DIY: T-shirt to tote

By guest contributor Krista


According to the EPA, only about 14% of plastic bags/wraps are recycled in the United States, and recycling this type of plastic requires more energy than recycling plastic bottles. In order to combat the amount of plastic bags in landfills or littering streets, many cities are banning them or charging a bag fee (or sometimes both). Many stores sell their own reusable bags, which are often heavy duty and made from recycled plastic bottles. If you are like me, there are many old t-shirts around your house begging to be “upcycled.” Here is a perfect, easy project!

One thing I love about this DIY is that it only involves an old t-shirt and a pair of scissors and it requires no sewing! I made this bag in ten minutes and it is especially perfect for produce rather than using the plastic bags the grocery store provides since this bag is 100% washable.

First, you need only a large old shirt and a pair of fabric scissors. Cut the arms off (including the seams) and cut a large hole around the neck.

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Next, you need to create fringe at the bottom of the shirt. Turn the shirt inside-out if you want your finished bag to show the design of the shirt, or leave right-side out if you would rather your bag be plain. Cut strips of both the front and back of the shirt together about 2-3 inches long.

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Then you will need to tie knots in the fringe. This is a two step process – the first is to tie the corresponding pieces of fringe in knots. Once this is done, go back along the fringe and tie diagonal pieces of fringe in knots in order to prevent small gaps along the bottom of your bag. When you turn the bag right side out (so the fringe is inside the bag) you can check for additional gaps and tie those up. If you do sew, put a simple seam along the bottom before turning right-side out and you can skip the fringe tying.

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Voila! Your reusable bag is ready to go to the store with you. If you decide to use it for produce, wash every few uses. It’s not as heavy-duty as most reusable bags so I don’t recommend it for cans or heavy groceries.DP0A3567

© Rissponsible Living, 2015


Krista is a biology professor, photographer, and mother of two. When she isn’t teaching Biology 106: Principles of Biology at Pepperdine University, she is taking professional photos of family and friends for her business, Krista Lucas Photography