How to Repurpose Old Plastic Bags into Reusable Shopping Totes
I’ve been looking for ways to reduce my plastic waste and reuse what I already have. One great idea is to repurpose old plastic bags into reusable shopping totes! Here’s how I do it in 6 easy steps:
What you’ll need
- Old plastic grocery bags, shopping bags, etc.
- Duct tape or fabric glue
Step 1: Prepare the bags
- Collect at least 5-10 clean plastic bags. The more bags you have, the larger your tote will be. Variety is good – mix and match colors and textures.
- Cut off any handles and trim the bags down to a rectangle shape.
- Lay the bags flat and smooth out any major wrinkles and creases.
Step 2: Measure and cut fabric
- Decide how big you want your tote to be. For an average grocery tote, cut two rectangles about 18″ x 15″.
- Stack 2-3 bag layers at a time and use your ruler and pencil to mark cutting lines.
- Use scissors to cut through the stacked layers for matching pieces.
Step 3: Layer and arrange the “fabric”
- Lay out the cut pieces in your desired pattern and arrangement.
- Overlap the edges by about 1⁄2 inch. Play around with different color combinations.
- Once you’re happy with the layout, smooth down the overlap so the pieces lay flat.
Step 4: Add duct tape or glue
- Working section by section, apply duct tape or fabric glue to the overlapped seams on the wrong side of the fabric.
- Press firmly to seal the seams. Make sure the tape fully covers the edges.
- Flip over and ensure none of the tape is visible on the front side.
Step 5: Shape into a tote bag
- With the right sides facing out, fold your fabric into the size and shape of a tote bag.
- At the corners, pleat the fabric in about 1-2 inches and tape or glue the corner seams.
- Apply additional tape or glue as needed to hold the side seams in place.
Step 6: Finish the tote
- To make handles, cut 2 strips of plastic about 2-3” wide x 20” long. Fold them over and seal with duct tape. Attach to the sides of the tote.
- For stability, you can also insert a plastic canvas sheet inside the bottom of the bag.
- Decorate your reusable tote with fabric markers, appliques, patches, ribbons, etc. Enjoy!
By repurposing old plastic bags into a tote bag, I’ve given new life to a used material while also reducing the need for new plastic products. Reusing and upcycling materials is a great sustainability habit. Making your own grocery tote is simple, rewarding, and eco-friendly!