DIY Mardi Gras Bead Bag
with EasyWeed® Electric and Metal HTV
In the words of MKTO, “In a world gone plastic, baby, you’re so classic”- Polypropylene is the best of both! This classic plastic comes in many forms. From kitchen utensils to car batteries, it’s as versatile as it is cost-effective. Which makes it a common choice for athletic apparel, outdoor rugs, and bags. You may have come across polypropylene in your decorating days, and while experience is valuable, so is your stock! Don’t waste away your stack of blanks with scorch marks- turn to the Siser® Blog for temperature, time, and tricks for getting enough pressure on this heat sensitive material.
To make a Mardi Gras bag just like mine, you’re going to need…
DIY Mardi Gras Bead Bag Supplies
- Polypropylene tote bag
- Vinyl Cutter (like the Silhouette Cameo 4)
- EasyWeed® Electric White Opal and Green
- Metal Gold and Purple
- Siser® Weeder
- Heat Press
- Silicone Heat Press Pad (or mousepads)
- Heat Transfer Cover Sheet (or parchment paper)
- Mardi Gras Unicorn Cut File (get it for FREE at the end of this post!)
Step 1: Create and Cut Design
For polypropylene projects, I suggest keeping your design well within your blank space. For example, my tote bag has a 12″ x 11.5″ of available space before the side seams and straps begin, but I’m keeping my design about 3″-4″ within those dimensions in order to get even pressure despite the bulky straps and side seams.
To cut EasyWeed Electric and Metal heat transfer vinyl, place them on your cutter with the carrier side down. If you’re not sure what a carrier is, you can brush up on your Siser vocabulary in this blog post. Make sure to mirror all elements of your designs and then you’re ready to cut each color. Recommended cut settings for popular cutters are listed on every product page of our website as well as the Siser App. Just keep in mind you may have to make adjustments based on the age of your blade!
Step 2: Weed Heat Transfer Vinyl
After cutting, get rid of the excess material by trimming and weeding until each element of the design is separated. Keep objects together when you can (like the ears and eyelashes) to give you a guide for alignment and cut back on the amount of presses necessary. However, if you want to make the most of your HTV, the ears and eyelashes could be cut without regards to placement in the design and cut closer together on the HTV sheet to save wasted space. You will just have to piece the puzzle back together on the polypropylene!
Step 3: Heat Press Polypropylene
One unique feature of polypropylene that makes it such a versatile plastic is that when it gets heated, instead of burning the polypropylene melts. This makes it easily molded into many different products, which is great…unless you’re trying to decorate it with heat transfer vinyl. We’re not looking to mold the material into a new shape, we just want to make it more stylish, so a low temperature setting is key. Set your heat press to 260-270°F. Next, isolate just the area that needs to be heat applied by either threading your tote bag onto a small enough lower platen that all the handles and seams hang off the edge or by placing a heat printing pad inside the bag. I’m going for the latter since my heat press isn’t small enough for threading. If you don’t have a silicone printing pad. You could also stack mouse pads or use a heat transfer pillow. Please note though that a pillow is sometimes not firm enough for this melty-moldy material and may result in some HTV that didn’t get fully applied.
Once your polypropylene tote bag is on the heat press, center your first color: EasyWeed Electric White Opal. Place a heat transfer cover sheet on top to protect the polypropylene from direct contact with the hot upper platen. Then lower and lock the handle of the press for 1-5 seconds. We want to use the lowest and shortest amount of heat possible to avoid melting the polypropylene, but just enough that the plastic carrier can be peeled away without any HTV sticking to it. EasyWeed Electric’s carrier can be peeled hot or cold, but Metal’s carrier can only be peeled cold.
Continue the pressing process for each element of the design until all the pieces have been applied. Remember to cut your carriers close if you’re trying to press more than one color at a time. Any HTV that overlaps a carrier will adhere to the plastic instead of the polypropylene!
Step 4: Bag Some Beads
Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday- whatever you call it, you’re ready for it with your newly personalized polypropylene tote bag! So grab some beads, masks, and King Cake because it’s a day to celebrate and enjoy “the greatest free show on earth!”
Along with the FREE Unicorn Cut File, the image below is also free to pin to your Pinterest boards!
Can you sublimate on clear our white polyethylene bags? If so what temp & time should I test first?
Renay, From looking online, it looks as though the poly bags you’re speaking of are just clear plastic bags. I don’t think any sort of heat application will work on those. You’ll need to use a polyester bag instead. If you still want to use the clear poly bags, maybe try our EasyPSV material which is an adhesive backed “decal” vinyl.
Do you need a final longer press once all of the colors have been applied?
Good question, Nick! Normally, we’d suggest pressing for 5-10 seconds with a cover sheet after all the HTV has been applied with tacks, but because polypropylene is so heat sensitive you can skip that final step to avoid the risk of melting the fabric. However if the HTV is still not fully sticking, you’ll want to do that final 5-10 second press.
Hello! Great post! Just wondering what GSM is the poly bag you pressed?
Thanks Annie! The bag is 90 grams, non-woven polypropylene and can be found here: alphabroder.com/product/lb3000/liberty-bags-reusableshopping-bag.html?color=85