Friday, 10 September 2010

Looking for ideas for all those charity bags.

I have got maybe a hundred or so of those charity bags which keep coming through the door, sometimes three or four in a week appear. What are we supposed to do with them all, help!!!! It is getting ridiculous, and I am sure some of the charities are made up, and not charities at all.

In the past I have turned them into yarn and knitted bags with them. This is fun when you just make a couple, but I guess it would be boring if you started churning loads of them out. I have also been cutting them into strips and using them as plant ties, stops the tomatoes and beans flopping all over the place. But there must be other uses.

This is an idea I pinched from the internet, can't remember where I saw it but the idea is to weave circles and make them up into bags. So let's give it a whirl.

You need a bowl, I picked this plastic one because it has a rim at an angle, and you need to stretch some elastic round it to hold everything into place while you work on it. First you cut several lengths and attach the ends under the elastic, like the spokes of a wheel. You need to have an odd number of spokes so you get a shorter piece and tie one end to the centre and slip the other end under the elastic.

Then you make yarn out of the bags. This is done by cutting the bottom off a bag, then cutting one inch wide strips from the bottom to the top. This will give you lots of circles. You link them together giving one continous length, but it's best to join them one at a time as you weave. Start at the centre and work your way towards the outer edge.

When you have enough, the weaving gets a little bit slack at this point because the spokes are further apart, take it off the bowl. Now is the fiddley bit, you have to work carefully or it all falls apart. Bring all the loose ends onto one side, and tuck them in using a crochet hook.

This is what you end up with. Next you get four pieces of clear plastic bags and put two layers top and bottom, then two pieces of brown, or greaseproof paper, top and bottom. Then you iron both sides. The iron needs to be fairly hot but not too hot, and you need to put equal pressure on all over, with extra pressure on the edges to seal them.
Peel away the paper, and cut off the excess clear plastic from around the edge, and this is what you end up with. I have put these blue butterflies cut from a childs plastic umbrella, underneath the layer of clear plastic, to seal them in.

The idea is to make two of these and join them together using a piece of strapping or a belt, for the gusset and handle, leaving an opening at the top. You could also use them as placemats, they will wipe clean, but then it might be easier to get placemats from a car boot sale for a pound, ha ha. Ah well, back to the drawing board.


  1. I just noticed your sisters suggestion. When I am out with my girl-freinds, I have no qualms at all in asking for soda water at 20p. As I dont drink spririts/wine when I am out, I find soda water quite refreshing and no bar-man has ever batted an eyelid.

  2. Thanks Kath, I might give it a try, if I am out with someone else and they pay full price for a drink.

  3. I have a collection of these bags as well. What annoys me is they say to put them out on such and such a day even if empty and they'll take them and presumably use them again which is good but when I've put them out they've never been collected. Not sure I have the patience for this though!

  4. Have a look on the bags to see if they are recyclable. I refuse plastic bags now whereever I go - they so bad for the environ. Can you take them out with you to pick up dog waste, use them for garbage etc. Find out who is sending them and try and get them stopped. Become an activist !!!?O)