This is the continuing Experimentation Project for fusing plastic bags. You can see the previous experimentation results:
for basic fusing of grocery bags here,
for decorative fusing here,
and for seams and closures here.
This post is Section 4, using plastics other than grocery bags.
This post covers using plastics besides grocery bags, and a couple more closures.
The clear tarp, or drop cloth, was purchased from the hardware store. It was marketed as a painting drop cloth, which we all know from years of movies means body-disposal plastic. If you’re disorganized, you’ll use the shower curtain. If you’re more organized, you’ll use the opaque black plastic drop cloth. But, I digress. The clear tarp wasn’t very clear, more like semi-transparent. I put some bits of purple plastic in the middle so you could see the level of transparency. This is four layers, two on bottom, purple bits, two on top. It works and the plastic is a good thickness, but it isn’t too clear. This might be best for a single layer topper, for clarity purposes.
Ubiqutous blue tarp
The blue tarps are everywhere and I purchased a new one at the hardware store. The bitty sample attached to the outside of the package melted down to this. Looks like it melts pretty well, but the amount of blue coloring coming out of it is discouraging. Let’s try something bigger.
Okay, it doesn’t melt so well. It takes higher heat and more of it and it doesn’t like to meld nicely. This resulting piece is only mostly fused, wrinkled and warped. Maybe it needs a different plastic to join with. Let’s try some blue tarp with grocery bag.
Damn. Blue tarp single layer onto grocery bag is even worse. The differing temp and time points meant this thing barely bonded at all. As well, there is blue over my pieces of parchment now and that will get transferred back onto the next plastic that touches it. There is a smell of hot plastic – which sounds obvious, but there has been no (or almost no) smell on other plastic at any point up to this. The best summary here is that blue tarps are no good for this type of fusing project and I don’t suggest them. On the other hand, I’m certain you could easily patch up a torn blue tarp with another bit of blue tarp or even the above painting tarp. You know, in case you aren’t able or willing to get to the hardware store and spend $5 for a new one.
Since most of our food products nowadays come packaged in plastic, let’s try fusing some. Here is a single bread bag folded in thirds, with a couple scraps of white grocery bag in the middle for aesthetics. (Above pic is pre-fusing.) Result? It fused beautifully! Minimal distortion and good adherence through all plastic layers. Highly recommended.
It fused so well, I immediately turned it into a small envelope pouch with a Velcro closure. The branding designs lined up as if the bread company knew I’d be doing this to their bag.
Seriously! Look at that balanced logo placement! I don’t like looking at brand names, but if you’re not opposed to such a thing, I think there are some great fusing supply opportunities to be found on your next grocer run.
Since we’re into the grocery store plastic, let’s try some vegetable mesh. This piece came from a bag of boiler onions. I love those things. Throw some into the pot with a bit of roast, carrots, and potatoes. Yummy. Again, I digress. I layered the mesh in between two pieces of clear packaging plastic so we could see the mesh well. In this photo, I’ve slipped a piece of fabric behind it all for viewing purposes only. The whole thing fused together fairly well. The mesh pretty much got smaller and melted only enough to stick to the other plastic. It looked cool enough to turn into a simple envelope pouch.
Some quick E6000 glue was used to seam it. This time I installed a magnet to metal closure. I melted a small coil of binding wire into the receiving flat piece (right) and a small but powerful magnet into the flappy bit (left).
This type of closure works quite well – the gentle snick of magnet finding metal through plastic is satisfying and reassuring. Creating this is marginally more difficult than other closure styles. The metal coil pulls heat from your iron and it takes much longer to complete the embedding than you’d expect. Likewise, the magnet wants to get away by sticking to your metal iron, or to your nearby scissors. It isn’t too difficult to manage, being that you’re steadying it through the parchment paper, but maybe don’t make it the first thing you try when you go for your fusing project.
Tyvek shipping bag
These are thicker, tough plastic bags often used for shipping flexible items. This bag is from some clothing I ordered last year. I like that it says “Please Recycle” right on it – because that is what I’m about to do!
Yep, fuses like a dream! Smooth, minimal wrinkling or warping, quick and adhered well all around.
How about caution tape for some added flash?
Excellent! Especially against (my favorite) the black garbage bags that fuse to look like pleather. There was almost no shrinkage or distortion of the caution tape at all. It merely fused down and stayed there.
I cut strips from a soda bottle and wove them between fused grocery bag strips, then heated the whole piece. It looks like it worked….
… but no. No dice. The soda bottle shrunk a miniscule amount and did not fuse at all to the bag plastic.
Alright, that is plenty for now. I’ll post the remainder of the experiment results on Thursday, so come back for more then!