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How to turn a T-Shirt into a printed tote bag - Header Image How to turn a T-Shirt into a printed tote bag - Header Image

How to turn a T-Shirt into a printed tote bag

A few weeks ago, Manifest London used on printing services to provide 100 printed aprons and 150 printed pens for an Upcycle Revolution event which was sponsored by GumTree and hosted by famous TV presenter, designer, upcycler and entrepreneur – Max McMurdo.

The Upcycle event is a workshop in which Max showcases his skills to willing participants and shows them how they can breathe new life into well used and loved items. This gives them a new personality and a whole new story while you’re creating something useful, functional and, most of all, beautiful.

For this event, we provided our printing services by creating personalised aprons and pens, which our client was delighted with. To find out what we done, you can read the case study.

In this post, I’m going to talk about how you can do a bit of upcycling of your own and I’ll give directions on how you make make use out of an old, rarely worn printed T-Shirt and breathe new life into it by turning it into a durable, custom printed tote bag.

100 billion plastic bags are used annually and only 2% of those bags are actually recycled which is not only bad for the environment but it also means that litter is created across the streets of the UK. This has led for the government to introduce a new law which states that customers will now be charged 5p for every plastic bag that is given out in supermarkets.

By creating a reusable tote bag, you’re doing your own little bit in tackling the problem while also giving yourself a reusable method of carrying around your shopping, sports equipment, clothing and a whole other of other things. Not to mention the style plus’s of carrying a personalised tote bag over a branded supermarket carrier bag.

Using an old T-Shirt helps you to remove the cost of buying a new tote bag and also gives you a new use for your old T-Shirts, which you may have saved because you love the design that is printed on the front but the T-Shirt now servers no purpose other than sitting in your wardrobe and waiting for that day that it can finally make it’s grand comeback.

So, here’s a simple four-step guide on how to turn a printed T-Shirt into a durable, stylish printed tote bag. Let’s get started

Step 1:

Lay your old T-Shirt flat onto a work surface and, using a pair of sharp scissors, cut off both the sleeves. As you’re removing the sleeves, it doesn’t matter if you’re using a long or a short sleeve T-Shirt so any old T-Shirt is perfect for creating your new, stylish tote bag.

Step 2:

Once you’ve removed the sleeves, it’s time to remove the neck. You need to cut around the neck in a ‘scoop’ shape so you may wish to do this freehand or by getting a large bowl and drawing around it first to give yourself a guide to follow. This can provide an excellent guide of where you want to cut and it will also help to make the cut neater.

Step 3:

At the bottom of the T-Shirt, using a pair of scissors, cut slits through both layers of the T-Shirt. These slits should be roughly 1-inch apart but the distance of the slits can be changed depending on the size of the T-Shirt so you may wish to increase or decrease the distance – this is completely up to you. You need to cut upwards long enough to tie the slits together twice so bear this in mind while you’re making the cuts.

Its also important to bear in mind that your new tote bag will stretch with weight, so try it and make sure that all of the slits aren’t so big that your new tote will dangle on the floor when you have your shopping inside.

Step 4:

The next step is simply tying all of these slits together. Start from one end of the T-Shirt, tie all of the aligning slits together in double knots until you have done the entire row.

If you don’t want the knots to show, you can tie them together from the inside for a cleaner, more finished look. If you like the look of having fringes at the bottom, feel free to tie it all together on the outside.

If you want to, there is also the option of using the sleeves and the neck, which you removed earlier, and turning them into longer handles which can make the bag more comfortable to carry around with you.

But, there you have it. You have now successfully turned your old T-Shirt into an excellent, durable tote bag which is perfect for carrying around all of your accessories with you wherever you go.

And there it is! You old T-Shirt is now a beautiful, trendy tote bag. Thanks to the materials of the T-Shirt the bag will be durable and long-lasting so it’s perfect for carrying a number of different accessories around with you wherever you go.

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Don’t just take our word for it – we have the words of some clients we’ve supplied to in the past that you may have heard of!