Recycled Grocery Totes

This is the end product of many hours of labor. It is a Recycled Grocery Tote. It was free, minus the groceries I had to buy and the thread, and it is 99% made with recycled materials. Go green team :)

Here is what I started with. Tons and tons of Meijer bags. You can use whatever kind of plastic bags you have, it is just easier if they are all the same bags.

Here is what you need:
1. Iron
2. Parchment Paper
3. Tons of plastic bags (I used 40)
4. Scissors
5. Sewing Machine
6. Thread
7. Fabric (optional if you want to add words to the outside)

The first step is to cut the bags into manageable pieces. I cut off the handles and the words and the bottom seam, and when I opened it up, it looked like this.

Once you have 40 rectangles cut, you will begin to fuse the plastic together. This step is done with a lot of love and some practice. Meijer bags are a little on the thin side unlike Target bags, but I don't shop there enough. I used 8 plastic rectangles for each piece. You line up all 8 of the pieces of plastic and then cover with parchment paper. Start with your iron on a low setting and try a small corner to see what happens. The plastic will wrinkle a bit and only shrink a small amount. It should not shrivel up quickly. If it does, the iron is too hot. Once you have the right temperature, start in the middle and work your way to the outside to ensure no bubbles sneak in. This is the hardest part, so don't get frustrated. It takes some time to get use to it. Once you get the one side good, flip over and repeat on the back side. You know you are done when all of the plastic is combined and there are no bubbles.

This is what a completed sheet looks like. It should be pretty stiff and have those little wrinkles.

You will need 5 sections.

Once you have fused all of your plastic, you will need to cut it to the right size. I did not make any templates. All I did was make 2 large rectangles for the front and back, then I made 2 long rectangles for the sides and finally, 1 fat rectangle for the bottom. Just make sure they line up as you cut them. Sorry for all of the exact measurements :) Once all pieces are cut, you will need to start the sewing. You can sew it just like fabric. I used black so it would be visible, and I did a zigzag stitch at a 2 wide.

I sowed all of the sides to the bottom to make it the easiest.

Then I sewed the sides together. To make it a little nicer on the eyes, I added some scrap pieces of fabric as letters. These I hand stitched on. Next time, I would sew them on prior to assembling the bag.

Last step was the handles. I cut long strips from the extra plastic I had and added a strip of black fabric on the inside to reinforce them.

Lastly, I hand stitched the handles on the bag.

Voila!! I got rid of all my unwanted plastic bags, and I was eco-friendly.

 Inspiration comes from MADE


  1. Where do you find these crafts?! I can't wait till we move and I have an art room again so I can try this any many of your other crafts!

  2. what a great idea - I love this!

  3. This is a fabulous idea! I have seen other items made from fusing plastic bags but never thought to make another bag, fabulous!! thanks so much for sharing Jennibellie x