Fused Plastic Bag Bibs
My little buddy just decided that he was done with all this spoon-feeding, but his hand-feeding skills generate a lot of interesting kibble on the seat of his chair and on the floor. Maybe it's time to get a dog, but in the meantime I thought a bib with a pocket would cut down the crumb zone a little. I looked at pocket bibs a few times at the local box stores, but I have a hard time paying over $5 for something I can make myself. (Even if I know I'll never get around to it). When I saw a tutorial on how to fuse plastic bags together to make a thicker, sew-able plastic, I thought it would be fun to try this and make a few bibs.
The tutorial I followed left out a few important pointers. I've since found a better tutorial that shows this process in detail here.
I took eight plastic bags and cut the handles and the seam off the bottom. I cut one side to lay them flat and layered them with the printed sides on top of each other. I used parchment paper under the bags, and had one piece I moved around with the iron.
After a few seconds I realized the iron must be too hot, because this is what happened:
I turned the iron down from the cotton setting and tried again. When I finished it was a bit bubbly in places where it didn't fuse completely, but at least it didn't immediately begin melting holes. Each iron will be a bit different, but I'd suggest you start with the iron set in the middle and turn it up or down as you need.
My finished plastic fused together for the most part but there were bubbles where a layer or two didn't fuse. The tutorial I followed didn't mention turning the plastic over partway through, or re-ironing it until all bubbles fuse. I guess I don't mind the bubbling so much on a bib, it made it a little softer, but if you want to sew something like a tote you would need it completely fused so it won't rip.
I also learned the hard way that any printing on the bag would stick to the paper, so printing needs to be on the inside. It wasn't a huge problem but it made it a little messy.
I then used a bib I had to trace a pattern. This bib didn't have a pocket so at the bottom I flipped the bib and turned it out a little so the pocket would stay open all the time.
The fused bags cut easily, and though my little buddy will be advertising for a major box store, he'll just be making a mess all over it.
To finish the bib, I dug in my stash and found some bias tape. I didn't have any double-fold tape, which would have worked better, but I figured it would be silly if I went out and bought supplies to make this when I wouldn't pay for a finished product. (The age-old crafting trap!) I also had some sewable Velcro in my stash. I sewed the tape across the pocket first, then used one long piece to go from one bottom corner of the bib to the other. I sewed on the Velcro, and was finished. The bib was far from perfect but I had to keep reminding my perfectionist self: "Self, this is a BIB!".
Only 45 minutes had passed from start to finish, so I used the other half of the fused bags to make a second bib. Wow, I got two bibs done in one naptime AND I helped save sea turtles!
An alternate, also eco-friendly material to use would be to cut up an old plastic tablecloth, like the one you happened to set that hot pot down on one spot...
Here is a pattern for this bib. I think I might make it a little longer next time, this can be done easily by adding an inch or two where the pieces join. The images should be printed at 8 1/2 x 11 for it to be the correct scale. Remember printing from your browser will resize the image, so save it then print it.