Friday, April 30, 2010

Recycled Craft: Plastic Bag Beads

 I've really been getting into making recycled crafts lately... and when I saw this, I knew I had to try it.  Here's how I made myself a plastic-bag bead bracelet:

I used:

  • a plastic bag
  • Mod Podge (or any other glue)
  • tape
  • plastic straw
  • nail polish
  • old t-shirt

Start with a plastic bag.  Cut the handles and the bottom off (save these and toss them into one of those plastic recycling bins at the grocery store).

Flatten the bag out, and cut it in half so that you've got two big "sheets" of plastic.
Put one aside, and cut the other in half.

Again, put one half aside.  Now smear some Mod Podge right in the middle of the sheet.

Fold the bottom up and smooth it out.  It doesn't have to be perfect.

Add more glue if you need to and fold the top edge down to the bottom edge.

Now fold it in half 'hot dog' style, and glue it in place.  Now you've got one long strip.

Cut the strip in half (I guess now hamburger style), put aside one strip half, and grab a straw and some tape. Place the straw at the bottom, and use a little tape to attach it to the plastic.

Smear some more Mod Podge on the plastic, and roll it up on the straw as tightly as you can.  Then slap on a good coat of glue.  Sometimes you need a little tape on the end of the plastic, if the glue doesn't hold it down.

Let the glue dry for at least a few hours.  I whipped up a bag's worth of beads, stuck the straws in a jar of sea glass (which I have sitting around for another project), and left them overnight.

When they're dry, snip the straw off where it meets the plastic.  Here's the base of your bead.  You can leave it as it is, which can be pretty cool with letters and color showing through... but I wanted some color and sparkle.  Considering I have a bag full of nail polish that I hardly ever use...

Obviously you can use whatever colors you like.  I chose a cute robin's egg blue, bright pink, black, and a shimmery- clear color.

I stuck a bead on a thin wood stick to paint.  Paint it your base color- you'll need two or three coats.  Let the polish dry between each coat.

When the last coat was dry, I used a toothpick to paint a swirly-dotted design in black.

I also brushed a coat of shimmery polish on top, but forgot to take a picture.  Oooops....

Once the beads are all painted and dried, all you need is a way to wear them.  I cut a strip from an old t-shirt that was a little bigger than my wrist (big enough to wrap around and bed able to tie a knot).

String the beads onto the t-shirt strip,

tie a knot, and you're done.  Yay for recycling!

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My name is Sarah. I am a wife; the mother of three beautiful and crazy girls; a person of many interests, many that I am just finding out; and just generally me in every way.
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