april's creatives

the things i love

Recycle Plastic Grocery Bags into a Fun Easter Basket

So I was on the very addictive Pintrest the other day and saw a link to this guy’s Youtube video on how to recycle plastic grocery bags into rope:

The guy does a really great job of describing and showing how you cut or tear the bags into loops, join the loops together into strands, then braid the strands into rope.

So, I tried it while sitting in front of the TV one night. Success!

With about 75 bags I ended up with about 20 feet of rope. That’s totally a guess. It took about 3 hours, including the cutting, the joining, and the braiding. The rope comes out to be about 1 inch thick with bulges where the knots are.

My hands hurt like crazy so I let them rest for a day.

The next day I was thinking, but what good is the rope by itself? Could I make something else with the rope?

I thought a small “rag rug” would be cool. So I found some twine to tie the rope into a rug. Which was great in theory, but the twine was this natural fiber stuff which shed fibers all over the place. What a mess that was. I ended up having to run the vacuum three times! 😛

I wove the twine back ad forth between the edges of the rope braid. Unfortunately, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was just making it up as I went along. But I learned alot.

I discovered that the weaving sort of naturally wanted to curve itself upwards into a basket, rather than laying flat like a rug. So I just went with it.

Next I learned that if I weaved one segment of rope directly to the matching adjacent one, the slope of the basket walls stay very steep instead of sloping out. My basket is very narrow at the bottom. To get it to slope out, I had to skip every other or every third segment, which I didn’t really learn until almost the end of the basket. I guess if I had wanted it to lay completely flat like for a rug, I would have had to skip even more segments than that.

To make the handles for the basket, I saved about three feet at the end of the project. I simply bent about a one-foot segment up and over, making a sort of “bubble” and not weaving it into the edge of the basket. I reinforced where the rope of the handle left the basket with extra stitching and weaving of twine above and below. Then where the handle re-joined the basket about 5-6 inches down, I re-attached the remaining rope to the basket and re-inforced the joining point with extra stitching and weaving above and below. Then I continued to weave the rope on in the usual way, and went around about 1/3 of the way, just judging by eye where to start the next handle. I fashioned and and attached/re-inforced the next handle exactly the same. Then I was pretty much out of rope, with just a big knot and the trailing ends of the un-braided bags. But I had an inspiration to make a pretty flower out of the layers of plastic. The basket weaving took one very long TV watching evening.

So, here’s some pictures of my finished basket.  It came out super lopsided and won’t stand up flat on its bottom. But I guess that’s okay for a first effort. You can click on a picture for a close-up (use your browser’s “back” button to come back to this post). Sorry I don’t have any in-progress pictures to show you. I’d love to hear your feedback. Is this something you’d do yourself? What other types of projects could you make from the rope?

2013-02-05 Recycled Bags Basket (8u) 2013-02-05 Recycled Bags Basket (7u) 2013-02-05 Recycled Bags Basket (4u) 2013-02-05 Recycled Bags Basket (2u)


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