Testing Plastic Techniques

It has been a wild week of testing out plastic techniques in my room. Maybe its fumes, but I am actually really enjoying working with plastics. It has definitely got me out of my comfort zone but, also I feel really good about it too. Funky times.

The research behind this project is about how the use of single use plastics are bad for the environment. According to Surfers Against Sewage, there are 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic in the ocean. That’s a lot of plastic! You can find my further research here.

My technique links into using the single use plastics as it fuses plastics together with heat! Not only will it use up my single use plastics, but will also provide added insulation to people who are living on the streets. This links into my concept of adding value to the maker and the customer. I have also explored other techniques such as weaving, making plarn, sewing and knitting.

Fusing

Fusing is a fun technique to collage with. It is really easy too with you only needing your iron on setting one and some single use plastics. The plastics melt really easily and also provide some interesting textures too. The underside of some crisp packets provided some interesting texture too. I also figured out that more plastics once its fused, the more the plastics will wrinkle.

First fusing sample. Iron was too hot, hence crinkled texture.
Offcut collaged plastics fused together.
The underside of a melted crisp packet.

Plarn

Plarn is plastic yarn. It can be made out of old plastic bags very easily. However, there is still waste from this process. I have tried to make a yarn out of any waste from this process. This creates a ball of plarn which is so unique and different from anything else and that is individual to what I am buying and where I am shopping. I like the idea of giving this ball of waste, to Grace for her to use in her project. Lets see where that goes! Read more about my plarn journey here!

Photo showing how you don’t use all the parts of a plastic bag in the middle of plarn construction.
My plarn samples from a Tesco, Sainsbury’s and blue plastic bag.
My plastic waste plarn.

Sewing

I found with sewing with plastics works better on two bits of fused plastics on top of each other. The plastic is stronger than one layer of plastic as the plastic wrappers are too filmsy. I also found out the needle makes clear holes in the plastic so you have to be careful there.

Used blue plarn to sample a fish on fused Hula Hoop packets.

Weaving

I tried two ways of weaving with plastics. One with the warp out of plastic and one with the warp out of string. The first sample had a very tight weave out of Sainsbury’s bags. I also fused plastic on top of the weave with the iron. Here, the weaving slightly melted but not too much as it was densely packed. The second sample was more of a loosely weaved sample with the warp made out of plastic.

Sample 1- weft out of string.
Sample 2- weft out of plastic bags.

Knitting

I found the knitting quite tricky in the end. I think the plastic didn’t have the slip needed, so knitting with it, ended up being very tight and very difficult. Nevertheless, I figured it out! I did actually break two stitches, so there is a hole in my knitting, but it makes for a really nice ring. I decided that I didn’t want to pursue this technique just due to the difficultly of making it.

Showing you my struggle with plastic knitting.
My knitted sample with a hole.
My knitted plastic ring.

Out of testing all of these techniques, I realised that I wanted to focus primarily on fusing and sewing. Weaving and knitting were just a little too difficult and too time intensive in this three week project.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Shirley Mclauchlan says:

    Layla this is great body of exciting sampling. I very much enjoyed reading and looking at your post. Your written work further demonstrates your knowledge of this subject. I am looking forward to seeing what you present next !
    Shirley

    Like

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