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Upcycled No Sew T-shirt Tote Bag

Anyone else have a closet full of old t-shirts? I have piles of t-shirts dating back to my high school days that are just sitting there. They are too sentimental to toss and too worn and faded to donate. With Earth Day approaching, I thought it’d be the perfect time to upcycle those old shirts into something useful. Chiquita sent me a couple t-shirts so I could show you how to recycle your old shirts into spiffy new tote bags. You can use smaller shirts for reusable grocery tote bags and the larger shirts as beach bags. You can also wrap up birthday presents in these t-shirt tote bags and help save some trees in the process.

Old T-shirt
Scissors or Rotary Cutter/Mat/Ruler

Step 1: Lay the t-shirt flat and cut off the sleeves. Using a rotary cutter is easiest, but scissors will work just fine.

Step 2: Cut a rectangular shape where the neck opening is, as shown below. Make sure you leave at least 3-4 inches of material on each side for tote straps.

Step 3: Cut 1×3 inch strips across the bottom of the shirt.

Step 4: Knot the front strips to the back strips all the way across the shirt.

Step 5: That’s it, an upcycled t-shirt tote bag in less than 5 steps! Time to go shopping!

Hi! I’m Vanessa and live in the middle of the Arizona desert with my husband Rich, our son Logan and our 2 cats. When I'm not busy making sure our toddler doesn't ingest crayons or cat food (his 2 favorite food groups), you can find me in my organized mess of a craft room. I blog about my love for glitter and hot glue at
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  1. I think I could do this. Kinda excited about it! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! That was super easy. This project is now on my to-do list. Thanks!

    • Thanks Angie! You could also sew the bottom shut if you have a sewing machine, but I kinda like the look of the fringed bottom :)

  3. Pingback: do something crafty #36