Carrying Handle(s) for Grocery Bags


Introduction: Carrying Handle(s) for Grocery Bags

This is my first Instructable and the pictures are blurred due to my "wonderful" camera. This Instructable is "inspired" by: as you can see from my comment, I decided to carry out those plans among some others.

First though I've got to say this or someone will complain.
WARNING: There are sharp objects that are needed to make this Instructable. If you can't use sharp objects, get an adult to do it for you. I will not be held responsible for misuse of the Instructable such as, but not limited to: whipping, flailing, throwing, eating, etc.

Step 1: Gather Materials

To gather materials for the first version you'll need:

1. Wire cutters
2. Wire coat hanger
3. Pliers
4. Tape (duct/electricians)
5. Ruler/tape measurer
6. A 1/2 inch dowel
7. A saw

The saw wasn't included in the photo. All the steps will be done on the next page, and then I'll show you the variations (along with materials) on the page after that.

Step 2: All the Steps Needed to Do the Wire Version.

1. First step is to take the dowel and cut two 6 inch pieces off as shown in the photo.
2. Cut a piece (about 10 inches) off the coat hanger using the wire cutters.
3. Take about 3 inches of wire and wrap it around the dowels on both ends.
4. After you've coiled the wire around both dowels, bend the wire into a u-shape.
5. Final step is to wrap the handles up with tape.

At first I thought this would work great, but as it turns out the wire makes it too stiff and hard to load bags on to and then take them off. So I figured out two other versions (which are actually easier to do) and they both work excellent. I didn't bother to photograph the steps to them, but they're so simple I didn't think you'd need them.

Step 3: Here's the Two Versions That Work Well

Materials for version 1: 1/2 inch dowels, scissors, twine (strong string), fingers, and a saw

1. Cut two 6 inch dowels (note: use saw for this :) ).
2. Cut a piece of twine off, about 9 inches (note: use scissors for this).
3. Tie twine around both dowels as seen in the photo (note: use fingers for this).

Now load it up with bags and carry them with ease.

Materials for version 2: 1/2 inch dowel, scissors, twine (or some other strong string), saw, fingers, and a carabiner

1. Cut one 6 inch dowel (note: use saw for this).
2. Cut a piece of twine, 5-6 inches (note: use scissors for this).
3. Tie the twine to the dowel and the other end to the carabiner (note: use fingers for this).

Load bags on and carry.

Hope you've enjoyed this Instructable, I've found that I like the version using just the twine and the two dowels works the best. If you see a way to improve it (which I'm sure there are), go ahead a do it.



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    I saw this and another plastic one on the market. I was wondering if I couldnt sew a fabric handle and put some kind of clip on one side so you could put the bags on and then clip it shut and have a comfortable handle to carry. Also, it could serve to hold all the bags together while they're in your car so that they don't roll all over the place. If I get time, I will do it and post it.

    1 reply

    I made something like this from a dollar store buckle and a broken handle from a cheap cooler lunch bag. The nylon strap from the lunch bag had a padded fabric middle, and then I rough hande sewed the ends to a plastic clip buckle. It certainly doesn't cut into your hands like the plastic handles of shopping bags, and even with the weight of shopping bags (I've done this repeatedly with 50 lbs of groceries on the way home) the buckle won't break or come apart on you.

    It's way better than the cardboard handles I made last time I went shopping. My nearest big supermarket is 20 minutes walk, so I'll make me some of these. I think some foam pipe insulation could work around the dowels to make them softer to carry, if you can get some with the right diameter.

    Hmmm... what about a backpack-like device that is just a bunch of carabiners?

    3 replies

    My response to "fungus amungus" should be able to answer your question: "I was thinking of doing something of over the shoulders/back, but decided that it may provoke back problems later, where the handles would be like carrying a bucket of water, and you could set them down when you needed a break."

    there's a movie in theaters in france right now called "j'invente rien" which is about this guy who invents the "poignette", a wood stick with dent in the middle to carry plastic bags.

    here's a picture:

    the best solution to your problem is however IMHO to get one of those convienent reusable bags. they have nice handles on them, carry much more than plastic bags and don't end up on beaches, forests or landfills...

    4 replies

    I had seriously thought of just cutting a groove in the center of one of the dowels, but I figured that it would decrease the strength (unless you only make a small grove, like 1/4 of an inch, using a 1 inch dowel, but even then you would be limited to how many it could carry before the groove filled). If the strength is decreased and you have too much wieght, the dowel will snap (you could use a metal instead, but you'd have to be able to grind it down).

    Also in reply to your other idea, as an ex-bagger I used to (still kind of do) hate those canvas bags. When people brought them in they'd give you 3 or so of those bags and tell you to fit everything in them and when "they" had bought too much stuff to fit, they'd get angry with you for being unable to fit everything in the bags and then tell you to fit the rest in paper and plastic (cause our paper didn't have handles and the plastic was weak). They would also tell you to keep all the cold stuff together (like I didn't already know that) and for some reason they would scatter the cold objects out so that you'd have several half-filled bags waiting for the rest of the cold items to be rung up and most of the time while the wife was watching the cashier intently, the husband would be staring at you while you were bagging (you could tell by his expression out of the corner of your eye if he liked the way you bagged or not). I also got extremely tired of hearing people say" Don't squish my bread/eggs". Then time after time I'd say" That's why I put them on top". Another reason the canvas bags suck is when people buy several packages of paper towels/napkins, they still expect you to fit everything in the bags. Just two packages of 250 count napkins will fill one of the bags leaving you with the other two to put the gallon of milk, eggs, flour, sugar, etc. in (that was one of the bagging memories I remember, and the wife was like don't put the eggs together with the milk or you'll crush them. Then when she saw that I had left the eggs out of the bags, she said that when she bagged she could fit everthing in. Then she did what she told me not to do, she shoved the eggs in with the milk). Wonderful world we live in. As a side note: I hate it when people just sit there on a busy day, letting their groceries stack up because all the packers are busy at other registers. It's not our fault that the managers didn't put enough people on. Instead of helping to pack, they'd rather let the groceries stack up enough to let stuff squish and start to fall over the edge. But enough of my complaints (I worked there for far too long and finally quit when I couldn't stand the new management any longer). Another thing that can be done with old plastic bags is you can usually bring them to stores that will recycle them (which will usually bring down the cost of their items).

    Three cheers for the working man!

    uh guys, i use the handles off of antifreeze bottles and cut a slit in the top to put the handles in, and this also works with paint can wire handles (for those of you who walk!). Can also use split garden hose or tubing. A lot less time to make too!

    Instead of one carabiner, why not put three on there? I've had to carry three bags in one hand at a time, but even if that isn't the case it gives you the option of carrying one (the middle), two (the two on the ends), or all three. For an easier way to hold it you can run a strap between the two ends. With two of these you can hang each one on the end of a four foot pole and throw them all over your shoulder. Yeah!

    3 replies

    I only put one in the center cause you can put more then one bag on/in the clip and easily unhook all of the bags. If the clip is kept in the center, it'll keep the handle more evenly balanced. If you put three clips on and only use two, the handle will pull more towards the heavier side. And in reply to your second paragraph, I was thinking of doing something of over the shoulders/back, but decided that it may provoke back problems later, where the handles would be like carrying a bucket of water, and you could set them down when you needed a break.

    Good point. One carabiner beats three. Still needs a softer, comfier handle, though.

    That's why I used the duct tape (would have prefered electricians, but couldn't find any in the house) in the first build. The other two builds were quick and just to show the basics. If you want a comfy handle, you could wrap the handle(s) in just the tape. Or if you want a really comfy handle use a piece of cloth or foam wrapped around it and tape it in place.

    why?? just use you hands? there there for a reason. if you have to carry like 10 bags, then thread your arms threw a couple so a couple are resting on your elbow.. pit... area, and carry the rest with your hands.

    1 reply

    If you follow the link posted in my instructable, you'd see that mathface didn't like having red marks from all the bags being carried, so he used a rolled up magazine to carry them. So instead of wasting paper and/or time to having to keep on doing that, I figured that making yourself one or two of these would be better. I, myself, have no problem carrying several bags at once, since I used to work as a bagger for a supermarket and some people would get mad if you placed their bags on the ground while waiting for them to push their carriage down. So I used to just hold all the bags (that couldn't fit on the bagging area) in one hand and continue bagging with the other (at least until I couldn't fit anymore). But these are designed for people who have to walk home carrying several bags and don't want to dish out money to buy one of those dollys for groceries.

    if you have to carry them far and they are heavy they can start to kinda cut in.