Make a shopping bag from recycled grocery bags!

Well, we’ve been busy this morning! We made a shopping bag out or recycled plastic grocery bags. It was pretty easy, and it turned out cute! I found the idea in Family Fun magazine. As you can see from the photos, it’s a little smaller than a regular grocery bag…we’re thinking it will be good for carrying home produce from the store. It’s a fun rainy-day project, and it feels good to have something to do with all those extra bags! That’s 10 extra shopping bags that are NOT in a landfill. Yea!

For the project, you need:

10 plastic grocery bags, with the recycling symbol with a number “2” on it.
Duct tape (colored would have been even neater)
Bits of colored plastic from other bags, plastic ribbon, small paper bits etc.
white glue
Colored Saran Wrap (we recycled the wrap from our cookies)
An Iron and ironing board
Parchment paper

What you do:

Make sure you do this in a well ventilated place! Kids can help with some of the steps, but of course no ironing allowed.

1. Place 5 of the bags together in a stack, straightening them as show. Place a sheet of parchment paper over your ironing board, then set the stack on the paper. Place a second sheet of paper over the bags, and iron over them quickly to make them stick together a little (this makes them easier to cut straight). Repeat with other 5 bags.

2. Cut the top and bottom off the bags as shown, for both stack of bags. Return them one at a time to the ironing board, sandwiched between parchment paper. Iron them for a minute or so, making sure NOT to let the iron touch any plastic! Check to make sure the bags have melted together, and peel off the parchment paper. Do both stacks of bags.

3. Decorate one side (or both if you want) with bits of colored plastic. You can use small bits of paper or other flat material, but not too big or it will interfere with plastic sticking. Use a tiny amount (tiny!) of white glue if you need to help the plastic stick.

4. Cover the artwork with a layer of colored saran wrap. Follow the ironing directions from step 2, making sure the wrap fuses to the bags. Our wrap took a little longer to melt . Repeat with the other stack of fused bags.

5. Overlap the bottoms of the bags (small sides) by about an inch. Iron these very well, until they have completely fused together.

6. Cover the top of the bag with duct tape, folding the tape over to form a border. Fold the bag in half, and duct tape the sides of the bag together. Let the tape overlap the top edge of the bag by about an inch or two.

7. Fold the overlapping end of the tape over and press it into the bag, as shown, to make a smooth edge.

8. Make the handles! Lay one long strip of duct tape out, sticky side up. Place a shorter strip in the center, sticky-sides facing each other. The size of the strips can vary, depending on how large you want your handles. Just make sure you have enough tape to make the handle stick inside the bag (about 4 inches on each side) and enough doubled up tape for your hand. Make two handles.

9. Stick the handles on the inside of the bag, and re-enforce as shown with duct tape. I hate it when the handles fall off your shopping bag, so I reinforced both the top and bottom of the strips!

10. I re-enforced the sides of my bag, too. Nothing is worse than losing your groceries out the bottom of a faulty shopping bag!

The finished bag is a cute way to teach your kids about recycling!!!

3 thoughts on “Make a shopping bag from recycled grocery bags!

  • June 7, 2008 at 9:52 am

    too fun! I have been wanting to try this but never have duct tape! I did see some tutorials where you can sew them. I should give it a try! Oh yes and remind me what day is Sarah’s b-day?


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