Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Upcycled Plastic Pom-Pom Wreath

To say that I was kept busy this holiday season would have been an understatement! haha, Pretty constant orders from Thanksgiving and on, plus the gifts that I wanted to make gave me little spare time for blogging.
Upcycled Plastic Bag Pom-Pom Wreath

I just barely finished my upcycled shopping bag wreath in time for the holidays, though I didn't get to put it up where I'd originally intended. Oh well, the beauty of what it's made of is that it should last for quite awhile! For this, I used:
* A wire wreath frame I bought from Joann as the base
*Some cotton twine I got from someone on Freecycle (score!)
*A rotary cutter
*A self-healing mat
*Plastic shopping bags (plus some other plastic bags)

First, I needed to make "plarn" (plastic yarn). In order to be both frugal and at least sort of eco-friendly, I used only plastic bags that I had around (or that I could get from friends or relatives that had them lying around) and didn't "cheat" by asking for extra bags or snagging some from a store OR buying them. You'll notice a few non-shopping bag pom poms in my wreath... I had to make over 60 pom-poms to fill this rather sizable wreath and just don't get that many when I shop! There's a "bag" from when I ordered boxes from USPS in there and a few bread bags. Many of the bags I used were from craft stores (Joann & Michael's especially), as well as Target and Walmart.

If you're not familiar with making things like bags and t-shirts into long, continuous "strings", here's a short tutorial (with bags and a rotary trimmer, though I'm sure you can figure out the shirt way and/or the scissors way as well):
1: Lay the bag flat (if there is a logo on the bag, you want that side up or side down).
2: Cut off the bottom and top/handles of the bag so you're left with a rectangular tube.
3: Slice bag from side to side, leaving about 1" on one side uncut (makes it look a bit like a fork or comb)
4: Open the now-sliced bag and work with the 2" connected part, cutting diagonally from one previous cut to the next.
5: You have plarn! (or tarn, if it's a t-shirt)

From there, make pom-poms with the pom-pom maker (seriously, these things are a godsend!! I didn't realize what I was missing until I broke down and bought one!). I used the Clover one, size Large. One regular-sized shopping bag made about one pom-pom, while the large bags (popular around the holidays) made about three pom-poms. Be sure you leave a long tail when you are tying the pom-pom.

Tie pom-poms randomly to your wreath frame.

You COULD do this with a styrofoam wreath, but I preferred the freedom and precision that the wire one allowed me (plus, it was cheaper! $3 at Joann... or $1.50ish with a coupon). Another plus? I could put Christmas lights through the back for a bit of extra pizzazz.

I imagine this could also work for other seasons (for fall, the brown bags you find in a lot of grocery stores could work well!). It could also be decorated with silk flowers, ribbons, bows...

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