While the official Earth Day has already passed, I continue to think about ways to reduce my waste and impact on the landfill. And in doing so, I find myself caught in an my own little version of the children’s book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie“.
See, when I think about the planet Earth, it leads me to thinking about all of the countries and terrain that make up the Earth.
And then I have to get out the globe to take a closer look. And when I look at the globe, I think about all of the amazing cities and towns across the world I have yet to visit.
So I think about grabbing my passport and packing my bags, which means I have to go to the storage closet to make sure my luggage is still in good shape.
And after confirming my luggage is, in fact, travel-worthy, I think about how I should have gone for a more garish color because, however will I find my black suitcase among all the other black suitcases in the airport or bus terminal?
So I think about how I need a personalized luggage tag so that no one confuses my black suitcase with their own. But I’m conflicted, because I don’t want to buy a personalized luggage tag because that would just mean more random, tangible stuff in the world.
And more random, tangible stuff means more waste and litter, which brings me back to thinking about planet Earth. Then I think about how if we don’t take care of our planet, I will not get to travel to these faraway lands and meet amazing people and see amazing sights….
Which gives me an idea! (But unlike the mouse, I don’t get a cookie.)
In honor of Earth Day, I decided to create a tutorial that tackles reusing one of the biggest threats to our environment: plastic.
I expect that many of you have heard about the harm plastic is doing to our oceans as more and more attention is being drawn to the Great Pacific garbage patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex.
And if something named a “trash vortex” doesn’t put a strong sense of fear into you, I don’t know what will. It gives me visions of a whirling mass of plastic that will swallow me up whole only to belch open-mouthed for all to hear, once its done.
Now, not all plastics are easily reusable for household items, but #6 plastic is quite willing to be created into other things. This type of plastic is often used for containers you’ll find in the grocery store holding cookies, the DIY salad bar, or takeout sushi.
How To Make A Luggage Tag From #6 Plastic
When I first learned that #6 plastic shrinks and hardens just like Shrinky Dink plastic, I was thrilled. I saw so many possible projects I couldn’t take notes fast enough. I will warn you, though, that it can be a little temperamental. It is the perfect material, however, for a luggage tag.
- Large container with the number 6 in the middle of the swirly arrows
- Fabric scrap around 6″ x 6″ so that you have room to play around
- Black sharpie (not a colored one because that doesn’t show up as well)
- Scissors and a hole punch
- Craft glue (not pictured)
Prepare The Plastic Piece
For the tag to be large enough to read and see from a distance, prepare a piece of plastic that measures approximately 6″ x 6″. For the above container, this meant cutting out inner-most square.
Use the hole punch to punch a line of holes that you’ll use to attach the tag to your suitcase. You have to do this BEFORE it goes in the oven because afterwards the plastic will be too hard to manipulate.
Add Contact Information
After cutting out your square, write down your contact information with a black sharpie. You can do this freehand, or you can find a fun font on the computer and print out your information then place it behind the plastic and trace the letters.
Shrink The Plastic
Place the plastic piece on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum or parchment paper. Put the cookie sheet in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees and watch as the plastic curls, shrinks and then flattens again. All told, this take around 2 minutes.
Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and let the plastic cool. Don’t touch the plastic for at least 5 minutes not only because it’s still hot, but it also slightly soft and needs to harden more to keep its shape.
It’s OK to stare at it, however, totally amazed at how small it got compared to when you first started.
Add Fabric Backing
After the plastic has cooled, apply your craft glue to the back of the plastic piece and place it on your scrap of fabric. Apply pressure all around to ensure the plastic and fabric are touching at every point around the piece and to push out any wrinkles in the fabric.
Set the project aside to dry for a time. The length of time will vary according the glue’s instructions.
Trim Fabric And Add Ribbon Tie
Trimming the fabric is as easy as following the outline of the now-hardened plastic. To complete the tag, string some ribbon through the hole then locate your suitcase.
Fasten Luggage Tag To Suitcase
Fasten the #6 plastic luggage tag to your suitcase and you’re done!
Share the Goods: What faraway place is top on your list to visit?