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DIY messenger bag

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DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:05 am

I've been thinking about a new bag lately, but do not want to spend a load of money on it. Because of that I've been taking a look around the web and found out I'm not the only one who has been thinking about this. I've seen some very nice bags around the web and am now sure I can make one myself as well.

The materials I need, including the extra parts:

+ Plastic garbage bags (blue or black, still a dilemma)
+ Iron and iron surface
+ Sewing machine
- Black (or yellow?) sewing wire
+ Yellow "police line do not cross" line :twisted:
- Shoulder straps

The materials with - in front I don't have yet. The materials with + in front I have already aquired or laying around somewhere.

I thought the police line sewed on the bag would be a nice touch ;) The shoulder band won't be too hard to find, I'll probably use some luggage straps for that.

But why on earth plastic garbage bags? It's a pretty awesome technique, but not used too often. You actually melt 8 layers of garbage bag together with the iron. When you melt it together the structure of the plastic changes from stretchable and rippable, to nearly unstretchable and very durable. So by just using a few things you have laying around, you create a waterproof and years lasting kind of plastic. And that kind of plastic is just what a good messenger bag should be made of :)

Your opinions please on the dilemma below:

I was originally thinking about just black bags. Won't be a problem, they fuse perfectly. But it's just a bit black... Nothing special, get it? So at work we have some professional garbage bags laying around. Blue... Would be an awesome contrast with the yellow police line, wouldn't it? Though the police line would look nice with black as well, so it's not really incredibly needed.
What do you think, I have either black and blue available. Should I go with black, or with blue? :roll:

Another thing I was thinking of, is should I put small addons on the bag, for instance a small pouch for my cellphone, a small pouch for an mp3 player and a pen holder? Maybe on the side some kind of mesh for a water bottle? :o
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby electrongirl » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:02 am

ok I have to see this once your done!
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:36 am

Will post some pictures through the process I guess :)

What do you think, black or blue?
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby electrongirl » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:39 am

Depends on the blue. Black might look better... its hard to judge seeming this just seems so wild!!
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:49 am

I'll grab a blue bag at work this monday and a black bag from home. I'll make a picture with the police line on top of it so we can see the contrast best :)
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:00 am

Just came home from the in laws. Had a great 2nd day of Christmas over there :)

They had a professional garbage bag coincidentally, so I was able to do a match on the colors. As my wife said... The body bag black looks better with the police line :twisted:
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:57 am

My wife's going to make my snowboard pants a bit smaller and shorter. I've always been the coolest guy on the piste, since my pants were widest ;) but those days are over now. Time for efficiency ;)

Anyway, the snowboard pants have suspenders that are coming off now. The suspenders have small adjusters on them, that will be reused on the bag :D I think I will be starting my real work on the bag next year, as soon as I wake up on Jan 1st ;) I have to start working at 9AM anyway, and I will be working from home, so I might be able to fit some ironing and sewing into the schedule.

Besides that I am thinking of having my bike sprayed THIS pink :D
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby mumnbub » Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:02 pm

wouldnt that ruin the iron? how do you stop the melting plastic from sticking to the iron! I dont think i would trust myself to try- maybe use a second hand iron just in case.

Will love to see the photoes- am really interested in the final product
Start weight: 98kg April 2008
22/12/08- 80.7kg
29/12/08- 81.8kg
04/01/09- 81.6kg
12/01/09- 81kg
19/01/09- 80kg
09/02/09- 79.3kg
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:29 pm

The iron will be just fine. You're not supposed to touch the plastic with the iron. When you fuse it, make sure a layer of paper is below the plastic, and a layer of paper is above the plastic. It melts the plastic to the paper, but when it's not as hot anymore, you can peel off the paper in a second. It's quite simple :)
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby milkyway » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:08 pm

This sounds intriguing! Looking forward to seeing the finished result.
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:50 pm

Before I get to work on such a large project, I'll first have a little test run.

I'm thinking about:
1) Mp3 player sleeve
2) Portable harddisk sleeve

Thought it would be wise to first learn a bit on this, to see what could go wrong. Besides that, it's always nice to make sure your more valuable hardwear will be kept dry from rain and sweat and such ;)
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:26 am

Been DIYing this early afternoon. The brakes and brake levers of my road bike just had to be replaced. Was about time ;) So what I did was strip the brake levers and brakes of an old road bike that someone threw away. To me they're perfectly cool and I am just bothered if someone throws away something that good.
So the rubbers on the brake levers were pretty much trashed. I replaced them by my own, home made, duct tape rubbers ;) I put some bar tape below the tape, so I have pretty soft, comfy brake levers :D The new bar tape is somewhere between a regular grey and white. Looks pretty different on the bike, especially with the black cabling, but I like it. Since they're aero brakes the cables run below the bar tape, which looks sweet. No obnoxious cables in sight, and the dropbars look a bit more beefy. I'm thrilled!! Oh crap... Still have to do the other side :(

So far for my nonsense on my bike.


I decided to make a Moleskine of my own. Should be a cool experience (using the plastic melting tactique) :)
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:17 am

Been doodling about with some garbage bags and a piece of cardboard, to make a cover for the Moleskine. Or is it a hipster PDA? Hm... I guess it's going to be something in between.

Anyway, the heat causes the bags to fuse, but it gets a bit tighter inside. Because of that the cardboard is being pulled into a curve. The cover can't be made straight by using cardboard. So what I could do is use the curve as an inside for the hpda. Still thinking on that.

I gave the "Keep Out * Crime Scene" tape a shot, but it tears apart when you remove the paper. There's practically no way to get it onto a bag or something, without damaging it. However, sewing it to the side of the bag could be an option, still thinking on that.

Back to the hpda :)
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Freddy » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:42 am

Hey there, me checking in again.

Thought I'd post an update on a bit of a problem I came across with the cardboard. Turned out that the edge of the cardboard actually tears through the sides of the plastic. So the inside becomes outside again, which wasn't in my initial plan.

Idea #2: Using plywood. When I file down the sides to be round-ish, it would probably not tear through the plastic.

Just scribbling down the ideas here, hoping to get some replies to improve a bit more ;)
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Re: DIY messenger bag

Postby Jisgone » Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:38 pm

soooo.... how did it go?
update time :P
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