“Reusing Old Plastic Bags to Make a Rain Cape”

“Reusing Old Plastic Bags to Make a Rain Cape”

Reusing Old Plastic Bags to Make a Rain Cape


Plastic bags are incredibly common in our everyday lives. We use them for shopping, storage, and packing lunches. However, they also create a lot of waste and end up in landfills. An innovative solution is to reuse old plastic bags by turning them into useful items like rain capes.

In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide on how to make a rain cape from recycled plastic bags. We will cover the materials needed, the design process, construction steps, and tips for customizing your plastic bag rain cape. With a little creativity, you can give new life to old plastic bags and make a functional rainy day accessory.

Materials Needed

Making a rain cape from plastic bags requires just a few simple materials:

  • Plastic shopping bags – The main material. Collect at least 25-30 clean bags in good condition. Variety of colors creates a fun patchwork effect.

  • Scissors – For cutting the plastic bags into usable pieces.

  • Ruler – To measure plastic pieces accurately.

  • Pencil – For marking cut lines on the plastic.

  • Needle and thread – For stitching the plastic pieces together. Use strong upholstery thread.

  • Clips or pins – To temporarily hold pieces together while stitching.

  • Tape – Masking or clear tape to reinforce seams.

  • Hole punch – For creating holes to attach the side ties.

  • Cording, ribbon, or rope – To create arm ties and hood ties.

Design Process

Before constructing your rain cape, it helps to sketch out some design ideas. Consider the following:

  • Length – Do you want a full-length rain poncho or a shorter cape style? Measure yourself to determine ideal length.

  • Hood or no hood – A hood provides more coverage but is trickier to construct. Non-hooded options are simpler.

  • Arm openings – Determine if you want narrow sleeves, wide batwing sleeves, or cape-style arm holes.

  • Plastic piece layout – Sketch arrangements of plastic pieces for the hood, body, and sleeves. Mix colors and textures.

  • Closures – Will you use ties, buttons, or decorative clips to fasten the front?

Decide on the ideal rain cape design for your needs and style before constructing.

Construction Steps

Creating your plastic bag rain cape takes time and patience but is straightforward when broken down into steps:

Step 1: Cut Plastic Pieces

  • Use your sketched design as a guide for cutting plastic pieces.
  • For the body, cut rectangular pieces in varying sizes – both width and length.
  • For the hood, cut triangles, rectangles and semicircle pieces.
  • For sleeves, cut long rectangular strips or large semicircle pieces.

Step 2: Lay Out Pieces

  • Lay pieces on the floor and experiment with different arrangements.
  • Ensure edges align properly and pieces overlap for reinforcement.
  • When satisfied, carefully pick up the layout and move to your work surface.

Step 3: Stitch Pieces Together

  • Working section by section, stitch the laid out pieces together using upholstery thread and needle.
  • For hood, stitch triangles to rectangles to create shape.
  • For body, connect rectangles end-to-end or overlap edges by 2-3 inches.
  • For sleeves, connect strips or stitch curved edges of semicircles.
  • Use pins or clips to hold pieces while stitching. Remove when done.

Step 4: Add Closures and Ties

  • Determine where front closure will go and add buttons, ties, or clips.
  • Cut cord or ribbon and use hole punch to add ties at arm openings and hood.

Step 5: Finish With Tape

  • For extra reinforcement, add clear tape over all seams and edges.
  • Consider decorating your cape with fun tape patterns.

And that’s it – you now have a complete rain cape made from recycled plastic bags! Try it on and customize for the perfect fit.

Customizing Your Plastic Bag Rain Cape

Part of the fun of making your own rainwear is customizing it to suit your style. Here are some creative ways to make your plastic bag cape unique:

  • Mix and match brightly colored bags for a vibrant patchwork look.

  • Choose plastic bags with prints and patterns you like to decorate your cape. Floral bags can be pretty.

  • Cut rain drop shapes from blue or clear bags and stitch them on like embellishments.

  • Use complementary colors for a more coordinated appearance.

  • Add decorative trims made from braided plastic bags along the edges.

  • Make it reversible with different colors and patterns on each side.

  • Stitch on plastic bag bows, flowers or other 3D details.

By reusing old bags and getting creative, you can craft a plastic bag rain cape that expresses your unique style.


Turning old plastic shopping bags into a functional rain cape is a great way to reduce waste while making something useful. With some basic materials, a bit of planning, and stitching plastic pieces together, you can create durable outerwear. The design possibilities are endless when you reuse and upcycle plastic bags. Your homemade rain cape will keep you dry on stormy days while also displaying your creativity.