Motivated by the high prices of store-bought toddler-sized raincoats, DIY dad Don Nalezyty instead decided to fuse together a few plastic shopping bags and create his own coat from the resulting water resistant fabric. He explains how he did it on Instructables. And here, we share the eight steps your need to follow to create this trashtastic raincoat. You'll need scissors; paper ("Letter-sized printer paper works, but parchment or larger craft paper would be better," says Nalezyty); a clothes iron, sharpie (or any other ink pen that will write on plastic); and, of course, a decent amount of those used plastic bags you've been saving under your kitchen sink for exactly this occasion.
1. Make a Pattern
Start by drawing a pattern on a large sheet of craft or crepe paper. Designer Nalezyty originally copied his daughter’s raincoat, but if you don’t have a coat in the right size at home, you can copy his design shown, in part, above. Make the drawing full size because later you’ll use this pattern to cut the pieces of your DIY raincoat.
2. Turn Plastic Into Fabric
Gather more than enough plastic shopping bags to make your pattern–the larger the bags, the better for this project. You may also want to look for colors and logos that’ll make a cool fashion statement. Trim off the handles and the bottom of the bag to create a large tube. Next, get out your iron and ironing board. Cover your ironing board in wax paper, layer 3 or 4 bags on top of one another, add another layer of wax paper on top and iron using a heat level between polyester and rayon to create plastic bag fabric. Learn more about how to make plastic bag fabric on Instructables.
3. Cut the Pieces
Using your pattern, cut out the pieces of your raincoat — arms, body and hood — from your just-made plastic bag fabric. Pay attention to logos and colors when you decide how to cut out your fabric.
4. Create the Sleeves
Fold the sleeve pieces in half lengthwise, making sure to line up the edges of the seam. Using your iron, fuse the folded edge together, being careful not to fuse more than 1 inch.
5. Tailor the Torso
6. Make and Attach the Hood
The hood can be tricky since you’ll need to create a curved surface and make a comfortable design that won’t irritate your child’s face and neck. Visit Instructables for tips and tricks as well as detailed illustrations for making the hood. Then to attach the hood, open the jacket and place the inside down on your work surface making the collar as flat as possible. Then fuse the hood to the coat using your iron.
7. Create Closures
To keep the rain out of the coat, create closures using Velcro, a needle, thread and two 3-inch wide plastic fabric pieces the length of your jacket.
8. Clean Up Seams
Before you give this to your tot, make sure there aren’t any picky edges along the seams that will make the coat uncomfortable.