Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Make Recycled Plastic Bag Boots

How to Make Recycled Plastic Bag Boots

Plastic bags, one of the most common forms of household waste, are a pervasive problem in many cities and municipalities, gradually building up in watersheds, landfills and even on city streets as litter. Several environmentally-conscious designers, however, have chosen to attack the problem with ingenious designs to reuse plastic bags and plastic bag materials, turning the slow biodegrading process of plastic bags into an advantage for making durable consumer goods. For instance, Louie Rigano, a designer working in collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design, proposed a clever method for recycling plastic bags into rain boots.


Plastic Bag Lining


    Cut off the sealed end and handles from each of your bags with scissors. Discard the removed ends and flatten out the remaining rectangles of plastic. Fold the bags inside out if they have any ink designs on the outside surface.


    Make a straight rectangular stack of eight plastic bags and place it over your ironing surface.


    Cut out a piece of cheesecloth to the dimensions of your plastic bag stack (approximately one square foot) and place it over the stack of plastic bags. Place eight more plastic bags over the cheesecloth, making a stack of 16 plastic bags with a layer of cheesecloth in the middle. Make sure all the ends of the bags and cheesecloth are aligned into one rectangular stack.


    Cover the whole stack with a layer of parchment paper.


    Heat your iron and gently go over the stack covered with parchment paper. Run the iron over the stack until the plastic has melted, fused with the cheesecloth and created a solid plastic lining.


    Allow the lining to cool and use scissors to remove uneven ends or loose pieces of plastic or cheesecloth.


    Repeat the process with 16 more bags and the remaining square foot of cheesecloth, making two pieces of one square foot of lining.

Making Template Forms


    Mark template forms on each piece of lining using a shoe or boot as a model to adjust the template to the proper size. Begin by drawing the shape of your sole on the lining.


    Draw a half oval on the lining that will serve as the tip of your boot. Use an existing shoe or boot to take the measurement, rolling the tip of the shoe over the lining to measure the amount of lining that would be used by the shoe tip if it were separated from the sole and flattened. Use the measurement from the middle of your shoe to the tip as the height of the oval.


    Cut out the boot leg from the remaining piece of lining. The leg will be a rectangle, where the height of the rectangle will determine the height of your boot from the sole to the top and the width will determine how wide the boot leg will be. Cut the two bottom corners of the rectangle on a diagonal to make the process of attaching them to the tip easier.


    Repeat the process for the remaining side, using the opposite shoe. If you started with the left shoe, for instance, take measurement for your right shoe on the other piece of lining.

Making Boots


    Place the sole for your left boot flat on the ground.


    Take the half oval you made for the tip and curve it over the tip of the sole, so that the sides of the oval are all in contact with the rims of the sole.


    Hold the two pieces in place and begin to fasten them together by going over the connection with a needle and thread. Go over the connection with loose stitching at first to hold the pieces in place and then repeat the process with tighter stitching in order to create a durable seam.


    Hold the rectangular piece of lining against the back of the sole, curving the piece into a cylinder where the two tips cut at a diagonal are on the bottom and allow you to connect the leg to the tip while leaving room for your foot.


    Use needle and thread to stitch the rectangle together as a cylinder, connect the bottom to the ends of the tip and the back to the sole. Go over all the stitching to reinforce the connection and, once the stitching is solid, cover all of the connections with a thin layer of plastic sealant to waterproof the boots and stitching. Repeat the process for the remaining side and piece of lining.

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