Saturday, November 27, 2010

DIY Plastic bag reusable tote

Heyo! I just decorated my house for Christmas and now I am getting around to Christmas gifts, this year I am doing a "go green" theme. Part of my go green is making reusable totes from grocery(or similar) store plastic bags via heat fusing, I figure this is one way to get rid of that stack of plastic bags you have accumulating in the back of the pantry!


  • Iron
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • A stack of plastic bags
  • Sewing machine

Hooray for a little floor time! Alright, bags, you are going to need a bunch! I do my totes 6 ply, so if each plastic bag is 2 ply, you need 3 bags per sheet, and for this tote you need 4 sheets, so you need at least 12 bags for this project. So on to the project! Shaping the bag for cutting, what I do is fold in the sides and lay flat like the picture below.

Next, snip off the handles and bottom.

After I pull the sides out to make the bag just a 2 ply plastic bag. Now repeat the first 3 steps with all the other bags. :D

Next, bust out your iron and parchment paper and find either the tile floor or the kitchen table, just somewhere big enough to iron your plastic bag sheets(make sure you are only ironing three bags TOGETHER at the same time!!) If your grocery bags have ink on them, make sure to sandwich them between parchment paper because the heat WILL make the ink come off. I know this first hand as I now have [WALMART] inked onto my craft table, haha. Heat setting: slightly warm. Haha, I know, not what you want to hear, but something that will just fuse the bag together, not turn it into a gloppy mess, it should take about 5 minutes to combine the plastic bags, not a 1 or 2... I put it on cotton but my iron also sucks. When you put your hand near the iron, you should feel a slight heat, not a burn your hand from an inch away heat.

This is to show you that there will be some shrinkage, not a lot but just a little. haha.

 Now that you have all four sheets, time to measure and snip! For the normal sized grocery store bags, these are the measurements I used(after trimming the sides to make the bags "even")

Measurements(these measurements are not for the final product). You will need two of all of these. Handles: 2in by 18in. Bag sides(the bottom is included in the bag sides): 7in by 18 in. Bag faces: 9.5in by 18 in.

Now to the best part, sewing! I did all my seam allowences at 1/4 or so inches. Hehe, I'm so precise. I sewed the handles first, I tucked in the ends to make a nice hem and then sewed down the sides, making the handles 1in.

 Then I sewed the two side pieces together, short sides touching with the right sides facing each other.

This is a little tricky, flip your sides so the right side is up. Take one of your face pieces with the right side down(you can fold it in half to create a little seam to help) and lay the middle of the face on the sewen middle. Make sure the edges "match" up and then sew along the edge of the face piece. Repeat with the other face.

It should look like the picture below, now we are going to sew up the sides. So lift the bag and line the two sides together.

Pinch the corner kind of like this and sew from the corner to the end of the side, repeat on all four sides.

Like this. I sewed along the bottom of the sides to give the bag a better structure. I also folded the top of the bag down half an inch to form a hem and it makes it look much nicer an also makes the top of the bag even! I dont have a instructional picture for sewing on the handles but it's easiest when the bag is inside out like this. I also zig-zagged the handles on then trimmed the excess.

Finished! And to test it.....

My 16 pound cat! LOL I also got my 20 pound kiddo in it, but I couldn't take a picture of it and my wonderful hubs was playing SCII.

Again if you have any questions feel free to use the contact me on the side! :D

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