How to Embellish a Straw Bag With Recycled Plastic Bags
While perusing the aisles of a local thrift store a few months ago, I came across an old straw bag that had raffia flowers all over it. It was bright and colorful and was probably purchased during a tropical vacation someone took many years ago.
I looked at that cute retro bag and thought that I could do something like that, maybe not as intricately and finely done, but definitely something like it. I had been stashing away brightly colored plastic bags that were just screaming out for a craft project, and the idea for this tote bag leapt into my mind. So with plastic bags, a cheap straw tote bag and some basic supplies in hand, I went to work.
The result is this fun and colorful straw tote bag. It only took about two hours to make and that was with all of the pictures I took. If you have a straw bag just begging to be spruced up, try this craft. You get a darling bag and, by recycling, you do a little bit of good for the environment. Here's how to make your very own bag.
Supplies You'll Need
- Plastic bags in various colors - I suggest using the ones that are thin and almost feel like tissue paper. The thicker bags are harder to sew with.
- Straw bag
- A needle with a very large eye (I like to use a large upholstery needle)
Step 1: Cut Out Plastic Strips
- When cutting strips of plastic, I like to cut the bag along the seam and flatten it out. Then I cut strips, approximately 1" wide on the diagonal. I get a longer piece to sew with this way.
- The strips don't need to be perfectly straight or exactly 1". When sewn, they wrinkle up and no one can see the cutting line.
Step 2: Thread the Needle
- To thread the needle, tie a knot at one end of the strip of plastic. Gently coax the other end through the eye of the needle. It's easier if you fold the strip in half, lengthwise. If it is still hard to thread the needle, try rolling the plastic in between your fingers to make it smaller. Once threaded, gently pull the plastic through.
- Now you are ready to sew!
Step 3: Sew
Here's the fun part...sewing the design on! Decide what sort of flower or pattern you would like to add to the bag. You may want to sketch something out, or just freehand a design like I have shown here.
I decided to go with this simple fan pattern.
- Beginning from the inside of the bag, find the starting point of your design and bring the needle through a gap in the woven straw. Pull through until it's stopped by the knot. It may take a few moments to find a good opening. Try not to go through the straw because it could break or fray it.
- Decide where you want the pattern to go and insert the needle into the straw bag. Pull gently until tight.
- Continue sewing the pattern.
- When you are pleased with your design, finish the sewing by inserting the needle through the outside of the bag into the inside and tie off inside the bag.
Step 4: Finishing Off the Design
- To secure the sewn design, it needs to be done on the inside of the bag. Take your needle and feed it through some of the stitches. Then repeat, but this time, insert the point of the needle into the loop you just made.
- Pull tightly, but gently. This forms a secure knot.
- Trim off any excess.
Embellished Straw Bag Tutorial Video
I've made a video tutorial showing how to sew the design onto the bag. It gives more detail on each step.
That's all there is to it! I love the way the straw bag is transformed with this method. The design gives it a little bit of a fun retro look and really brightens the bag up.
It's perfect for your next trip to the store, beach, pool or just about anywhere else.
Do you try to recycle household items and use them in crafts?
© 2015 Claudia Mitchell