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How to Make a Sturdy Tote From Plastic Shopping Bags

Put the plastic bags from grocery and retail stores to creative use by fashioning them into a sturdy tote.


  • Step 1: Collect plastics bags Collect at least 30 clean plastic bags, and cut off the handles and bottom seams from each one.
  • TIP: Do not use biodegradable bags that will shred over time.
  • Step 2: Layer rectangles Layer six to eight of the new rectangles on top of each other on your ironing surface, cover the plastic with the parchment paper, and iron them with a hot iron for about 15 seconds, until the layers are fused together.
  • TIP: Continuously move the iron to avoid making holes.
  • Step 3: Cut out sides Cut two pieces of the fused plastic sheets to the size you want your tote to be, adding an inch on all sides for the seam.
  • Step 4: Cut out handles Cut four strips, 8 inches long and 2½ inches wide, to use as handles.
  • Step 5: Cut strips Place two of the handle strips together and sew around the perimeter, using a ¼-inch allowance, and then repeat with the other two handle strips.
  • Step 6: Sew on the handles Sew one plastic handle onto the outside of each side of the bag with the sewing machine. Make sure to measure accurately so the handles line up.
  • Step 7: Sew edges Place the two fused sheets on top of each other and sew the bottom and sides. Turn the bag inside out to hide the seams and then find something to carry in your new creative tote.
  • FACT: Approximately 31 million tons of plastic in 2007 became municipal solid waste.

You Will Need

  • 30 plastic bags
  • Scissors
  • Parchment paper
  • An iron
  • An ironing board
  • A needle and thread or sewing machine

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