Being Productive Again: Day 3

plastic bag planter

Another great day in 406 Pelissier. We got lots of brainstorming done and continued our planning and work with plastic bag recycling projects.

It’s been a fantastic three days, and being able to work in such a concentrated way in just one week has been really helpful in pushing forward on some new ideas. We came up with a good plan for some “must do” things over the next few months, more details soon!

downtown space

The work space with Leesa’s balloons. We decided to drag out another stage from the back to get some more workspace.

the many, many bags

After dragging out the stage, which was surprisingly heavy, Steven started going through his large garbage bag full of other plastic bags.

plastic bags

There was a large variety of bags with a good choice of colours.

Michelle and Steven plastic bags

Once Michelle arrived at the space, we started to unload the bags and organize them.

Michelle and Steven with many, many bags

There were a lot of bags.

Michelle with a plastic bag

Michelle flattened out the bags.

cutting a plastic bag

Steven started cutting the handles off.

Steven at the paper cutter

Working with a square or rectangle is easier for making sheets of fused plastic to reshape.

Steven cutting bags

Steven cuts many, many LCBO bags.

Michelle and Steven

We started to brainstorm other ways to attach planters to surfaces, including braiding some of the plastic bag scraps. Although Steven started the braiding, Michelle stepped in and finished it.

Steven and Michelle braiding a plastic bag

Steven’s jaw was sore.

plastic bag braided

The braid might work, but we’ll have to do more testing. Considering the number of planters we’re hoping to make, it might not be the most time-effective way to work with the material.

Justin planning with Michelle

I had an agenda of ideas we wanted to go through, so we started brainstorming. We came up with ideas for other projects, but also more immediate plans for our new home (details soonish).

the banner under construction

Meanwhile, Steven continued working on the banner.

plastic bags

The stage with the plastic bag processing zone.

Steven and Cristina

Steven showed Cristina how to size the fused plastic bags for planters.

Steven and Cristina

There was a specific way to fold the plastic bags that Steven had worked out to best use a single plastic bag.

Michelle working on the bags

Michelle started fusing plastic bags for sheets.

Steven's other iron

This was Steven’s second iron.

Michelle folding paper

Michelle also folded up some graph paper to use as an insert to size the planters.

Michelle with graph paper

Michelle folded the paper to a small size to allow the sides of the bags to be fused together, making the edging stronger.


The banner kept growing.

Steven shapes a planter

Steven also worked on another size of planter to accommodate larger plants.

Michelle with iron

Michelle pressing the plastic bags with her iron.

Steven tests planter with water

Steven then tested the planter for drainage.

good drainage

There was lots of drainage.

testing the planter

I had tested one of the initial planters Steven made using a single bag, putting in seeds and soil.

watering the planter

I added water.

the planter was heavy

The planter was heavy, probably too heavy for the magnet, but the planter was probably bigger than it needed to be.

the planter

This style of planter also needs more drainage.

Michelle and Steven

Steven and Michelle kept working on the planters, but with a variety of sizes.

Michelle working with plastic bags

The LCBO bags worked very well, given the weight of the plastic, and the design on them is more interesting than normal grocery bags.

cutting the plastic bags

Steven worked to layer bags for the banner, mixing up the colours.

the banner

Eventually, we’ll lay a garbage bag over top of this with the letters cut out, so the colours below will show.

Cristina gives another tour

Cristina gave another tour to some friends who stopped by, giving us yet another reason to really be enjoying the space.

Steven at the cutter

Steven cutting bags.

plastic bag planter, resized

The resized planter. After figuring that the original size that we were making the planters from single bags was likely too big and in the end too heavy for magnets, we settled on a planter almost half the size, but ideal for things that will inevitably require less soil.

plastic bag banner

The banner tumbling over the table.

Michelle + bike

Michelle suited up to attempt to ride home in between rain showers. I had asked her to read a draft of a proposal, which in turn likely had her riding most of her way home in the rain—sorry!!!

plastic bag banner

The banner thus far.

the work space

The work space—surely a sign of a productive week. We’re sorting out schedules right now to see when we might be able to get back down there to continue working. Again, it was an amazing week, such a great way to work and collaborate, being able to leave things out and having the leisure of almost an entire day to spend the time figuring things out.

8 Replies to “Being Productive Again: Day 3”

  1. it looks like someone needs to invest in a canvas bag to bring to the lcbo lol

    is it possible for bcl to have a dedicated space permanently (or at least longer than a month)? i have no idea what rental costs would be.

    1. We’re working on getting a dedicated permanent space, which would be great for so many reasons. The goal will be to find somewhere that allows us to stay rent-free, as we have a budget of $0.

      We should talk again soonish about that knitting idea we were discussing at Media City…

  2. LCBO stopped giving out the plastic bags a little while ago. Your planters will be collector’s items.

    Not to sound like somebody’s mom, but does your space have adequate ventilation for ironing plastic? There’s nasty stuff coming off those bags. Feel free to blow off my concerns, but as a printmaking instructor it’s my job to worry about chemicals and people’s lungs.

    1. You’re right Jodi, we should try to be safer. The room is fairly large, but there’s no ventilation per se. We’ll be equipped with masks for next time.

  3. Hahahah I cursed you the whole way home. Actually, it was a quite enjoyable ride.

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