Melted Plastic Bag Collage

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

I’m a recycler at heart, so projects that incorporate found materials (such as plastic lunch bags and wrapping paper) speak to my soul and my aesthetic. This is one such project. And it was also a true experiment as I’d never done this before and wasn’t at all sure how it would turn out. I love that! I borrowed this idea from MaryAnn Kohl’s Art with Anything.

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

We began by filling plastic lunch bags with odds and ends: stickers, cut-up pieces of old art, and wrapping paper. While we worked on this right after breakfast, which sort of explains the pajamas, my child would live in her pj’s if she could. She seems happiest jumping around the playground, but I think she may be a little cozy homebody at heart.

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

Once the bag was ready, we placed it between two pieces of aluminum foil…

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

and then ironed it flat.

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

After letting it cool for a minute, we peeled the foil apart to reveal our “laminated” art. While difficult to see in the photos, the heated texture of the plastic turned out mottled and bumpy. N wanted to open the bag after we heated it, which led to a nice convo about how the bag melted.

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

Hey, that was fun. Let’s do that again!

Melted Plastic Bag Collage

We made three of these altogether — two were by N and the third was a collaboration (a new word we’re working on!). We made the top two with sandwich baggies and the bottom with a ziplock bag — each worked equally well. This turned out to be fun and educational on a number of fronts:

  • Exploring Volume: My child adores filling bags with things. If she had a mountain of bags to fill while wearing her pajamas all day, she’d be in her own little piece of heaven. If your child likes to fill bags too, this project could be for you!
  • Problem-solving, creative thinking, and exploration: She could choose from an assortment of materials, and was thoughtful about which items to fill the bags with.
  • Practicing a skill: For us this was cutting with Scissors. She’s been practicing this for a while, but has recently hit her cutting stride. So for us, a good half hour was spent on just cutting up wrapping paper.
  • Plastic melts when it’s heated to a high temperature! See yesterday’s Shrinky Dink activity for more on that.
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  1. Like this collaboration a lot for all the skills used and the great outcome! And, pj’s may actually be the best, “Art Uniform”!

  2. Wonderful post, and the photos — as always — are terrific. I’m taken by the final shot displaying the collages; what are the cool sticker-looking thingies you’ve used to hang them? A previous project I missed? Thanks.

  3. What fun way to recycle. I bet they make awesom sun catchers too.

  4. @Gail — pj’s are a fabulous art uniform. well, anything is, really!
    @Suzette — they’re magnets that a friend of mine made from her son’s art.
    @polwig — sun catchers! good idea 🙂

  5. my pleasure! i hope they enjoy it. and, i checked out your blog, and love what you’re up to. i have a feeling i’ll soon be moving our hole puncher to the art table!

  6. Melting plastic bags with an iron releases a lot of carcinogens…. if you have to do this, be sure the place is very well ventilated and don’t have the kids around!! It is very cute, but can be very bad for the lungs.

    • I hadn’t considered that, Rosalind. Thanks for reminding me to investigate the outcomes of our art experiments more closely.

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