Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DEMO! Plastic Bag Prints

DEMO! Plastic Bag Prints

June is home to Earth Day, and this month is all about crafting with recycled plastic. I've been making art with plastic bottle caps and now it's time for art with the ubiquitous urban tumbleweed, the plastic bag. Find one in a nearby tree? Have a few sitting at home? Don't want to risk the fumes from the fusing process? Why not use them to make prints - the textures make for great backgrounds for journaling, or you can recreate effects like fabric or wood . . .

or they can make great backgrounds for collages . . . like this one that I did using pieces from my various heat moldable foam stamp experiments and touch ups with red acrylic paint.

So, here's how to do it!

1. Start with a basic plastic bag - I like the ones made of thin plastic.
Fold it flat and smooth it out.

2. Now, trim the bottom off so that you have a plastic tube.

3. Cut down one side of the plastic bag, and snip the handles so that
it will lay flat.

4. You want to end up with a large, flat piece of plastic.

5. Now, get a piece of scrap cardboard that is smaller than the piece of plastic.
You're going to want to be able to wrinkle it up over the surface, and
still be able to wrap the plastic around the edges. Now cover the cardboard with glue - I like
Beacon's 3-in-1 glue - it's water based, but it dries water proof. It's a little stinky, but not
too bad, and it adheres to both plastic and cardboard. You're going to want to get a pretty thick coat - the goal is to get lots of textures from the plastic, and the more glue,
the more textures you can get.

6. Use an old credit card or piece of cardboard to spread the glue around
so that you have a more even, but still thick, coat that covers the whole surface.

7. Now, center the plastic over the cardboard and begin
gluing it to the surface.

8. Move the plastic around with your fingers to create textures.
You can make sworls, or imitate wood, or just random wrinkles.

9. Let it dry. The glue is thick and this can take a very long time. Make dinner.
Watch a movie. Go to sleep. Then, wait another day.
It might be dry by now. So, trim the plastic leaving several inches
all the way around. Now, wrap the plastic around the edges and tape them down.

10. Here's what the back looks like.

11. And here's what the front looks like. Ok, it's what the back and the front
of one I did a few weeks ago look like. The process doesn't actually change what
the bag looks like - and I was impatient to do some photos and some prints.

12. Now it's time to print! Get a non-porous surface, a soft rubber brayer,
and some water based printing ink. Squeeze some ink onto the rolling
surface, roll it out with the brayer, and . . .

12. Roll the ink onto the plastic!

13. Lay some paper over the inked plastic, and press evenly.

14. You've got a really cool print! You can clean the printing plate off with a damp
sponge and use it over and over again, combining it with prints from other plates, and building up lots of texture and color.


Cyndi L said...

GREAT way to make background papers!! Thanks :-)

Geek+Nerd said...

Pretty! I love this idea!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

Wow, this is really creative, I love it! I'll be linking to this.