Plastic Bag Dispenser. Reuse a Plastic Three Liter and Plastic Bags.




Those plastic bags from the grocery store are like rabbits. You bring home a couple and before you know it hundreds of them are around. Some areas will let you recycle them. I know of a mega store that has a bin for recycling. I did ask once about the recycling bin and the greeter said they just throw them away. Hmmm

So I had a couple of empty three liter bottles after a picnic wrapped by a plastic bag, trapping bees. After a few funny moments of bee-ing chased& I thought the 3 liter bottles would make a good storage dispenser for the plastic bags.

The basics are: one (clean) three liter bottle, a hobby knife, a stove, pan and bags. Cut a star pattern following the contours on the bottom of the three liter bottle. Cut a small hole around the top of the bottle, use the dry pan to melt and curl the cut ends inward and then stuff with bags. The whole process is less than 10 minutes for the basic construction and installation.

Step 1: Materials


One clean three liter plastic bottle. I used a soda bottle.
Hobby knife
Screw Diver
Permanent marker
Two each: wood screws and washers
News paper or other protective covering


Plastic type spray paint
Spray adhesive
covering (fabric, paper, etc.)
Hole punch

Step 2: Mark and Cut

I used a red marker to try to make it easier to view the areas I needed to cut away from the bottle.

Following the contours on the bottom of the bottle, mark a semi-star pattern. Then draw a small circle around the base of the top.

Be careful with the hobby knife. Use the hobby knife to cut the bottom pattern out. Cut the bottom pattern out before the top pattern. Removing the top pattern section first makes the plastic squishier and more difficult to cut as it was constantly collapsing.

Cut the top pattern out.

Your plastic bottle should look similar to this.

Step 3: Heat Molding the Plastic

Warm the pan on medium heat. Place the top part of the bottle (the smaller, circular cut) on the pan. Keep holding it up. Gently apply some pressure so the cut section starts to turn inward. Remove from heat.
Using the same technique, apply the bottom section to the pan and try to get the little plastic fingers to curl inward. This will help keep the bags in.

(I read how to do this on this site. I just don't remember whose instructable it was.)

Step 4: Installation Preparation and Hardware

I plan on installing a dispenser in the upstairs closet so we can store the bags until needed for the small trash cans.

I cut two small crosses to allow the screwdriver access to the screws. On the opposite side, I used the hobby knife to make small pilot holes for the screws.

Place a washer onto the screw and then start to turn the screw by hand to start it into the pilot holes.

Mount the dispenser where you want. Remember the smaller hole (used to be the top of the bottle) is now the bottom.

Step 5: Installed and Filled

Once you have it mounted, start stuffing the dispenser.

I was able to get 27 plastic bags into the dispenser before I ran out of bags.

Need a bag? Pull it out from the bottom.

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge



    • Sew Tough Challenge

      Sew Tough Challenge
    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest

    14 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I like this idea a lot. My son in law goes through so many plastic bottles in a week it will be 10% his fault when the polar ice caps melt. I digress; my point is, I am always trying to come up with projects to use some. The cloth version they sell always seem to fall no matter how you hook them up. I am going to do this for sure. Thanks. :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Will it work just as well with a 2L pop bottle? Also, I'm concerned the heat molding will damage my pan... I assume you only hold it on for a second, but do you have any suggestions for making sure your pan is okay? This sounds like a good idea, and I know my boyfriend hates my giant bag of bags!

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Try a heat gun. They look like a hair dryer. Can usually buy them under for under $20. Then you can do LOTS of cool things melting plastic including PVC...


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for writing. Any size bottle will do. The heat mold is purely optional. I have not used this on every holder I have made. The heat molding did not harm my pan. I used a Teflon coated pan at medium heat. It was warm enough to allow me to bend the plastic and not melt it. What I would suggest doing is using the end piece that is scrap to test the heat of the pan. You might also try boiling water, removing it from the heat source and let it cool down a bit and then immerse the end of the bottle.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    one thing to do is as you put bags in daisy chain then together thru the handles then you can keep the hole smaller and like kleenex when you pull one out the next one is started.

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    In reference to plastic bags, its looping the end of a bag through the handles of another so when you pull one out, the other follows. Sort of like tissue paper or Kleenex. But with the bottle storage method, it's not needed. The plastic bags that are pushed from the top force the others out through the hole in the bottom. But they don't spill out. Just pull one out when you need it.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    that sounds like an amazing idea...the only thing is I don't have a single bag holder that it would actually be practical for =( mine are all similar to this where the others just force it out.....oh well...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Good suggestion. I did think about that, but it was easier to just shove them all in. The hole on the bottom is large enough to pull a bag through even if the dispenser is not full. But if anyone out there is like me, I have so many bags that the pressure of the other bags keeps them ready to be pulled out. The reason the hole at the top of the bottle being as large as it is was to allow for ease of cutting. I was having a hard time with the thick plastic areas.

    Doctor What

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! My grandma used to have one of these. Silly old lady! Just dump a 2 liter bottle of diet cola, because we know drinking it is totally helping those thighs. (5'd and fav'd)