When layered, heated, and pressurized, plastic bags will melt or fuse to each other or themselves creating a new type of durable, sewable fabric. There are three main ways that Lou utilizes fusing:
Fusing Bags to Themselves: This works best with heavier and thicker bags such as chip and coffee bags. This process takes many hours as there are thousands of bags in the studio that need to be processed in this way. The end result is a sealed and durable sheet of plastic fabric. This type of bag is used for snap pouches and totes.
Layered Fusing: The next method involves more pliable bags such as frozen foods and newspaper bags. These bags more readily fuse to each other in varied layers so Lou can really get creative about designs and patterns and create large pieces of yardage of fused fabric. This method is used for messenger bags, eyeglass cases, and other products.
Plastic Confetti: The last method was born to tackle all the scraps left over in the studio. Lou didn’t want to begin a whole new set up waste built off her production so her signature fused plastic confetti was born. Snipping her scraps into confetti as she worked, she builds up a collection. Then, those scraps are melted into cereal or cracker bags to create her signature look. The confetti can be found in day pouches, zipper pouches, and earrings.
How did this all begin?
Lou first got started fusing in early 2008 after watching this video. There weren’t many people experimenting with fusing then and Lou was one of the first to get her hands on all types of bags (not just grocery store bags) to experiment with the process.
Because plastic bags are made of so many different things, causing them to be recyclable or un-recyclable, each type of bag melts when subjected to different heat, time, and pressure. Lou is on her 8th year of mastering the craft and is still pushing the limits of what is possible.
There are a ton of videos about fusing plastic out there and now that it’s become popular, there are thousands of ideas floating around. Lou is proud to have taught herself along the way and has spent thousands of hours creating her own patterns, designs, and products throughout the years.