Tuesday, July 26

Rakhis with plastic shopping bags DIY

It's a while before Rakshabandhan arrives. A refreshing trend over the past few years is, of women tying rakhi to their sisters-in-law, and sometimes sisters tying rakhi to each other's hands. The essence of this festival embraced by cultures across, is protection and prayer for the other's well-being. So why not?

When we were children, we would make our own rakhis, and embellish them with sequins we popularly called `chamkis'. A teacher at our school would so far as go shopping for embellishments and silk threads, and she would get a bunch of students to make and sell rakhis. It was fascinating to see the amount of work go into brushing those thread bunches with toothbrushes, embellishing them, and packing them over cardboards of attractive colours.

I tried out making rakhis this year, with plastic shopping bags that come when you buy clothes. You need to choose bags that are thick, but flexible enough to bend easy. The traditionalist in me craves for original organic cotton threads of ancient times. But a piece that goes toward not trashing plastic is any day a welcome gesture when blended into a festival like Rakshabandhan. You can make these right away in case you must send the gestures of love for your siblings, by post.

What you need:

-- Plastic shopping bags in different colours

-- a slightly thick needle that pokes easy through the plastic, and thread

-- a pair of scissors - metal or plastic cutting

-- embellishments - things like cloth flowers, sequins, colour paper, stickers, etc

-- satin ribbon

-- super glue (if you want rakhis that do not wash off during bath) or multi-surface craft glue, otherwise

Start, by cutting off the handles end of the bag. And fold-roll the bag into strips about two inches wide. Some part of the sheet me remain. You may cut it.

Using the plastic cutting scissors, shear through the folded creases to cut strips from this.

Take about four strips. And fold the bunch into half.

Cut thin strips from the edges towards the centre, leaving enough space in the middle to run a needle and thread through.

Do this on both the edges.

Knot the end of some thread into a needle, and run it through the strip, You need to use the running stitch, giving a gap of about half an inch between each poke through.

Push the folds that form towards the knotted end, and it will form an uneven disc shape. You can add some cut strips according to the thickness you want for the main diskette.

Insert the needle back into the centre area, to stitch the disc up so it holds the layers together. This part was difficult. You will need a needle that passes through these several folds of plastic sheet with ease, and at the same time it cannot hurt your fingers because of the difficulty.

I had a ready strip of gift wrap tissue paper or kite paper that I had cut into strips, for making garlands. It came in handy for this project.

You can run a knot the layers all up with help of a seed bead (used for jewellery).

I used the same method to make two more such discs and used other embellishments. I stitched up a store-bought cloth flower to the disc center.

For another piece, it was about adding a bead in its center to match the colour of its printed side. In this matter, I also added beads of a different shape to embellish the third piece, using glue.

The next step, is to fix either a satin ribbon or thread to the rear of these discs.

I preferred to stitch the ribbon to the rear rather than glue it.

Do these for all discs. And your rakhis are ready. You can try such rakhis with wrapping tissue papers, colour papers, used flower shaped stickers and the likes. Avoid buying a dress in the hope of getting a bag. Make this with stuff around home instead.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

For permissions to re-use, write to radicreative@gmail.com

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