This project is the most classy thing I have rendered in plastic shopping bags to date! A tote made of shopping bags and plastic lids. And all for the price of a roll of masking tape! When the July/Aug. 09 issue of Crochet Today came out, I was immediately drawn to the beach tote made out of rings. Since I had been working in plastic, my first thought was to wonder if it could be rendered in shopping bags. The photo of the woman holding the tote up gave me the relative size of the rings and it showed me that they were about the size of a large vegetable spread lid. Inspiration hit like a bolt of lightening! I would see if I could make the project out of spread lids and plastic bags. The most difficult part of the idea was finding that many spread lids! I would need two to form each ring. After searching through the misc. lids I had in the house and soliciting friends and neighbors, I finally was able to create the requisite number of rings by using one spread lid and one Cool Whip lid for each one. I began by carefully removing the centers . I did this by making a hole in the lid and inserting my scissors into this hole to cut out the center without damaging the outside ring. I only cut out the flat piece in the very center of the lids, leaving the outside ring which is raised slightly higher than the very center. (These centers are great for separating hamburgers or other frozen meats so that they come apart easier, but the ring is the portion needed for this project.) When the lids are placed back to back, there is a small hollow section in the middle which is filled with the handles and bottom seams left over from preparing the shopping bags. This uses up the “scraps” of the bags and gives greater strength to the rings. Then I used masking tape to tape the two lids together with the bag scraps trapped inside. For the two smaller rings, I cut and taped together sour cream lids. Unlike the Cool Whip lids which are small enough to fit inside the spread lids, the sour cream lids are the same size and have to be adjusted to fit together. Without cutting all the way through the ring, I make a slit in the outer side edge of the lids like that in the above photo. This allows two lids to interlock, insides together. Having solved the problem of the rings, I went to work on the crocheting. The only additional step that I took which was not called for by the pattern was to connect the completed rings together with masking tape (duct tape might have been even better) before covering the tape with strips of plastic bags. This was largely for reinforcement. The finished tote was surprisingly elegant and was somewhat better suited to be used as a beach tote than the original design. The plastic would not collect as much sand as the yarn would and could easily be cleaned with water and air-dried. By the time I was finished, I had recycled 32 large plastic lids, 4 small ones, and approximately 65 to 70 shopping bags!
Categories: “New Life” posts reflect up-cycled projects while “New Purpose” lables are for re-purposed projects.