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 personalizedÂ 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
Step 1: Important: Draw a Plan
You will need to sketch out a simple plan for the bag to know the number of squares you need to make. The amount of squares will vary according to how big you want your bag. Use pen and paper. You will need to refer to this drawing later.
This is an important step. Don't skip it!