This week I’m sharing my super-easy way of making a plastic apron suitable for papermaking. I made mine from a plastic shower curtain that––I’ll admit––I loved the goofy pattern of (frogs with crowns, how adorable is that?), but conceded that since I was over the age of 30, I really needed a shower curtain that was not made of plastic. So now everybody wins.
You can buy water-repellent aprons of course, in fact you can get them here, but I find many aprons in general are too heavy and bulky for my taste––the neck strap causes unpleasant strain for me, and the length is sometimes problematic (too short for us tall folks, too long if you’re petite). You can certainly trim a too-long apron, but if you’re into recycling and want to make one yourself (2 out of one curtain, even! Grab a buddy!), follow these easy steps.
What you’ll need:
1 plastic/ vinyl shower curtain (we want waterproof here, trust me–not fabric)
material for neck strap and apron strings
fabric apron as template (helps, but not required)
1. If you have a fabric apron to use as a pattern, lay it out on the shower curtain and cut around it. BUT you’ll likely want to add length to the bottom so the apron will fall just below your knees. If your apron’s too short, it’ll divert rivers of water right into your boots.
If you don’t have an apron for patterning, just take a few quick measurements and draw some corresponding dots on the curtain. You’ll need a chest measurement (pit-to-pit minus about 4″) a waist measurement (good rule of thumb is from one side-seam of pants across to the opposite one, plus 4″) and a length measurement (waist to just below the knee). You can also add a measurement from your chest to waist to estimate placement of dots on the curtain. You’ll connect those chest-hip dots with a curved line. (check out the illustration)2. Once you have your rough apron shape cut, hold it up to check the fit against your body. Trim and tailor if needed.
3. Now it’s time to do your duct-tape trim. You can trim all edges if you like (overachieving fashionistas), but the most vital parts are the top chest edge and the side edges. Two reasons for this: 1) the cut edge is annoying and scratchy. 2) we’re about to punch holes and staple, so the duct tape adds a level of hardiness to those areas. No tape, and the holes can rip over time from the strain of the apron strings. I fold the tape over the cut edge so half is on the front and half is on the back side. Do the curves with patience and small segments of tape.
4. Attach the neck strap. For this, you’ll want to staple one end at the first top corner and then hold it against your body to calculate the length of the strap (24″ is a good starting point). Be sure to staple inside the duct-taped area and attach the strap on the back side––see below. I usually add a square of tape to the back side and add 3-4 staples about 1″ down from the top edge. Note in the picture below the extra duct tape on the right-hand strap connection (the left-hand side is stapled with no tape to secure yet). This hides the raw edge of the strap and provides some extra strength. (The fabulous zebra print is a 2″ cotton ribbon-like material from a craft store. Go for something soft and comfy for your neck strap.)
4. Hole punch time. These are the holes where we’ll attach cording to serve as strings. At the waist points, about 1″ inside each edge, punch one hole on each side. Again, be sure to do this in the duct taped region––that might mean you add another square of tape to make sure you have at least 1/2″ of space between the hole and the edge.
5. Attach your tie-strings (again, you’ll have to measure yourself for accuracy, but 20″ each is a good starting estimate). I used cotton cording that was lying around, but you can use anything that works for you. Shoestrings work just fine. (Ever get those sneakers that have two different colored pairs? One’s some funky color? Now you have a use for it.) Tie good square knots where you attach the strings, and then tie a knot on the free ends to stop fraying.
Presto! You’re done. Simple waterproof apron that will allow you to shed water like a duck when pulling your glorious sheets. And you recycled some plastic that was bound for the Pacific island of discarded junk––hooray for you! Happy papermaking, folks!