Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Making a duct tape bag

Since I've done a lot of shows lately and have made a lot of jewelry, I thought I'd try something new and hopefully fun.  I've been eying the pretty duct tapes they have out now and have been wanting to experiment. I recently got a free ebook, Duct Tape Bags, and I thought that was the perfect opportunity to do my experimenting while I have a little down time between shows.  I'll review the book itself on Friday.

I'm going to write while I'm making the bag.  I don't think I've done that before, and I hope it'll be interesting for you.  I'll try not to make it too long.  :)

Here's the tape I bought:

No big surprise that it's purple.  Each roll was made by Scotch and was $3.99.  The purple is called "Violet Purple", and the cupcake one is called "Sweet Treat".  They're both 1.88" (48mm) wide, but the solid colors are 20 yards while the patterned rolls are 10 yards.  That means that I'll want to use the cupcakes sparingly.  The other reason I'll want to use them sparingly is that the cupcakes are at an angle.  I think they'd match up if I was very careful, but with sticky things I think that's hard to do.  Also, from what I've read in the book, when you make a duct tape sheet (also called "fabric"), you overlap the tape.  That wouldn't work well with the cupcakes.

The next step was deciding what kind of bag I wanted to make.  I have bunches of bags, and I really don't need another one.  I love bags, though, so I'll sacrifice and find room for one more.  I looked through the book (because if I'm reviewing it, I really should try one of the projects in the book), and two of them stood out - a simple purse with a flap, and a round purse with weaving at the base.  I like the shape of the purse with a flap, and I like the weaving, so I'm going to merge them.

Next, I needed to measure my current "casual" purse.  I like it, but I sometimes wish it was just a touch bigger.  So I got out everything needed to measure, and...

 Well, that's not helpful.  

Fortunately, Frisco didn't stay too long.  As much as I love him, I hope he doesn't come back when I'm actually making the purse.  I don't really want to try to cut duct tape off of him.  I should probably shut the doors.

I was able to get the measurements I needed for the purse, so I'm all set to go.  That grid-looking thing in the above picture is a glass cutting mat I've used with circle cutters.  I'm hoping that all sticky stuff will be confined to the mat and not my desk, and I should be able to cut on that pretty well.

And now it's time for... :::looks at clock::: ...lunch.  Crap.  Be right back!

Okay.  Lunch has been eaten, and the doors have been closed.  Back to work!  Oh, no... Pixel wants in.  Not going to happen.

I taped little flags to the bottom of the glass mat to the dimensions I want the front and back parts of the purse to be.  I'm hoping that will help the process go faster and to waste less tape.

Now to make the first piece of "fabric".  The instructions for the purse I'm making say to take strips of tape and put them sticky side to sticky side.  That double-sided strip is built on by sticking tape on either side with most of it hanging off.  I'm not going to take pictures of that whole process - it's in the book.

I can't believe this.  I've hurt myself ripping the first piece of tape off.  That stuff is harder to rip than I remember!  The tip of my forefinger hurts, and I think I bent back my thumbnail a little.  Ow.  I'm going to use scissors to cut the rest of the pieces.  That seems to be working well.  The scissors I'm using are EK Success's Cutter Bee Titanium scissors.  They have a non-stick coating, which is very helpful for a project like this one.  Even so, I do have to clean off some gunk from time to time.

Here's my first piece of "fabric":

There's only one wrinkle!  Considering how impossible it is to separate two pieces of duct tape (sticky side to sticky side, that is), I'm very happy with this.  That wrinkle will go on the inside.  It does need to be trimmed on the left and right sides, but it's just fine length-wise.  Having those little flags helped a bunch.

I next did the bottom and sides.  I reinforced the bottom with a few extra strips of tape.  Some of the bags in the book say to wrap pieces of cardboard for extra stability, but I didn't want that for this one.

Here's what I have so far - the front, the bottom, and both sides:

The hardest part so far has been the sticky factor.  When I'm positioning a piece of tape on the mat, I'm having a hard time getting my fingers unstuck while leaving the tape in place.  I've taken to nudging the side of the tape with my fingernails.  That's working fairly well.

I'm going to switch projects now and weave the flap.  I want about 5 inches so my stuff won't fall out.  Add 2.75" for the top, and I'll have to weave a piece 9" x 7.75".  The instructions say to make double-sided strips then weave them together.

That should be easy enough, except there will be a little math to determine how many strips of each I'll need.  The tape is 1.88" wide.  For the horizontal strips I need enough to be at least 7.75" high.  That works out to 4.12 strips.  Let's just make that 4 strips, so the vertical strips will need to be 7.52".  My handy dandy calculator says that works out to 4.78 strips.  Hmm.  I can't mess with the width now that I've already made all the other pieces.  Oops.  I should have started with the flap and adjusted the size of the bag accordingly.  No big deal.  I'll weave with 4 strips and wrap the edges with tape.  So I need 4 strips of 9" and 4 strips of 7.52".

I made strips, talked to my Dad, wove, adjusted the weaving to make the cupcakes a bit more centered, lined the back and wrapped tape around the edges to tack loose bits down and to give it a more finished look.  Here's my finished flap/top:

All these pictures make it look a lot more blue than it actually is.

Now for the back.  I made another piece of "fabric" with the same width as the first one but a little longer and taped the flap/top to it:

I added a stripe of cupcakes to each side strip then laid everything out for assembly:

Wow.  I should have started with a coin purse.  What I'd like to do is tape everything up on the inside and the outside, but I don't think that's going to work.  I don't think I should try turning it inside out (or outside in), and I wonder if I'll be able to tape on the inside once it's put together.  That might be a bit tricky.

Better stop procrastinating and get going.  What's that sound?  Steve's home already?  Where did the afternoon go?  Oh, that's right - I got distracted a few times during the afternoon with e-mail, Facebook, and listing an item on Etsy before it gets too late in the holiday season.  It's really a wonder I get anything done.

I got the bottom parts all taped up on the inside and outside.  At some point I realized I had the flap with the cupcakes facing the wrong way, but I was able to take the tape off and turn it around.  I hope that doesn't mean that the purse will fall apart with the first stiff breeze.

Here's what I have after taping all the bottom bits together:

We left one of the doors open as I was taping the sides up and...

Well, that didn't take long.  Steve shooed Pixel out, and I was able to keep working.  Not for long, though, because dinner was ready.

After dinner, I finished taping the purse up.  That was really hard.  While the pieces are fairly rigid, they do sag somewhat.  Steve helped me hold the pieces together on a few of the joins, and that helped.  If I do this again, I will make it around a hardcover book.  That should help with this part of the process.

Here it is fully assembled, sans strap:

I was able to tape the insides.  As I figured, it wasn't easy, but I really needed to make sure that everything was reinforced.  I could see light in a few of the corners, so I took little squares of tape and kinda smooshed them in the corners.  Not the most elegant solution, but hopefully it'll work.

The strap was quite a doozy.  I like my purses to go across my body to keep my hands free, so that meant a VERY long strip of duct tape.  No, that meant TWO very long strips of duct tape stuck together with one of the strips on the outsides of the purse body and the other on the insides.  Steve and I had a devil of a time getting them to align correctly, and there are some wrinkles.  I'm not happy with that, but it couldn't be helped.  Since there were many areas of sticky on the edges, I wrapped tape around on both sides, trying to align the cupcakes.  It worked most of the time.

So here's the completed purse, close up and with me wearing it:

It turned out big enough that I can carry my iPad in it plus a number of other things.  I used an entire roll of the purple tape and quite a bit of the cupcakes.  I might have enough to make that coin purse I mentioned before.

I think it's cute, but it will probably be a while before I make anything of this magnitude again.  It gets a little frustrating to have the tape sticking everywhere but where you want it to go, and it was difficult to cut a straight line.  I'd also like some way to keep the flap down.  I have a few ideas.

Have you made anything with duct tape?  If so, e-mail me a picture (and what you thought of the process) at traci@creative-pursuits.biz, and I'll post it here!

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