Garlands, banners, buntings (whatever you want to call them) seem to be all the rage in blog-land right now.  And I’m loving them! (even if I am way behind the trend).  With Valentine’s day right around the corner, I decided to take a stab at creating my own and I’m going to show you exactly how I did it.

Thus I bring you-my first DIY post (insert blaring trumpets here).  *Ahem* Clearing Throat* Now let’s begin.

This project, started with a Freckled Nest DIY for fusing plastic bags (I basically followed the exact steps posted on the Freckled Nest blog, but here is a look at my simple steps):

Step 1: Fusing plastic bags

1. Go through your stash of plastic shopping bags and pick out a few with some fun colors

2. Cut the top off the bag and cut a slit in the bottom to let air out

3. Fold the bag on itself  until it’s 6 to 8-ply thick (Fold anything you don’t want to see inwards…in this case the word ULTA – Note some of the lettering/pattern may show through depending on how distinct it is or how many layers you’re fusing, but since this won’t cost you much of anything, just play around until you figure out what you like best!)

4. Place the folded up plastic bag between 2 layers of kraft paper (I used a brown shopping bag that I cut apart to lay flat)

5. Using an iron set on a med-hot setting with no steam, iron the kraft paper & folded plastic bag sandwich until the bags have melted and fused into one layer.  It took me about 2-3 minutes per bag.  When you lift up the kraft paper to check your progress you should see no bubbles…if there are still bubbles, iron it a bit more.  And whatever you do, don’t panic…this isn’t rocket science…it’s just melting plastic bags!

(Note: Just make sure you have brown kraft paper in between the plastic bags and your iron and the plastic bags and your ironing board…otherwise you may have to scrape melted plastic off a few things)

6. Any bits of kraft paper that stick to the fused plastic bags can be removed with a sponge and some water

Step 2: Cut your shape

 

After your plastic has cooled, use a pair of scissors and cut out whatever shape you want.  I cut hearts for Valentine’s day. I just free-handed them, but you could print out a heart from your computer and trace the shape onto the plastic then cut following the lines.

Step 3: join together

I used my sewing machine to stitch through the hearts. Part because it was fast…and part because I love sewing on things that aren’t fabric!  In order to put space between the hearts when stitching them together, grab the tail of the thread from the back of the machine and gently pull as you press on the presser foot of the machine, when you have enough space in between stitch on the next heart…practice a few times and you’ll get the hang of it. 

And that’s it…hang up your banner with pride!

Tips (aka things I learned screwing this up the first time plus alternative ways to finish your garland if you don’t have a sewing machine):

Stitch the hearts toward the upper half of the heart.  Due to the weight of the top half of the heart compared to the bottom half they will flip upside down if you sew them more toward the middle (dang gravity!)…you know, because there is more area on the top compared to the bottom? (geometry anyone?  no?…me either, just picture Dolly Pardon) Don’t worry if you do it wrong like I did, they are still cute when half of the hearts flip upside down!

If you use a sewing machine you’ll want to change the needle before sewing fabric again as sewing paper (or fused plastic bags) will dull the needle.  I have a special set of needles set aside just for sewing non-fabric things, this way I don’t dull a brand new needle each project.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, or don’t want to lug it out of the closet (I know that feeling!), you could hand-sew this garland with a simple running stitch using either yarn, embroidery floss, regular thread, or even twine (Oooooooh twine would be purdy I think!)  You could even just hot glue the hearts onto a long piece of ribbon!  Easy right!

Happy first DIY post – Hope you’ve enjoyed.  I’m planning to add a few more and I’m sure I’ll learn a few things along the way! Comments & suggestions always welcomed!

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