Introduction: Recycled Tote From Shopping Bags

About: I am a foodie and diy-er who always prefers to make than buy. I love cooking, crafting, and eating.

Plastic shopping bags have been getting a bad rep recently for environmental concerns, and on top of that, they get messy, break easily, and can only be reused a couple of times.

Solution? Turn them into an awesome, sturdy, and reusable tote.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:

- 20 plastic shopping bags, 12 of one color and 8 of another

- Parchment paper

- Iron

- Needle and thread (or a sewing machine)

Step 2: Cut Bags Into Sheets

Smooth out the bags so the sides fold in cleanly, as shown in pictures 3 and 4.

Trim off the handles and bottom seam, then unfold the bag so it forms one long, continuous sheet.

Step 3: Fuse

Stack four sheets of the same color on top of each other and sandwich them between two pieces of parchment paper.

Turn the iron to medium-ish and turn off the steam. Carefully iron the sheets, making sure that all areas are fused together.

Step 4: Trim Edges

Trim the edges of the sheets so they form similarly sized rectangles.

As you can see from the photos, I started out not using a ruler and the sheets got really weird. But it turned out fine in the end, so if yours are like mine and aren't perfectly identical, that's ok.

Step 5: Cut Sheets

At this point, you should have 5 sheets, 3 of one color and 2 of another color.

With the 2 sheets that are the same color (for me it was white), trim two 2-inch squares from each bottom corner.

With one of the other color (for me it was brown), cut the sheet into 2 strips, each about 2-3 inches wide.

You should end up with something like my 3rd photo (four large pieces and two strips).

Step 6: Sew Large Pieces

Sew each large rectangle sheet to a sheet of a different color, as shown in the 1st and 2nd photos. I found pins very helpful.

After that, you'll have 2 very large sheets that include 2 different colors. Sew these two together at the bottom and sides, as shown in the 3rd photo.

I'm a complete sewing novice without a sewing machine, so as you can see, my stitches are super basic and also kind of weird. Thankfully, it turned out fine at the end, so if yours look like mine at this point, don't worry.

Step 7: Add Handles

Fold each of the strips we cut from before so they are half of their original width. Sew them, then mark where you want to attach them on the tote.

The most secure way to do this is to sew a sort of square where the handle meets the bag, as shown in photo 5.

Step 8: Sew Corners

Smush the corners of the tote together and sew. This is a bit difficult to describe, so just look at the photos as a reference.

Step 9: Flip Inside Out

Finally, flip the bag inside out so the seams don't show.


Adapted from Buzzfeed Nifty

Unusual Uses Challenge 2017

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