melting plastic bags into "fabric."  (I found this link via Dana's tutorial.)  This tutorial is an excellent starting place.
-Ashley's tutorials for constructing really cool belts using this method in a variety of different ways.  Her tutorial using a rice bag as a belt was the first time I came across this method.  Her belt tutorial using this method to combine product labels is also really cool and gave me some great ideas.  Thanks Ashley!  (Be sure to check out Ashely's blog Lil Blue Boo.  She is uber creative and works in such a variety of mediums.  She is an endless source of inspiration.)

Now for a few of my own tips:
-If you plan on melting bigger pieces all at once, I suggest buying some white butcher paper.  The bookstore near our house sells it for about 30 cents per yard.  I bought two yards, but one yard would be more than enough.  Then I just made a sleeve out of it like Ashley does in her tutorials.  This proved to be the simplest method for me.
-I always used 8 ply of grocery bags.
-Test your iron out to see which setting works best.  A cotton setting seems to be the general consensus.
-After cutting out my bag template I sometimes put the cut bag piece into the butcher paper sleeve and ironed it just a tiny bit more around the edges to help seal up those edges in case there were bubbles that left openings.

-Follow this tutorial I wrote for templates and how to construct your reusable snack and sandwich bags.  You will find the templates for these bags there. (Another big thanks to Jerilyn of French Sleep Deprivation Study for sharing her templates.)  Oh, and if you're making sandwich bags, be sure to use the larger template.

Good luck making your own!  If you have questions feel free to e-mail me or leave your question(s) in the comments (with your e-mail) and I'll try and get back to you as quick as I can.  And, as always, I'd love to see pictures if you make any!

Note: The giveaway mentioned in this post is now closed.


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

These are totally awesome!!

Wendy said...

Abso-freaking-lutely great!

Kayla said...

Can these be washed through the washing machine?

Katie Lewis said...

Kayla- I don't think they should go through the washing machine or dishwasher. I don't really know since I haven't tried, but I'd worry about a melted plastic mess if it went in either. They can, however, be washed with soap and water just fine. Hope that helps! :)

Wendy said...

Ok, I tried last night and came out with a lumpy, bumpy mess. I'm in awe of your smooth-fusing skills. I'll keep plugging away at it, though...practice makes perfect!

Katie Lewis said...

Wendy- Haha. I totally understand what you mean. I've definitely had a few "practice" ones. I find that keeping the iron constantly moving at a quick pace helps avoid quite so many bubbles. Also, adding one ply of a "nicer" bag (mall store brand bags like Children's Place--they're slightly thicker) helps to keep the bags a little more smooth too. Good luck! You'll get it soon!

Little Ol' Liz said...

Any thoughts on using food safe materials? I worry that the inks are toxic, not to mention the plastic up against consumables. That's the only thing holding me back -- I really, really like these!

Infarrantly Creative said...

Wow that is really neat. I totally need to make some. I have been using ziplocs for my kids lunches and it is getting expensive. Thanks for the link up.

D said...

Love this idea but do it in a well ventalated area or you could end up inhaling toxic fumes.