reusable utensils to-go tutorial

by contributor on 21/01/2009

in Green Crafting, Whip Up Tutorials

These fused plastic bags & bamboo utensils rolled up for eating “on the go” are a great, green way to eat & run.

About the designer: Lenny is the owner of garden party, NYC’s freshest green-minded events! she writes tried & true tips for getting your party on greenie style on her blog, garden party NYC.

reusable picnic utensil rollup

You will need:

6-8 plastic shopping bags : scissors : iron : wax paper : sewing machine : fork/knife/spoon/chopsticks—I used bamboo ones, but vintage ones are cool too : bandana/napkin : ribbon

for this first part, feel free to head over the this etsy lab tutorial (it’s got pictures!!)

reusable picnic utensil rollup

Sort through all of those plastic bags you have balled up under your sink.
Cut off the handles & bottoms then turn them inside out. otherwise the ink will get all over the place. seriously.
Open the bag out to a large rectangular shape. Lay 6-8 layers of plastic—two layers per bag, on top of each other.
Lay parchment paper or baking paper over the bags and under them on top of your ironing board. – Open windows to allow the room to vent.
Start ironing—usually I use the rayon setting, however, my ‘old as the hills’ iron is fussy. Experiment with your settings to see what works best.
Keep the iron moving & check it after about 20 seconds or so. It will shrink a bit—that’s how you will know it’s working.
Flip it once you see some signs of shrinkage. Keep ironing until all the layers have fused together.

At this point trim the edges, leaving a nice rectangular mat. The size of your mat depends on the size utensils you use – measure and check out big you want it.
Cut another smaller piece of fused material, big enough to accommodate your utensils & hold them securely – for a pocket. You will need 3 slots, 4 if you add chopsticks – and reasonably deep so they don’t fall out.

reusable picnic utensil rollup

Place the pocket about a half inch from the edge of the mat—I put mine near the bottom left edge—and begin sewing along the sides & bottom edge of the smaller utensil pouch. Use zigzag stitch or straight stitch. Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to strengthen the pocket.
Sew three lines down through the pocket to make four smaller utensil pockets.

reusable picnic utensil rollup

Cut a 13 inch piece of ribbon. Find the middle of the ribbon & sew onto the right edge of your mat. You will tie this to keep your mat rolled up.
Put your knife/fork/spoon/chopsticks in their respective slots.
Lay a bright colored bandana or other exciting flea market napkin on top.
Roll up the mat & secure with ribbon tie!
Throw it in your bag so the next time you’re out & about you can skip the plastic utensils.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laughingrat January 22, 2009 at 11:43 am

The finished result is really cute, and I applaud reusing stuff. There’s a safety issue that merits pointing out, however: many plastics give off toxic fumes when heated, and since these bags are certainly not designed to be fused or ironed, there’s a good chance that they give off such fumes. Just because you can’t smell anything or don’t experience an immediate effect doesn’t mean there’s no danger.

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2 lenny January 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm

hi laughing rat.

point well taken. before starting the project, i looked up some details. according to the household product database, run by the NIH (this may/not impress you)–that heating the bags produced these results.

, “Inhalation Toxicity: No adverse effects expected from the normal use of this product. Breathing vapors and fumes from heating the polymer to decomposition
may cause eye, mucous membrane and respiratory irritation.”

i concluded that because you are not heating the bags to decomposition–far from it in fact–i was in the clear. but you are right to assume your own comfort level.

hope that helps!

Reply

3 gutzdie July 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm

That a cool idea. Maybe also if u sew the hankershift to the backside u can use it as a mat. :)

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