Shopping Bag Wallet (no Sew, All Iron!)




Let's make a wallet from the shopping bag you were about to throw out. Yeah I see you. Stop being so wasteful.

Step 1: Supplies

You'll need this stuff (or these stuffz);

1. Plastic bag
2. Iron
3. Printer paper
4. Pen
5. Scissors
6. Tape

You're going to need a plastic bag. You can do this with grocery store bags but you'll have to layer it so many times that it becomes impractical. I really like to use retail clothing store plastic bags. They're really nice and heavy. Because a wallet doesn't have to deal with a whole lot of stress you can get away with just doing a double layer if you have one of these plastic bags. Also you're going to need printer paper. You can try to use something else to protect your iron and ironing board but printer paper works really well. If you are going to try to use something else make sure that it doesn't have any print. Print will transfer onto the plastic. Lastly, the tape we're going to use needs to be easy to remove.

Step 2: Making Your Pattern

I lined my wallet up with a sheet of printer paper for an appropriate height. We're looking at about 5" high and using the entire width (8.5") of the page. Cut out three of these shapes. Tape two of them together so that you have one sheet that's 5" by 17" (outside) and one that's 5" by 8.5" (inside). Remember we're using that easy to remove tape.

Step 3: Prepping the Bag

Cut the bag along the side seem and then across the bottom. We're trying to maintain one of the side seems. Fold the bag so that the former inside is exposed (note the "delia" is backwards in the photo). The name of the game is protecting your surfaces from the iron and the plastic. Make sure you always remember to have a layer of paper down on the ironing board. Put the plastic on top of the paper and then lay down another layer of paper. Set your iron to a really low setting. My iron has a dial that goes to 12 and I dialed in a 3. Start ironing. You want to keep the iron moving constantly. It shouldn't take more than 20 seconds to fuse the layers. It's much better to under cook your plastic and give it some touch ups than to burn your material and then have to start over. Once you pull the iron away give it a good minute before you peel the paper off. If you try to peel it off too early (before it cools) you're going to create a texture and weaken the material.

Step 4: Cutting the Plastic

Use your patterns to cut out the pieces. Make sure you leave an extra half inch in height for the outside piece (longer piece) for the seeming. After you have your pieces cut, fold the outside piece in half. Line it up with the inside piece and mark where your seem allowance starts. Cut a little piece out. This will create the room so that the wallet is easy to close and doesn't try to pull itself open. To make sure you maintain that excess put a pen in the fold. Open the outside piece and lay it down on top of the inside piece. Line up the center lines of each. Make marks where the outside piece extends past the inside piece. Make folds at these marks. You're going to cut up the seem allowance in each fold. After all this cutting you should have two pieces that look like the last photo on this page.

Step 5: Joining the Pieces

In the last step you sectioned the outside piece (whether you know it or not) into three parts. Those small cuts you maybe about a quarter of the way in from the edges are where the inside pockets will begin. Put a layer of paper down and the put the outside piece down on top of it. Place another piece of paper on top of that piece and line it up with the seem allowance that runs along the bottom. Place your inner piece on top of that layer of paper. The right edge of the inner piece will line up with the left most cut on the outer piece. The tops of both pieces of plastic should be level with one another. Fold the seem allowance for the pocket up. We're trying to fuse this seem with the inner piece and trying to avoid any other fusion. Put another layer of paper on top and give it the iron. Give it time to cool off and then remove the paper.

Refold the project so that seem we just fixed is on the right side and the other pocket is on the left. The wallet is inside out right now. Fold a piece of paper so that if covers the outside layer of plastic (protecting it from itself). Fold both pockets in. Fold the free pocket seem over the inside piece. Put a layer of paper inside of your pocket so that you don't iron it closed. We're just trying iron the second pocket seem to the inside piece. Put a layer of paper on top and drop the iron. Let it cool and remove the paper.

You should end up with a ring that looks like a shark mouth with a brimmed hat.

Step 6: Sealing the Bifold

Turn the ring inside out. You should now be faced with two squares that are bound to the project on the bottom and outside edges. These are going to be the inside pockets. Place that inside template from earlier inside of these soon to be pockets. Un-tape the outside template. Place that inside the ring you've created. You're going to line up the bottom of this template with the bottom of the inner piece. You shouldn't be able to see any paper coming out of the bottom of the wallet. Fold the corner of the seems in. Fold the seems up over the inner piece. Lay your paper down on top and give it some more iron time. Let it cool. The bottom of the wallet should now be sealed.

Step 7: Finishing the Pockets

Leave the outside template in the wallet. Remove the inside template and fold it down about a half inch. Replace it. Now those pockets should have just the top half inch touching the inside piece. This will be the last fusion. Cover the project with a piece of paper and give this thing the last blast of heat. Let it cool because you're cool.

Now you may be worried that you just sealed that piece of paper in there. You haven't. Cut it down the center and stick you finger inside the fold of the paper. You should be able to slowly work the piece of paper out. Take that outside template piece out and your wallet is complete.

Step 8: Enjoy

Enjoy your new wallet, goof ball!

Load it up and put it in your pocket.



    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest
    • Planter Challenge

      Planter Challenge
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    8 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 3

    I found that if you use grocery store bags, they aren't necessarily smooth enough to iron so I had to press the iron on the bags, take it off, and continue.

    Lego man

    11 years ago on Introduction

    Hay thats another thing I could recommend in my Instructable.


    A really good way to keep things clean and sticky-free (better than printer paper in my opinion) is placing the plastic between two sheets of waxed paper before ironing. It's perfect. And garbage bags will do the same, you just have to iron them for a little longer.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    it might work. it seems like garbage bags might get sticky as they become hot. it would be harder to control what the bag is sticking to. if you give it a try please let me know how it turns out.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    awesome idea and great instructions. i'm gonna give it a shot. have you tried making one with an extra layer so you get another pocket?

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    i was really trying to keep this thing paper thin so i wanted as few layers as possible. the two pockets are not only useful but provide the structure. if you're going to try to add another pocket i would suggest that you cut yourself a third piece just for that pocket and to make that your first attachment. thanks for your feedback!