Knitted Tote Made Of Plastic Grocery Bags

Knitted Tote Made Of Plastic Grocery Bags

This recycled craft project shows you how to knit with shopping bags that have been cut up and turned into recycled plastic yarn.

What you need

Size 10 (6 mm) Knitting needles
32 plastic bags
Spray oil (optional)


This knitted shopping bag tote is durable, washable and most important re-useable time and time again.

To create plastic bag yarn you will need to cut your recycled plastic bags into strips around 1-2 inch wide.

Do this by cutting off the base of the bag and the handles. Then start cutting the bag in a spiral to create one long length from the bag.

Keep doing this with 32 bags.

This bag is knit in one piece and then joined to create the bag.

Using 6 mm Needles cast on 37 stitches and working in garter stitch continue until your work measures 12 inch or 30 cm. (adding a little spray oil to your needles helps the plastic yarn slide).

Knitted Bag Closeup


To make the straps cast off 8 stitches and K to the end.

Next row cast off 8 stitches K 16, turn. Place the remaining 6 stitches on a spare needle.

Next row cast off 10 stitches K 6.

Continue on these 6 stitches until the strap measures 40cm or the desired length, leave these stitches on a spare needle .

Pick up the remaining 6 stitches and continue on these stitches until the second strap matches the first strap.

Cast on 8 stitches K6 turn,

K6 turn.

Cast on 8 stitches turn.

K all 38 stitches, continue in garter st until both sides of your bag are the same size.


Join the sides using strips of plastic left at the sides by lacing up the bag. Use a crochet hook to make it easier to push the plastic bag yarn through the sides.

All done!


  1. I am also stuck after knitting 2nd strap, not sure of next bit please help

  2. Valerie Simmonds says

    I have made about 25 of these bags up to now and i take them to the cancer research shop for them to sell.All of my friends give me their bags.

  3. Coreen Hart says

    Fun! I haven’t seen a plastic grocery bag pattern with such a good design; knitted instead of crocheted gives a much more finished appearance.. The two straps make it easy for the checker to fill my bag, so I don’t have to waste more plastic. The instructions make this look easy. And it doesn’t scream “This is my first project!” I definitely have to make this.Wish I knew where to get different colors of plastic grocery bags, though. We only have white and brown in my neighborhood. Thanks for a new project!

  4. I’ve been makingthese bags for yearsI really love doing this.I’ve gotten enough that I’d like to sell them.Please co0ntact me.

  5. I have been making these for awhile also but I have found that using old mens ties for the straps make them not so scratchy. I can also make small pockets with the ends of the ties so the fit cell phones. My friends use them for their swimming bags also or they’re great for the beach..

  6. DeeDee Bolander says

    My sister in law and I have been making these for several years now. We crochet them. We like the straps going the other way, easier to get into. Make great gifts with a couple of beach towels, funky sunglasses and lotion! Mix and match different colors. If I knew how to post pictures, I would send a few.

  7. When I make these, I loop the straps totally around the bags…i.e. down the side, across the bottom for extra support & up the other side and continue for the loops to go over your shoulder to carry easy. never have a problem with stretching after carrying heavy items

  8. Lucy depalma says

    I am confused after both straps are done. Please explain how I get 38 stitches back on the needle to knit the other side.

  9. This is a great pattern and idea. I can’t beleive how many people ask how wide the strips and straps are when the answer the questions right in the pattern. And the different colors are obviously different colored bags. Read people!

  10. tHe strips are one to two inches wide . Read the pattern it tells you…….

  11. this is a great idea, but with bags these days that are bi degradable in time the bag will brake down

  12. Great recycling project, I love it! I have made (crocheted) sleeping mats for Haiti after that terrible hurricane out of milk bags, but never thought about making a shopping bag/tote out of the plastic grocery bags… Brilliant! And I have tons of these bags I’ve been saving for years. (I do use reusable shopping bags, I just saved the plastic ones for years & years… Guess I was waiting for a great project!) (:

  13. Great project, maybe I can make these with my daughter´s knitting group at school, maybe raise a few euros for our charities. Great idea.
    Sam from Germany

  14. Susan Lea says

    I am having difficulty with cutting the strips to make 1 strand from 1 bag even with the sprial technique. I read ijdebusk comments but when I went to cut diagonally it cut all the strips off individually?
    Does it end up being double thickness plastic that you work with?

  15. The pattern clearly states one to two inches wide for cut strips at the beginning. Thank you for the memory jog. I needed this for a great kids project! Kudos to you my dear.

  16. hillbubba, you just hav to look thru all the posting here to see answers to questions. And make sure you check the box to notify you on new comments.

  17. where do you find the answers to comments/questions?

  18. Cut bottom and top (straps) from plastic bag.
    Cut strips across from one side to the other not making your cut completely thru the second side of the bag.
    I made my cut strips about one to one and a half inches wide.
    Hold second, solid side, of bag up and cut diagonal strips from one strip to next strip up making one complete strand of plastic bag to use for knit or crochet.
    May be quicker than making spiral cut.
    Give it a try.

  19. How wide do the STRIPS you cut need to be? Not how wide the straps are. I’ll increase my rating once this question is answered. Thanks!

  20. |Different stores have different color bags, and it states the straps are 6 stitches wide, so depending on how tight or loose you knit and the size of needle you use, that determines the width of the strap.

  21. ~~how does one ever get an answer to a question submitted?…do i have to rely on a kind soul or is there somewhere i go to find answers?…like many others i wonder how you get the diff. colours for the tote & how wide are the strips….could someone please help me?…thank you!

    • Elizabeth says

      the answer is in the very first paragraph..she cuts the strips 1-2 inches wide. You get the different colours by using different coloured bags to cut up.

  22. Like others that asked, how wide are the strips?

  23. Susan Lea says

    How wide are the strips made?

  24. Susan Lea says


  25. Great pattern! My grandma used to crochet throw rugs out of bread wrappers and plastic bags. They were beautiful and durable.

  26. Love it!! thanks!

  27. Great bag – thanks for sharing ~Karen

  28. Joann Spenard says

    I love this idea but how wide do I make the strips and how do I get the different colors?

  29. I love this idea. what a great way to recycle.

  30. tratol514 says

    Love, love, love it!

  31. a real money saver ,fab for the enviroment ,welldone for a brilant idea.

  32. i love it

  33. VERY CUTE!!

  34. Love this

  35. How do you get specific colours?…e.g. pink, grey & white?

  36. How wide are the strips cut?

  37. Fantastic & creative idea

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