Need a bag to carry your stuff around, but don’t want to head to the store to buy one? No problem. You can make a sturdy tote by upcycling things you already own. It’s possible to make a pretty awesome tote bag without spending any money at all. Here are 10 items that you can easily transform into a tote.
If you have an old T-shirt in your closet, try turning it into a tote bag. This no-sew tutorial takes just 10 minutes to complete. You’ll need some sharp scissors and a washable marker. Cut the sleeves and neckline area off your shirt. Then figure out how deep you want your bag to be. Cut fringe at the base of your to-be bag, turn it inside out, and tie the fringe.
Alternatively, you can leave the fringe out for a more stylish look.
2. Wool sweater
You can make a felted tote bag using an old wool sweater. Just wash the sweater using hot water and dry on high heat. This will make the fibers shrink and ultimately add strength to your bag. Cut the arms and neckline out of the shrunken sweater. Turn it inside out and then stitch along the bottom to close.
You can also fold over the edges of the strap and hem if you like, but felted wool likely won’t fray much if at all.
Maybe you’ve recently lost some weight and are looking for ways to use your discarded roomy jeans. Make a tote out of ’em. Upcycled denim makes a particularly ingenious tote that has built-in pockets. What about a handle? Use the leg seams! It’s super simple and will stand up to heavy loads. (See also: 20 New Things You Can Make With Old Blue Jeans)
4. Rice bag
Do you buy your rice in bulk? Keep the bag! Once you slice and dice it a bit, you can sew around the edges and make a durable grocery bag that will last for years. You only need a few tools: scissors, a needle, and nylon thread. The rest is in the magic of folding it into the classic grocery bag shape and sewing it up.
You can follow this exact same process using any stiff bag. Feed bags for chickens and other livestock make great choices as well. This type of bag is exceptionally easy to clean. That’s great news if you plan to use it to pick up produce at the farmers market.