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Create a Simple No-Sew Tote Bag Out of an Old T-Shirt and Strengthen Your Community

Editor’s Note: Babble is a part of The Walt Disney Company. 

From bedtime stories to favorite summer reads, there’s something incredibly magical about reading through the eyes of a child. It’s priceless to see little ones getting immersed in the plot, as their imagination runs wild.

And as they grow, so do their taste in stories. With all these outgrown books, why not show your kiddo the value of giving back to your community by having them donate to their local library?

To also teach them about upcycling, we’ve created DIY tote bags perfect for your family’s donation outing.

Kids picking out books from library
image source: babble

Transform old t-shirts into these environmentally-friendly No-Sew Tote Bags with just a few supplies! Then pack the totes with your child’s gently used books and head off to the library.

No-sew tote bag supplies
image source: babble

No-Sew Tote Bag

Supplies

  • Gently used t-shirt
  • Ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Extra t-shirt (optional)
  • Fabric paint (optional)
  • Sponge (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut the neck seam, making it wider to mimic the shape of a shopping bag.
  2. Cut off the sleeves and bottom seam. (Save the sleeves for optional braided details later.)
  3. Spread out your t-shirt and cut vertical strips 8 inches long along the entire bottom of your t-shirt — creating fringes. (Tip: Use masking tape to cut evenly.) 

    No-sew DIY tote bag
    image source: babble
  4. Tie each “pair” of fringe pieces together (the top and bottom layer of each). You can close the gaps by tying double knots between each set of knots. 

    DIY No-Sew Tote bag fringe tying
    image source: babble

You can further customize your t-shirt tote to your liking, with these optional designs:

  • Double the t-shirt layers before you create the fringe.
  • Add braided details at the handles with the sleeves you saved earlier: After you cut three strips and braid them, hot glue the ends closed, then add hot glue along the handle of the tote and fold both ends over, and finally glue braided pieces by wrapping them around the handle.
  • To decorate your bag with geometric shapes, cut a sponge into your desired shape and dab into fabric paint. Then stamp onto your shirt to your liking.
No-sew tote bag
image source: babble

Disney wants to hear from children 5-18 years old who are making a difference in their community. Share how kids in your life are helping to create a brighter tomorrow. Their project could win a $500 Disney Summer of Service grant. To apply, visit www.disney.com/beinspired through September 30.

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