Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 15 DIY Reusable Totes for Every Day

Discover 15 easy DIY tutorials to make your own stylish reusable bags and totes. Perfect for shopping, gifts, and reducing plastic use.

A canvas and a crochet netted reusable bag.

I love reusable bags. I’m crunchy and proud, so I like showing off my upcycling skills as well as my environmental concerns. Reusable bags have so many uses. I use them for grocery shopping (obviously), but I also use them as beach bags, toy organizers, craft supply stores and even to grow potatoes in. The possibilities are endless!

In a world where sustainability is more than just a trend, making your own reusable bags is a creative and impactful way to contribute to the health of our planet. Not only do these bags reduce your plastic waste, but they also add a touch of personal style to your everyday errands.

From grocery shopping to library visits, reusable bags have become indispensable in our daily lives. This post is dedicated to those who want to take a step further in their sustainable journey by crafting their own unique totes. Whether you’re a crafting novice or a DIY expert, these tutorials are designed to inspire and guide you through creating functional and stylish bags that reflect your personality and values.

Standard Fabric Sewing Projects

From simple to stylish, these projects are perfect for honing your sewing skills and adding your own personal touch to your creations! Let’s get stitching!

Classic Canvas Tote Bag

This straightforward guide is designed for anyone looking to create their own durable and stylish canvas tote bag with minimal fuss. Whether you are new to sewing or just want to finish a quick project quickly, this tutorial breaks down each step into manageable pieces that will help you do a great job. This canvas tote is not only useful, but it can also be customized in a lot of different ways.

A cute canvas tote bag with old fashioned campers and a navy blue handle.

Foldable Grocery Bag

This clever tutorial will show you how to make a shopping bag that is strong, light, and folds up into a small pouch. This makes it a must-have item for anyone who is always on the go. For quick purchases or planning your shopping, this eco-friendly project is surprisingly easy, and the clear instructions make it suitable for sewers of all levels.

A teal leaf patterned foldable reusable bag.

Burlap Sack Tote

This tutorial shows you how to make a stylish and durable shopping bag that is great for people who care about both looks and the environment. Burlap’s natural look and unique texture make this tote more than just a useful item. It is a stylish addition to any outfit for market days, picnics, or any other event.

Two burlap totes - one is blue and white floral and the second is retro tropical flowers.

Quilted Fabric Tote

Looking to make a personalized tote bag with the cozy feel of quilting in just one hour? This tutorial is exactly what you need. This guide has step-by-step instructions to help you make a beautiful quilted tote, even if you have never quilted before or are just looking for a quick and fun project.

A gray and white quilted tote bag with pink heart handles.

Eco-Friendly Produce Bag

This tutorial from Smashed Peas and Carrots offers a step-by-step guide to creating lightweight, reusable produce bags. Perfect for fruits and vegetables, these mesh bags are an excellent alternative to single-use plastic, helping reduce waste with every trip to the grocery store.

Orange and green reusable produce bags filled with apples and kiwis.

Reusable Snack Bags

Rather than using single-use plastic, this fun guide shows you how to make your own colorful, washable, and reusable snack bags. These bags are a must-have for anyone who wants to live an eco-friendly life. They are great for carrying lunches, maintaining snacks, or even organizing small items. 

Multicolored reusable snack bags with goldfish crackers inside.

Crocheted Bags and Totes

Make your own reusable grocery bags out of yarn. It is a fun and creative project. 

String Shopping Bag

This fun guide shows crocheters of all levels how to make a light, expandable shopping bag that is great for trips to the market or the beach. With simple crochet skills, you can make a bag that will last and be used again and again. It is not only a useful accessory, but it will also show that you are committed to using less plastic. 

A cream colored string shopping bag filled with apples.

Farmers Market Bag

This fun tutorial will show you how to crochet a stylish and durable bag that is great for carrying things from the farmer’s market or your everyday things. With simple steps and the charm of being hand-made, this farmers market bag not only supports eco-friendly practices but also gives your shopping a little more personality.

A tan-beige string farmers market bag.

Net Produce Bag

The net design of this crocheted produce bag is useful for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh and easy to see. It can also be stretched to fit different items, making it a useful addition to your shopping routine. This pattern is easy for crocheters of all skill levels to follow and includes helpful tips for making a bag that is both light and long-lasting.

A yellow yarn produce bag holding lemons.

Unconventional Upcycled Materials

Get ready to think outside the box with these tutorials on reusing old things in creative ways! These projects will get you thinking creatively and help you see something useful in things you might not think of at first.

Upcycled T-Shirt Bag

This creative guide gives you two ways to turn any t-shirt into a stylish and useful bag, so you can use it even if you do not know how to sew. This tutorial will show you how to recycle old or outgrown t-shirts in a stylish way, whether you want to sew them for a more professional look or use the no-sew method for a quick project.

A red a white striped t-shirt bag with groceries inside.

Denim Jean Everyday Bag

Following this creative guide will help you turn old or worn-out jeans into a stylish and long-lasting tote bag. Not only does this project reuse fabric, but it also teaches you easy but useful ways to work with denim. It is great for both new and experienced crafters. The result is a one-of-a-kind tote that is great for running errands every day and gives a stylish nod to sustainability. And it has pockets! 

An everyday bag made from old jeans.

Grocery Tote from Plarn

This creative guide shows you how to turn old plastic shopping bags into “plarn,” or plastic yarn, which you can then use to crochet a stylish, durable tote bag. This project gives old plastic bags a new life and makes you a stylish, eco-friendly bag that you can use every day. It is great for both new and experienced crocheters.

A small bag made from plastic yarn. The body is made from yellow plastic bags and it has a white plarn flower.

Tip: Consider using upcycled materials for your bags. Old clothes, curtains, or bed linens can be transformed into beautiful and eco-friendly bags, giving a second life to items that might otherwise end up in a landfill.

Juice Pouch Grocery Bags

Make a colorful, waterproof grocery bag out of empty juice pouches with these creative step-by-step instructions. This project is not only a great way to cut down on waste and support sustainability, but it also makes a cool accessory that is both useful and stylish. 

A large grocery bag made from Capri Sun juice pouches.

Feed Sack Tote Bag

Check out this creative tutorial on how to turn an old feed sack into a stylish and strong tote bag. You can use it for everyday things, going to the farmers’ market, or carrying groceries. This tutorial has clear, easy-to-follow steps that make it perfect for DIY fans of all skill levels who want to add a touch of country chic to their collection of accessories.

Three feed sack totes made from chicken and chick feed bags.

A Large Pillowcase Shoulder Bag

This easy-to-follow guide shows you how to make a big, reusable shopping bag from old pillowcases. It is perfect for people who want to help the environment without giving up style or functionality. The tutorial makes it easy for beginners to follow along by clearly breaking down each step. This way, you can make a tote that is both useful for all your shopping needs and a symbol of environmentally friendly living. 

A red pillowcase shoulder bag with white floral pattern hung up on a door.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Reusable Grocery Bags

Not at all! A lot of the tutorials are great for people who are just starting out because they have clear, step-by-step instructions that enable everyone to succeed.

Cotton, canvas, and burlap are popular choices due to their durability and washability. However, feel free to experiment with upcycled materials, such as bed sheets, for an eco-friendlier option.

Most homemade bags can be easily washed in the washing machine. It’s recommended to air dry them to maintain their shape and integrity.

Yes, many designs focus on strong seams and durable materials to ensure they can handle the weight of groceries and other heavy items.

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A Pinterest-friendly graphic for my post on making your own reusable grocery bags and totes.

Crafting your own reusable bags is not just a fun DIY project; it’s a step towards living more sustainably. With a variety of designs and materials, you can easily create durable, stylish, and eco-friendly bags that suit your every need. Start with one of our tutorials today and make a difference, one bag at a time.

Which tutorial are you excited to try first? Share your thoughts and any unique ideas you have for customizing your reusable bags in the comments below!

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  1. ladyofthegreenearth says:

    Great post! I use a shopping bag made from a large cat food bag. I had to black out the UPC code though, because it kept ringing up as a sale!

  2. You always do interesting posts. Love this.