5 Minute Tank Top Tote

5 Minute Tank Top Tote

This recycled project shows you how to upcycle an old tank top into a environmentally friendly shopping tote in just 5 minutes.

What you need

Tank Top
Sewing Machine
Optional items for embellishing


For this project we used a plain tank top that has the most basic embellishment on it: Fabric painted dots.

Your embellishment ideas will only be limited by your creative abilities. You can add ribbons, iron on transfers or use marker pens to write environmental slogans onto the tank top tote such as. “Go Green”,Β  “This is not plastic” etc.

To create your 5 minute tote you will need a sewing machine or serger overlocker to close up the bottom of the tank top.Β  Sew across the bottom a few times to make it extra strong for vegetables or fruit.

You can sew directly across the bottom as shown or turn the tank top sideways with the arm holes on top of each other and then sew (this placed the handles directly in the middle of the tote).

This project is so quick to make it is perfect as a school or groupΒ  craft project, the children can take turns at sewing the bottom closed or have an adult standing by. The activity duration can be lengthened by allowing the group to decorate and embellish their finished totes.


  1. I had to do an upcycling projectfor school and my teacher loved it! She thought it was very creative.

  2. craft_girl says

    Great idea, got lots of compliments on it!

  3. simple idea awesome outcome!! SWEET!!

  4. This is so cool just sold em for 5 bucks each made 100 dollars.THIS IS THE BEST IDEA EVER.Thanks!!!!!!

  5. This project is so cool! I have a gazillion shirts in a basket in my room that I don’t wear anymore. Why give them to Goodwill when my soon-to-be-beach tote is sitting in right there? I LOVE this website!

  6. i had a tee shirt i wanted to make into a bag. i cut the sleeves off to make it a “tank” and sewed up the edge, not hemmed (so it wouldnt unravel all the way) to give it a torn look, and cut down the neck line on both sides to add to the torn look. i used an non-stretchy fabric so the tee wouldnt stretch. this was a great idea. i sold at a school event (they were school mascot/emblem tees) for 10$ each and i made 110 dollars total. each tee was 5 dollars to buy to begin with. i made great profits…..now i can buy more shirts!!!!!!! i love this idea. so simple and great. i would give this 10 stars if i could!!!!

  7. hannahkstnr013 says

    I <3 this project! So easy,fast and simple!!! πŸ˜€

  8. lncraftgirl says

    Very cute!
    Love the idea, very useful.
    Go Green!

  9. hello brilliant thanks

  10. sounds coool is there any way I can print this?

  11. what an awsome idea

  12. The only problem is that it would start to stretch and distort horribly if you didn’t add a non-stretchy lining to the inside. :/

  13. oh my gosh gr8 idea! i wanna try making one!!! this is awesome! Its easy basic and cheap..all in my category! πŸ˜›

  14. Sock Monkey says

    wow thanks! thts a great idea!! now i can get some money for bringing in my own shopping mag YAY!

  15. This is a really Cool idea. I was just looking for something to do for a school project thats really simple, but i think this is the best idea that i have seen!

  16. I am going to try this

  17. Such a cute idea with endless possibilities to dress it up!

  18. I love this project! I own a thrift shop and always keep a few sewing machines around for mending or upcycling. I just made this bag but I added a silk scarf for the lining an used some of the scarf’s scrap for ties to hold the bag closed. Great quick and easy project. Thanks!

  19. this is such a cool idea. sooooooo telling my friends

  20. This is so cute I made it for my project πŸ™‚


  22. WOW! so simple, but I already have some before I saw this. What about if the tank you choose is too flimsy? Are they alternative options so you can put a tad bit heavier objects in?

  23. i think this is such a cute idea! im so telling my friends:)

  24. This is such a great idea. I have a ton of tanks that are in a box to go out but now I’ll get the best out and make some totes. Thanks for this idea.

  25. I made two just a second ago! This is so easy and resorceful!

    Suggestion: You should put a gallery on the site so users can post their variations of the patterns!

  26. craftyangel5832 says

    Very cute idea….Love it!!!

  27. i love the idea that your dont have to go to a store and but some fabric!i tryed making this and it turned out so cute! i sold it at a craft sale for two dollars!

  28. Lil' Miss Craftyness says

    Hey, this is a cool idea! Thanks for sharing.

  29. grizzley103 says

    that is awsome

  30. I love this idea!! It is so much better than buying the fabric bags from the store.

  31. a simply perfect project for any age ,far nicer than any plastic supermarket bag !

  32. My mom made one of these out of one of my 4 y/o son’s favorite t-shirts he’d outgrown. Now he can use it to carry toys. He loves it!

  33. just the thing to do with the white tank I have that has irreversible yellow sweat stains on the sleeve openings. Will probably tie dye it.

What do you think of this project? Let us know!