Introduction: How to Make Panniers Out of Recycled Materials for Less Than 10 Bucks

Picture of How to Make Panniers Out of Recycled Materials for Less Than 10 Bucks

Panniers are great and extremely useful for bicyclists. They are also extremely overpriced for a good set. I have a $250 dollar pannier set from that is great for camping, but not so much for running around town, so i came up with the world's cheapest pannier! the total cost was only about 7 dollars and i think it looks great.

Step 1: List of Materials

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Most of the materials for this project were obtained from East Bay Depot For Creative Reuse. If you live in the bay area and are a DIYer, there is no reason you shouldn't be going here. I always find gems and great stuff. If you can dream it, you can find most of the supplies for REALLY cheap.

-1 Bag or Backpack. The one i chose was an old shoulder bag it was just the right size.
-1 Piece of vinyl board. I got a large piece cut to roughly the size of my bag. This gives the bag some shape and a good backing. The material is very similar to vinyl signs you find around town promoting who knows what, you could certainly get it from there.
-2 rope hooks. i got the medium sized ones. Check hardware stores for this
-4-6 screws and nuts. get ones that can fit the hole in the rope hook.

Step 2: Shape the Vinyl

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First you want to shape the vinyl so it fits in the bag. i used an exacto knife and just shaped it till it fit. You can use anything you want for this.

Step 3: Prepare for Screws

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Now take the vinyl out and prepare it for the screws. I measured from each edge in about 2 1/2 inches at the top and bottom to get evenly spaced holes then i drilled holes into each mark. This allows for mounting the hooks to the vinyl and the bag to the vinyl.

Step 4: Add the Hooks

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Once you get holes drilled, you can put in the hooks, just make little holes in the bag where you want the screw to go, put the vinyl in and push the screw through.

Step 5: Put the Bottom Screws In

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Bottom Screws will help stabilize the bag to the vinyl and make it more secure.

Step 6: Finishing Touches and RIDE!

Picture of Finishing Touches and RIDE!

Finishing touches involved cutting the screws with a dremel because they were too long. I also realised that my foot likes to kick the bag off when i'm biking so i put a bungee around the bag when i'm riding. The hooks on the bag hook to a back rack on your bicycle. anyway happy cycling!

hope you enjoyed this instructable!


jrosillo3 made it! (author)2017-03-06

It's a genius idea use the vinyl board because every board in the market is very heavy. I use this panniers design for two years and I want to add some extras:

-Reinforce with some vinyl board the outside on the bottom because is there where the bike touch and scratch the fabric.

-Reinforce the bottom on that inside with some patches for preventing holes for the use.

AdamVanHalen made it! (author)2016-09-30

I used this Instructable as a plan but used some different materials. I will post one of my process.

LiquidLightning (author)2011-10-20

Sometimes backpacks have those single straps that velcro or button closed. I found a very simple flat black backpack in my basement and it attached to my bike wrack very securely with three strips of velcro already on the pack. I didn't even need to modify it a little bit. Completely free as I got it from some freebie site.

vicky_bandover (author)2011-08-24

Your instructable and the bungee modification by sladek were great guidlines. Except, instead of using vinyl board I hacked one side of an old 19" by 11.25" binder that I found at a garage sale on my way back from the hardware store. The binder side turned out to be really durable.
Bag= $0.00 (old and from attic)
Binder= $1.50
Bungee= $0.00 (found one in garage)
Rope hooks= $4.00
Screws and nuts = $0.00 (found some in garage)
Telling my friend, who spent $30.00 dollars on a pannier smaller than the one I made, about the amount I spent making my panniers and seeing his reaction= priceless :)

krickerd (author)2010-07-11

This is a great instructable. Using it as a guide, I bought 2 matching courier bags from a military surplus store for $12 ea., a sturdy black foam board from Fred Meyer, and the hooks and other hardware you listed. Also I used a large washer under the hook and one next to the nut on the inside. This sandwiches the board and bag material nicely and makes the whole connection very sturdy. It works really well! I do find it necessary to use a long bungee hooked to the rack near the wheel hub on each side and stretched over both bags. Doing so really secures the load. The bags I bought are a bit long; I off set the hooks to move them as far back as possible. Still my big feet sometimes hit them but it hasn't been a major issue.

krickerd (author)krickerd2010-07-25

Update: I followed sladek's one bungee hood design toward the bottom. This should secure the bottom well. Also I'm now using clip in shoes and rarely do my feet hit the panniers. The foam board is holding up rather well.

sladek (author)2010-04-14

Great idea. I just put one together and it works really well, I added a bungee to hook on to the bottom of the rack so it's effectively spring-loaded and secure.

Heads up though; don't use Perspex, it breaks or cracks if you're bumping around.

I'm going to replace it with hardboard, which can bend a bit

sladek (author)sladek2010-04-14

Homemade Bike Pannier from sladekious on Vimeo.

Some credit has to go to for addressing a potential flaw in this design.

frenzy (author)sladek2010-04-14

Thanks for the tips, please post some pictures on this site when you are done!

bikehack (author)2009-11-06

this is sick i just make myself a homeade rear bike rack and made it so i can make and use this pannier thanks and good job!

povertyonwheels (author)2009-04-11

great suggestions! i'm probably going to combine several of the self-made pannier instructables to make my own. thanks for the tips!

Kryptonite (author)2009-02-18

This is really good! Although, how does the hooks attach to the bike? So far this is only how to attach hooks to a bag, not create actual panniers, sorry but maybe a slight rethink? Oh well I hope it turns out alright for you.

frenzy (author)Kryptonite2009-02-19

the hooks attach to a back rack, i'll take another picture tonight to illustrate.

Kryptonite (author)frenzy2009-02-19

There's a bike rack? Sorry but I don't believe I've seen them, looking forward to the picture!

Kryptonite (author)frenzy2009-02-19

Ahh I see now, how much money did yours cost? They look really good. I do recall when my mum went looking for a set of Panniers, 2 for $150, minimum. I look forward to making this, thanks for posting, 4/5 stars.

frenzy (author)Kryptonite2009-02-19

a good cheap one should be 30 -40$ more high quality ones run a bit more expensive. Try for bike stuff

trebuchet03 (author)2009-02-19

Def. having a bungee or some sort of mechanism to keep the bag from "jumping" off when you hit a bump (or in your case, knock with your feet) is a good idea...

Here's what I did with my re-purposed pannier bag

frenzy (author)trebuchet032009-02-19

I like your design and process. DIY YOUR BIKE FOREVER!

facadeparade (author)2009-02-18

This looks great and easy! The only question I have is, does it move about? Like, will it swing out or anything if you turn too fast/fall off? (I'm clumsy, haha).

frenzy (author)facadeparade2009-02-18

only if you fall, just secure it with a bungee over the top.

colinlewis (author)2009-02-18

The item you call "vinyl board" appears to be a material called Coroplast or Coroflute. It can be found in sign shops and some art supply stores. It is very useful stuff!

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