Make a Tote Bag From a Discarded Grain Bag




Introduction: Make a Tote Bag From a Discarded Grain Bag

While at my local brewery, I saw a pile of empty grain bags.  The head brewer was annoyed that the guy who was supposed to pick them up had not yet, and he was about to put all of them in the dumpster.  I had to do something, so I snagged a dozen or so, with the intent of making tote bags with them.  Here is the first one.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Step One: Get Those Discarded Bags

Here is a picture of a pile of bags I got. 

Step 2: Step Two

After shaking out the dust residuals, I assessed the situation.  I wanted a bag that was neither too large or too small.  I liked that the bottom of the bag was already sewn quite securely, so I wanted to keep that.  It might have been ideal to keep the decorative part of the bag uncut, but that would've made the bag too large.  I figured that having the decoration cut off made it obvious that the bag was from reclaimed material, so that was cool with me.  I measured 11 inches from the top to cut away.

Step 3: Step Three: Make the Handles

I took the top I cut off the original bag, and I liked the "use no hooks" so I made sure that would stay with the handles.  I made a 4 1/2 inch strip, with the printing prominent, and then folded it so that there were no edges left outside. Then I sewed the middle, and up and down the sides.  I cut the result in half, for equal handles.

Step 4: Step Four: Hem the Bag

I folded over the top of the bag 1 inch, then another inch.  Pinned it, then sewed it around the edge.

Step 5: Step Five: Attach the Handles to the Bag

I pinned the handles where I thought they should go, and then after walking around testing it a bit, I sewed them in.  I used a forward stitch, then a backwards diagonal, then forward across the top, making a backwards N on the base of each part of the handle.

Step 6: Step Six: Enjoy!

Make sure all the pins are out, trim those bits of thread, and you have a wonderful bag.  Saved some stuff from a landfill, used only thread and your time!

Be the First to Share


    • Heart Contest

      Heart Contest
    • Fiber Arts Contest

      Fiber Arts Contest
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest

    5 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I've always wondered how to make these kinds of bags. Thanks for the great 'ible!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love it too! A suggestion: if you fold and sew a triangle (pointing up) at each lower corner, it will square off the bottom of the bag. You may be able to save the whole artwork, plus put each bit of text, like "Made in Canada", its own section.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If the recycling guy keeps flaking out, you could take his place and go into business.