We have a bunch of old t-shirts from college that we just don’t wear anymore, but they still have sentimental value so I hate to throw them out. So I turned them into tote bags! It’s so easy to turn a t-shirt into a tote bag, and the best part is, there’s no sewing required! If you have scissors and an old t-shirt, you can make a super awesome tote bag!
It’s a great way to recycle old t-shirts instead of throwing them away, especially if they have sentimental value. And if you have kids, this is a great way to keep their favorite shirts useful even afer they outgrow them!
How To Turn A T-Shirt Into A Tote Bag
Here’s what you need:
- an old t-shirt
Though you can do this with any t-shirt, the thicker the t-shirt fabric, the stronger the bag; just be careful that you don’t choose a t-shirt that has been worn threadbare!
My husband accidentally exploded a pen all over this shirt, so he couldn’t wear it anymore. But it’s perfect for a t-shirt tote!
Start by cutting the sleeves off of the shirt.
Next cut out the neck of the shirt. Instead of cutting the neck exactly around the stitching, you can cut a little bit lower down into the shirt so that the opening of your tote bag is large enough to get stuff inside.
The last step is to cut a fringe and tie up the bottom! First, decide how long you want the bag to be. As you use it the fabric will stretch out a bit; it might be too long if you use the full length of the t-shirt.
For this bag I cut the hem off of the t-shirt, then I cut the fringe up about 3″. The longer you cut the fringe, the shorter the bag.
Make sure your fringes are about 3/4″ wide and that you’re cutting through both the top and bottom layers of the t-shirt as you go.
Then start tying your fringes together. As you tie them together the fringes will help close up the bottom of the bag, but there will still be holes between each set of tied fringes.
To fix this, just lay out your tied fringes as shown in the photo below (one fringe going up out of the knot and one fringe going down out of the knot), then tie the “top” fringe from one pair to the “bottom” fringe from the pair next to it. This will close up those gaps between the pairs of fringes.
It should look something like this once you have closed the gaps.
Just keep tying pairs of fringes together, then tying the top fringe from one pair to the bottom fringe of the next pair to close the gaps. Once all your fringes are tied and all your gaps are closed, you’re done!
If you don’t want to leave the fringes hanging down you can tuck them up inside the bag, or cut them off. But I kinda like the fringed look at the bottom!
Take your new tote bag to the farmer’s market, the beach, the park, the grocery store, or anywhere!
Want to share this tutorial with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons on the left to share with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!
P.S. if you liked this project, check out these other simple apparel crafts!
I made one of these in 30 minutes! I’m making another one today for my best friend! Thanks for the idea!
Hello came across your site I’m disabled, and on a fixed income so always looking for cheap dIy ideas that you can find around the. House been wanting a tree painted on the wall after I had my room painted any ideas ? I’m no artist. Thanks.
Jessi Wohlwend says
You could always try a vinyl wall decal instead of paint! If you go on Etsy you can find tons of wall decals in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I’m actually going to do that for the next nursery; I’m going to purchase a vinyl decal of a cherry blossom tree to put on the wall. The decals are really easy to use and there are tons of options on Etsy!
Ruqaiya Ezzi says
Hi! Do I double knot it the first time? Or just tie it once?
I also like the colors, I’ll do the same
Love this idea! I have many old t-shirts of my husbands that I haven’t tossed (was going to cut them to make yarn but too much work). Travelling next week and I just may make a couple to take to my daughter-in-law (a new mommy). I know what I am doing tomorrow 😉
Tammy @ Posh Patterns says
Love this!! They look perfect for carrying a portable crochet or knitting project. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
I agree it is a great idea. I don’t sew either. I like the fringes; they go well with the tie dye fabric.
This is such a great idea! I have tons of old t-shirts that I just can’t toss out in the garbage (that is horrivle for landfills)and they are way to worn to be given away. I am having a mini-reunion with some of my best college girl friends and with wine and food we are going to do this activity! Thank you Jessie, you are fabulous!
Jessi Wohlwend says
Awesome plan, have fun with it!
So clever, I love it. I will try making one or two or maybe three. Thank you Jessie.
sondra c says
absolutely great idea! I dont sew at all and this looks like a perfect project. Will make nice little gifts for my friends.