Every fall, we do an intense season akin to spring cleaning to get things back in order after the summer. Recently, we realized just how many plastic bags we’ve amassed and we couldn’t bear to think about the impact of throwing them out, but we have too many to ever reuse for their regular purpose. That’s how we found ourselves looking for crafty ways to upcycle them in new and useful ways!
Just in case the idea of repurposing your plastic bags appeals just as much to you as it did to us, if not more, here are 15 of the most unique and practically useful ideas we’ve come across so far in our search.
1. Tote bag made from heat fused plastic bags
Are you always finding yourself in need of a tote bag that’s way bigger in size than any of the ones you already own and you find you can never find the large size you need in stores either? Then making your own is absolutely the best plan for you! Check out how Scrap Hacker did just that by heat fusing many folded plastic bags together carefully using their iron.
2. Braided plastic bag basket
This fantastic DIY basket idea is similar to ones you might have seen before made out of rope, repurpose t-shirts, or strips of scrap fabric! Check out how Instructables made this awesome braid coiled basket (that’s useful in so many different ways) by braining plastic bags together and gluing them in a coiled pattern. We made two and we keep out yarn for knitting in them!
3. DIY plarn for crocheting
Speaking of yarn and yarn crafts… have you ever heard of “plarn”? Well, if you haven’t, we’re about to blow your upcycle loving mind! Check out how Fantasvale Art Lab make plastic yarn called “plarn” (get it?) from stripes of plastic bags wound together, using it to crochet all kinds of things once they’d may a sizeable amount! We love plarn for its durability.
4. Crocheted plarn tote bag
Perhaps you actually have heard of plarn or you recently made some, but now you’re just looking for useful, appropriate patterns that will actually help you make things with it? Well, one of our favourite things to make with our DIY plarn has always been large tote bags because they’re easy to clean and very strong. Check out this fantastic and easy-to-make pattern on Green Fountaindale!
5. Plastic bag friendship bracelets
If you can braid and weave strips of plastic bags in larger sizes to make things like baskets and crocheted tote bags, then we’re sure it comes as no surprise for you to learn that you can also do this things in miniature in order to make more delicate looking strips and strings. That’s how Viviane Rose used differently coloured plastic bags to make these awesomely durable plastic bag friendship bracelets!
6. Plastic bag dispensers from a tissue box
Perhaps you actually do plan to reuse your plastic bags for their regular, intended purpose, but what you’re really looking for is a DIY way to store them so that they’re out of the way, organized, but still easily accessible? In that case, we think you’ll appreciate this idea from DIY to Try that’s also an upcycling idea in its own right. Check out how they turned empty cardboard Kleenex boxes into plastic bag dispensers in just a few simple steps!
7. DIY plastic bag coin purse
Did you actually really like the idea of creating another kind of useful bag from your regular plastic bags, but you’re just not sure a jumbo sized tote is quite the kind of bag you’re looking for? Well, if something a little smaller would be preferable for you, we’d urge you to consider making this wonderful zippered coin purse outlined step by step on Totally Green Crafts instead!
8. DIY plastic bag jump rope
Have you actually been scrolling through our list looking for ways to get your kids in on the action when it comes to upcycling your plastic bags? Well, we think that’s a great idea because you get to teach them about repurposing and you get to help them stay creative. That’s why we thought this braided plastic bag jump rope idea featured in detail on Paint Covered Kids was such a good one!
9. Jumbo plastic bag pom pom decor
When you got it into your head that you’d really like to make a set of plastic bag pom poms, were you actually thinking more along the lines of the jumbo decorative pom poms you’ve seen hanging at parties rather than the small kind you might use for fashion embellishment? Then we think perhaps Matsutake has the perfect tutorial for you!
10. Plastic bag snowman art
It might not be Christmas time (or even winter) just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bookmark awesome holiday themed crafting ideas for your kids now that you can come back to later! Check out how Crafts n’ Coffee reused their white plastic bags in a created way by using scrunched pieces to fill in the outlined of a snowman in this adorable winter art project.
11. Plastic bag Easter baskets
Have you actually realized, in the process of digging through your leftover plastic bag collection, that you’ve got a number of bags in all kinds of cute colours? In that case, we’d suggest taking a look at this other holiday design from Love Doing Crafts that’s totally worth bookmarking for Easter! Their tutorial outlines the process of making adorable (and very durable) plastic bag Easter egg baskets that look filly and have cute braided handles.
12. Plastic bag wind sock ghosts
Perhaps you’ve actually been scrolling through our list hoping to find yourself a more Halloween appropriate plastic bag project, since it’s fall right now and your kids are in full spooky crafting mode? In that case, we think you simply must take a look at how Small For Big outlines the process of making these funny plastic bag ghosts that are shaped like wind socks so they’ll catch the breeze and sway on the trees like they’re flying around the yard.
13. Table cloth and plastic bag outdoor pillows
Believe it or not, those plastic bags you’ve been holding onto can actually be used for comfort too! If you happen to have an old outdoor table cloth lying around, then you have just about everything you need to sew yourself a durable, nearly water proof outdoor throw pillow that’s made from plastic bag stuffing encases in the table cloth! Get the full details for making your own on Two It Yourself.