Fused Plastic Bag Journals

Inspired by a project in Karen Michel’s book, “Green Guide for Artists”, I created my first handmade journal with fused plastic bags covers. The interior pages incorporated a variety of papers collected from around the house as well as interesting photos and captions from magazines that caught my attention. After gathering and composing my pages, I used bull clips to hold them in place while sewing the pages together using a simple Japanese stab binding. What fun!!! Here are some images of the book I made as a “thank you” gift for a friend.

Handmade journal 1Bottom of image shows inside of fused plastic cover


Handmade journal 2Double page spread with crumpled paper bag and re-purposed envelope


Fused Plastic Bag Journal / Spread 3Double page spread with page from Japanese magazine and tea-stained tag

Fused Plastic Bag Journal/Spread 4Double page spread: Left page uses a clear pocket with saved papers. Right page is a collage made from portion of one of my art prints and other papers.


Fused Plastic Bag Journal/Spread 5This Japanese magazine had some fun images and captions on “Understanding Nonverbal Cues”. I couldn’t resist using them in the book! Bottom page is stamped with found materials.


Fused Plastic Bag Journal/Spread 6Double page spread with cooler bag “Keep it cool” from health food store.


Fused Plastic Bag Journal/Spread 7I love using maps to add an exotic element to a page.


Fused Plastic Bag Journal/Spread 8Paint swatch extends out from book when closed.

I was also asked to teach a workshop on making fused plastic bag journals. Here are a couple of photos from the class.

Layering plastic for coverStudent layering parts of plastic bags together to create a book cover. Waxed paper was placed under the plastic before beginning to layer.When she had a composition she liked, more waxed paper was placed on top before ironing. This protected the ironing board and the iron from being damaged as plastic bags melted enough to fuse together.


Layering plastic bag piecesAnother student used a heavier plastic shopping bag for her cover. She also incorporated the handle to make her book “tote-able”!

Be sure to check out Karen Michel’s book for more comprehensive instructions on making these journals yourself. And have fun scavenging for papers to use in your book. The sky’s the limit!





About Beth Marcil

Beth Marcil is a well-recognized Maui artist who also leads SoulCollage® workshops and Visual Journaling as well as private coaching sessions. She blends her many years of art training with her love of healing and the creative process.

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