DIY Specialist - Natalya Konforti

Written by Natalya Konforti

Quilting with Plastic Bags/Paper

Lately the quarantine has inspired me to push traditional crafting boundaries. While I personally have no shortage of supplies on hand, I’ve found myself thinking about those using this extra free time to get into new hobbies but with most stores closed, aren’t able to shop for material.

Seeing as the past few weeks of grocery deliveries has translated to a plethora of unwanted plastic bags, something everyone likely has at home, I’ve been up-cycling them into quilted art.

If you’ve managed to somehow avoid plastic bags during this time, kudos to you! I’ve also used the shrink wrap from our toilet paper rolls and the packaging from pasta or rice. If you prefer to go plastic free, I’ve also made a paper version (no sewing required!).

Plastic Quilting

Image courtesy - Natalya Konforti

Required Materials:

- Plastic bags or other plastic packaging

- Masking Tape

- Scissors

- Permanent marker

- A printed quilting pattern

- Needle (a medium to thin size with a sharp tip such as a beading or crewel needle is best, avoid cross stitch needles with dull tips)

- Thread (regular sewing machine thread is fine)

Step 1:

- Gather your plastic or paper. Cut the handles, bottom and one side of each plastic bag to form a flat sheet. Try to get a broad selection and choose a few within a similar color range.

- Aim for a variety, for the paper version I mixed newspaper, wrapping paper, a magazine clipping and construction paper.

- I’ve found that loud and tacky patterns like those from advertisements actually translate really well into quilting.

- Prefer slightly thicker, opaque plastics

Image courtesy - Natalya Konforti

Step 2:

- Print out a quilting pattern, you can find lots of quilting square designs with a quick google search. The lotus motif I worked on here is a Khayamiya pattern from The Tentmakers of Cairo.

- Check how many colors your pattern requires and choose a different plastic bag or paper for each color.

Step 3:

- Transfer your quilting pattern. Tape your pattern to a window, then tape your plastic over it.

- Using a permanent marker trace over the shapes for one color. If there are spaces where your shapes overlap, take this into account, you may need to extend one shape so that it fits under the others such as overlapping squares on quilt patterns.

- Repeat this step with a different sheet of plastic for each of the colors and one for the background.

Step 4:

- Cut out all the shapes.

- Choose a large plastic sheet for the background and tape all the shapes on the background to recreate your quilting pattern.

- Make tiny dots around the edges with the tip of your marker so that it’s easy to find your placement if anything shifts.

Image courtesy - Natalya Konforti

Step 5:

- Starting with the bottom layer, begin attaching your shapes to the background using a blanket stitch.

- You may need to temporarily move the overlapping pieces out of the way. Remove the pieces of tape as you go along stitching around the border of each piece.

Image courtesy - Natalya Konforti