Picture of Aluminum Can Granny Square Tote Bag

This is my homemade tote bag made of sheets of aluminum (beer cans), an old t-shirt, bamboo, beads, wire, pull-tabs and crocheted yarn. It's great for stashing your crochet stuff or other things.

I love recycling and re-purposing. I especially enjoy working with aluminum can crafts. Recently I rediscovered my love of crochet. So, I decided to mix the two crafts and make a crocheted granny square tote bag out of recycled aluminum cans.

Almost all the material I used to make this bag was recycled or found at my home. For example, the bamboo for the handles came from our backyard bamboo plants. The cans I grabbed out of the recycling bin. The beads came from a thrift store. The nail polish was a cast off from my daughter.

The only thing I actually bought new for this project was the yarn.

It was my first attempt at tote bag like this, so I made some mistakes along the way. Overall, I really enjoyed the whole project and feel proud every time I look at the bag.

Not only is this project a source of pride but the finished bag is very pleasant to the senses as well. The bag offers a variety of touch sensations -- it is cool, slick metal, smooth wood, knobby beads and soft yarn. The bag is both floppy and stiff at the same time. The colors are vibrant and the painted metal logos of the cans keep the eye and mind busy. And for the ear, the tote gives the strangely satisfying crackle of metal as well as the clack of wooden handles. The sound of the handles is reminiscent of retro style purses from the `60's.

This bag also makes a great gift. It can be personalized for each person by choosing their favorite canned drink for the squares. (You can even ask the giftee to save their empty cans for you so you don't have to scrounge around in the recycling bin.)

And lastly, when gathering material for the tote, it can be fun scouting around the house looking for things to recycle and add to the bag, such as beads, leftover balls of yarn or dried markers for the handles (pull out insides, wash and you have a nice little colored tube). Or you could use branches or dowels instead of bamboo for the handles.

As for the metal parts, flip the sheets over and use the non-painted inside of the cans if you want a more modern, industrial look. And of course, these clean sheets of metal can be embossed (here is a good use for those manual diecut/embossing machines) or punched art style or spray painted any color you like.

The customization of this bag is only limited by your imagination
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Thanks! I think I can make this from the pictures alone. Good post!
Great idea! Great job! This gives me a reason to crack open a cold one.
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Pompom6 years ago
Gosh, I reeeeallly like this bag. I have lots of yarn, but I was thinking that if I tried making this, I might want to use yarn and also plastic bags (sorta twirl the yarn and the plastic bag "yarn" together to make a candy-cane look). I also have lots of flattened aluminum cans left over from a project I made several years ago (I used smashed cans to make a table and chair), so maybe I could some how use those... though that would be quite heavy... but, no pain, no gain, if it's all for fashion's sake! :-P Very cool bag, I like it a lot. Great job.
sparkleponytx (author)  Pompom6 years ago
Thanks! Did you ever make your bag??
Not yet, but if I do get around to it, I'll try and post a photo of it here :-)
cgriffiths6 years ago
This is fun. I might try it with pepsi tins - we have about a million at work. Thanks for the great idea! As soon as I finish crocheting my plastic bag beachbag, which has my kids calling me a hippie again, I'll try this one! :-)
sparkleponytx (author)  cgriffiths6 years ago
Thanks! I have several other projects I want to put online but keep forgetting to take pictures! Dang! Good luck with your bag. And don't forget to save those can pull tabs -- they come in handy for a lot of stuff.
reno_dakota7 years ago
Neat! I like the mix of textures, and as always, creative reuse is awesome.
sparkleponytx (author)  reno_dakota7 years ago
Thanks! It was a lot of fun making this bag.