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June 3, 2013 at 12:36 PMComments: 0 Faves: 1

Tips On Making Your Home More Eco-Friendly: Grocery Bags

By Kristin McKinney More Blogs by This Author

There are lots of small ways that we can make our lives more eco-friendly, and many of them aren't as difficult as you may think. Doing little things here or there is a great way to get started in going green.

Recycled Plastic Bags Basket:

When I go grocery shopping, I try to use the cloth bags that I've bought in the past that way, I don't have to use plastic. But I have a tendency to forget them and so I wind up having to use plastic bags for my groceries. In the past, I would just save them and use them as garbage bags for small trash cans, but then I stumbled upon this idea. This project came from aPlastic user on instructables.com. You can get her instructions here. This project is fairly similar to a braided rug. 

Supplies:

  • White thread
  • Sewing needle
  • Grocery bags

Instructions:

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the grocery bags. Then vertically cut down one side of the bag so that it's one long piece, then cut the bag, horizontally, into three to four strips. Once you have cut enough strips, approximately sixty bags, depending on how big you want it to be, you can start braiding.
  2. Each strip is going to be doubled over, and you're going to want to find something that you can put the loop ends onto. You could do something like a safety pin attached to something sturdy. Once you have found something, make sure you have three strips up, doubled over, and separated. Then, start braiding. Don't braid too tight or too loose. Keep adding strips as needed by knotting a new strip onto the end of the previous one.
  3. Once you have braided about 20-30 feet of bags, sew each end of the braid off and trim any extra bag. Now, starting from one end, begin coiling the braid tightly, skinny side up. Do this until you reach a base size that you like. Pick which side of this base you like the least (this will be the bottom), and double thread your needle. Make sure you have a decent size knot at the end.
  4. Start sewing from one side of the base to the other, and skip every other row. Once you reach the other side, anchor your thread and knot it a few times to make sure it's secure. You want to do this again starting from a different side of the base so that you have a cross shape. You might want to do it three times, depending on the size of your base. You want to make sure it's secure enough that the rows don't slide out.
  5. When that's finished, you can start building the sides. Make yourself another, very long, piece of doubled-over thread, and knot it several times. Grab the braid from wherever it ended on the base, and line it up to form the bottom row of your basket. Start by sewing into the base and then bringing the needle over the braid and then back down through the base again. Do this all the way around, sewing on a slight diagonal with an inch of space between each stitch. Once you have gotten all the way around, anchor the thread into the base. This will give you your first row. Keep doing this for each row as you continue to build the side of your basket.
  6. When you get to the end of your braid, tuck the end of the braid behind the top row and stitch it into place. Make sure to check the basket over and look for any weak spots that may need to be sewn a little more. Now you have your very own handmade recycled basket.

Recycled Paper Bags:

If you're a person who prefers paper bags, you can recycle these too package your mail. The next time you need to mail something like a book or a box that's been used already, instead of going and buying a roll of paper, just use paper grocery bags.

Start by disassembling the bag so it's flat, and then make sure you wrap the bag around your package so the print is on the inside.

gift

Paper bags can also be used as wrapping paper. After disassembling the bag so it lays out flat, cut off all the rough edges. Then you can pretty much decorate the bag however you want. You could cover it in stamps, or cut out shapes from construction paper and glue them on. You could draw some geometric patterns on them, or keep it simple, and tie twine into a bow around the gift. 

Paper Bag Sketch Journal:

paper bag
When I was little, I would cut a paper bag into a rectangle, and then crumple the bag up and flatten it out (this has to be done several times until the bag has a soft fabric like feel to it), then fold the rectangle in half. I would take recycled paper that my grandma got from work and cut them down so they were the same size as the bag, and then fold the papers in half. After doing that, I would lay the pages on top of the paper bag cover and, using a needle and thread, sew the pages onto the cover right down the middle. I would then decorate the paper bag, usually with crayons. When I was finished I had a cute little sketch journal that I had made myself. It's a great craft to do with your kids.

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