To Mesh Or Not To Mesh?

Mesh is similar to a web or net, and is most popularly manufactured from connected strands of metal, fiber, and other flexible materials. The three main types and primary uses of mesh include plastic, metal, and clothing. For plastic, polypropylene, polyethylene, nylon, and PVC are most commonly used. Metal mesh is popularly made from steel or other metals and is used in straining, such as in making tea, or draining pastas. In clothing, mesh is considered a loosely woven or knitted fabric that offers a number of closely spaced holes and is frequently used for athletic jerseys and other clothing.

Mesh’s multi-material manufacturing and woven quality allows the fabric to provide many purposes to the average and specified user. We’ve listed just a few of those purposes below:

  • Metal and nylon wire filters for filtration of unwanted items
  • Wire mesh can be used in creating waste baskets, park benches, and other forms of baskets
  • Wire screens as those on windows and mosquito netting
  • Wire mesh can be used to create guarding and protection for secured areas
  • Woven mesh is a necessary material to the screen printing industry
  • Fencing for poultry and livestock
  • Surgical mesh
  • Humane domestic animal trapping

If you think mesh may be of use to you or your company, read more about our specifications and manufacturing process.

Burlap In The Garden

As gardening season comes around, you may be interested in what materials can help enhance your gardening experience. An inexpensive and cost-conscious material, burlap is one textile that provides multi-purpose services in your garden pre, during, and post planting season.

From seed to blossom, this biodegradable and permeable fabric is the perfect gardening companion. Below you’ll find a list of the various ways burlap can help make your gardening season more cost and time effective.

Before planting

Alternative Mulch: Burlap’s durable yet permeable nature creates an excellent mulching fabric for your flower or vegetable gardens. In the harvesting areas, you can lay down strips of burlap to help limit the erosion of your soil and to assist with moisture retention.

While planting 

Direct seeding in mid-Summer: Using burlap for direct seeding helps improve germination rates. Laying strips of burlap down over newly sown seeds will help keep seeds from being washed away during rain storms, and it will also prevent evaporation. Once the seeds have begun to germinate, be sure to remove the burlap.

After planting

During the colder months, you can use burlap to help protect some plants like hydrangeas, boxwood, and figs. By taking strips of burlap and wrapping them around your plants, you can provide an extra measure of protection against brutal winter winds and weather conditions.

In addition to weather conditions,wrapping strips of burlap around the trunks of your plants will add an extra layer of protection against pesky nibbling creatures that also take refuge in your garden.

For vegetable gardeners, burlap provides an excellent material for food storage after harvest. Thanks to fabric’s porous quality, burlap bags are an ideal way to store onions and potatoes.

Happy gardening!


Woven Poly-What?

Woven polypropylene is a multipurpose material that’s commonly used in packaging, textiles, flood and erosion control, levees, and construction. The recyclable, environmentally friendly material is unique in that it’s easily formed and shaped, allowing it to serve numerous purposes.

Woven polypropylene can be broken into two parts: the material and the style of production.

The first polymerized polypropylene occurred in the lab of Phillips Petroleum chemists, Hogan and Banks, in the early 1950s. The mass-commercialization of polypropylene began soon after. Today, the material is the second most important plastic, expected to exceed a revenue of over USD$145 billion by 2019. Polypropylene is most frequently characterized by its chemical, flame, and rot resistance.

When polypropylene threads are woven together, they create a very light but incredibly durable material. This method allows the material to maintain its strength while providing a breathable climate for the contents of your woven polypropylene bags.

Woven polypropylene bags offer a number of advantages:

  • long lasting and reusable
  • naturally tear-resistant
  • better burst strength compared to plastic bags
  • won’t degrade in wet conditions
  • can be laminated to provide added moisture barrier

Woven polypropylene is most commonly used in sandbags for flood control, however they’re incredibly multipurpose thanks in part to their durable and reusable nature. Some of these purposes include traffic control, gravel and aggregates, feed and grain storage, debris removal bags, clothing, and packaging and shipping among others. If you’re interested in how woven polypropylene might be of use to you, or you’d like to request a quote, please visit our contact page.

The Flood Control Staple

When a flood’s about to arrive, so are the sandbags. Over the years, sandbags have been made from a variety of materials, including burlap and polypropylene as well as a few others. Once manufactured, the bags are filled with sand or soil, and placed strategically about a city to prevent more flooding where possible. Volunteers are instructed to build “dikes” or “levees,” and often times, these piles of sandbags will be seen near rivers and bridges for added, and necessary, flood prevention.

Sandbags have been used since the 18th century, when they were traditionally used for military purposes. First more commonly made of burlap, times have progressed and sandbags are now popularly made from polypropylene plastic, and are sent to flood-endangered areas by the thousands. With its history of devastating floods, Iowa and other Midwestern states have many businesses and organizations that volunteer to send sandbags to the affected areas, and citizens band together to fill the bags before the floods hit.

Sandbags have continued to retain their popularity thanks to three main advantages. When preparing for a flood, bags and the sand to fill them are considerably inexpensive, and can easily be brought empty to the site and then filled with sand upon arrival. After the flood has passed, sandbags are easily transported and stored once emptied, though there has been a voiced concern about the possible contamination of the sand from floodwater. In constructing and deconstructing sandbag efforts, it’s of utmost importance that volunteers follow directions, like those in the video we’ve posted below, for the safest and most effective levees and dikes.


Getting The Most From Cotton

Though you might be most familiar with cotton as a clothing fabric, the non-allergenic natural fiber has many purposes. The cotton plant is one of the most economical crops because nearly every part of the plant can be utilized: lint, cottonseed, linters, stalks, and seed hulls.

One cotton bale alone can produce 250 single bed sheets, 1,200 t-shirts, 215 pairs of jeans, 2,100 pairs of boxer shorts, 3,000 nappies, 680,000 cotton balls, or 4,300 pairs of socks. Pretty useful, huh?

Since cotton doesn’t irritate sensitive skin, its softness is preferred in making underwear and other clothing worn close to the skin. Cotton’s adaptability allows it to easily blend amongst other fibers and synthetics, and its also extremely receptive to dyes. Cotton is also used in making tents, car tire cord, fishnets, and book binding.

In addition to clothing, cotton makes an ideal medical product. Its adaptability allows the fabric to hold up to 27 times its own weight in water, and it actually becomes stronger when wet. Because of these properties, cotton is often used as a bandage or swab in the medical environment.

From the cotton seed, you can use the oil for cooking and the seed as feed for livestock—surprisingly, cottonseed provides a wealth of energy for livestock. Cottonseed can also be used in a number of industrial products like soap, margarine, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paints, rubbers, water proofing materials, and candles.

At Commercial Bag and Supply, we order bulk rolls of cotton that can be cut and sewn to your exact dimensions. To learn more about our manufacturing process or to request a quote for your next project, please contact us here!

Burlap Canvas Art

One of our most popular fabrics is burlap. Originally from the Middle East, burlap is a durable and rugged material made from Jute. It’s used for just about anything, ranging from landscaping fabrics to bag coffee beans. Due to its natural look and durability, burlap canvas has also become popular for many DIY and ‘craftsy’ types.  One interesting use is to have burlap canvas as the base for your painting.  The fabric creates a unique, cost effective material for creating artwork for your home, office, or as a great holiday gift!

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make burlap canvas art:

Using a pre-made canvas

    1. Buy a canvas
    2. Wrap the burlap around the entire canvas

Burlap Canvas Source:

  1. Cut the excess burlap
  2. Staple the burlap along the edges of the canvas frame

Using a cardboard box

  1. Get a cardboard box of a size you choose
  2. Cut the so the box is about 1 inch deep
  3. Wrap the burlap around the entire box
  4. Cut the excess burlap
  5. Use a hot glue gun to attach the burlap to the box
    a. Make sure to pull the burlap tight, making it as smooth as possible
    b. Fold and glue the corners neatly

Now for the creative part. Stencil or draw a silhouette of your design onto the burlap. If you’re using a stencil, make sure to have some type of adhesive to make it stick to the burlap – you don’t want the stencil to move around while you paint! A foam brush and acrylic paint tend to work best on burlap canvas. When using these supplies, a ‘blotting’ technique works best to allow paint to soak into the canvas.


Shop Rags – Not Just Another Rag

Are you using the same group of rags or towels for everything you do? If so, you might want to continue reading. There are different rags, made from different materials that can best suit your needs. No matter the industry you’re in, you’ve probably come in contact with a shop rag and had to use it to wipe a spill, clean a mess, or dust off a surface.

Commercial Bag & Supply distributes a variety of different shop rags, including:

  • Surgical Rag – You can use these towels with water, oil, and grease. Cleaning items will be a breeze and leave little to no lint. They’re very durable and will be able to handle all types of jobs.
  • Paper Rag – These all-purpose towels come in all kinds, including: flat, pop-up or roll.
  • Polo Shop Rag – Wiping up grease, oil, and other liquids are easy with a polo shop rag.
  • Sweatshirt Wiping Rag – A popular rag that is soft to the hands, yet it can handle a big spill. 
  • Terrycloth Rag – These are one of the more absorbent rags we offer. 
  • Huck Towel – These towels are used in homes to clean windows and dry dishes. Because of its cotton and lint free material and absorbency, these towels are common in the medical field to clean surgical instruments.
  • Thermal Shop Rag – Designed to have a waffle-type weave, these rags are known for its’ softness. The material is often used to for towels, robes, and other products.
  • T-shirt Rags – These are typically a cheaper alternative and are reusable and can easily be cleaned in the washer. They’re great for wiping up water, oil, or other liquids.

Surgical_Rags     Terrycloth_Rags     Huck_Towels     Thermal_Rags

These various types of shop rags are commonly used to wipe things off such as dirt, water, smudges, and more.  The fabric can be cut and colored to meet specific need you might have.  They are often a light or medium weight cotton blend with low to no lint. You can choose a rag based on absorbency or softness. Depending on what you’re using these rags for, a rag that is lint free may be more helpful for you. No matter your preference, we can help you determine the best rag for you.

For a detailed description of the types of rags mentioned, visit our shop rags page.

What can you use Mesh Bags for?

mesh-bag-2Mesh bags are a common product that you probably see on a daily basis. These bags are made of polypropylene, an environmentally friendly and recyclable material. Mesh bags are made in many sizes and colors, often including a drawstring to keep your items secure and for easy closure.

A common use for a mesh bags is to store produce such as corn and onions. The design allows for these items to breathe and release excess moisture. You can easily see the product through the bag, making it easy to organize your produce when needed. If you’re using a mesh bag to hold other vegetables, they can even be soaked or rinsed while in the mesh bag.

People also store clothing in mesh bags. The bags are great to hold delicate items while doing laundry. In addition, mesh bags are great to have for sock sorting, especially if you’re prone to losing a pair or two. By having a mesh bag for clothing, it makes it easier and more efficient being able to see the items and sort them accordingly.

For the DIY crafter, mesh bags offer all sorts of creative opportunities.  Here are a few of our favorite uses for mesh bags.

New Trend: Recycled Animal Feed Bags

If you have paid attention to recent trends over the past two years you know that thrift fashion has taken over as the new style embraced by both young and old. From hairstyles to clothing and lifestyles, the thrift wave has even caught on to the use of recycled animal feed bags as a thrifty replacement for grocery bags.

When you think about it, it makes absolute sense. Most tote bags bought by the everyday shopper are made from the exact same material as animal feed bags: polypropylene. Known for its durable and resistant qualities, polypropylene is a material commonly used in packaging, flood control, erosion, construction, and textiles. Given its environmentally friendly features, polypropylene bags are usually recycled and put to various uses. On the contrary, plastic bags tend to be messy, unhygienic, unreliable, and toxic.

Given that thrift culture is characterized by the use of recycled and second-hand materials, it was only a matter of time before someone ingeniously transformed their used animal feed bag into a thrifty grocery bag. The process is simple and instructions to make your own tote bag are easy to follow. The trend has caught on due to its fashionable style and eco-friendly benefits, sparking online interest with several do-it-yourself tutorials as well as dozens of pins on Pinterest’s recycled animal feed bags’ board.

recycled-animal-feed-bag           recycled-animal-feed-bag