With Earth Day just around the corner, we’re turning to artist and environmentalist Chris Jordan for inspiration. In this large-zoom photograph he has captured 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags, the number used in the US every hour. And did you know that 2.7 billion plastic bags are used every day worldwide? Floored by these staggering numbers we were motivated to do a quick and easy DIY, recycling an old t-shirt into a reusable fringed market bag. We hope that it will also inspire you to use less plastic and paper!


You’ll need:
– an old t-shirt (the larger the shirt, the larger the bag)
– a pair of scissors
– a safety pin

Lay the t-shirt on a flat surface. Start by cutting off the sleeves, using the seams as a guide. And using a round plate as a guide, cut out a half circle into the neck of the t-shirt. To create the ties that will cinch the bottom of the bag, cut 2 one inch strips from each of the sleeve scraps. Cut each circular strip open and pull at the ends to stretch them out, creating 4 strings total. (Click images to enlarge)

Snip 8 evenly spaced slits along the bottom hem of the t-shirt. We cut 3 in the front, 3 in the back, and one each side.

Attach a safety pin to the end of one of the strings. Starting at the left side of the shirt, thread the string through two sections so that both ends come out from the left hem of the shirt. Do the same to the right side of the shirt with the 2nd string. Starting at the middle slit, thread the 3rd string through the section closest to the left side, under and over the 1st string and through the opposing section. Repeat on the other side with the 4th string. Pull each section tightly, tying the strings into double knots.

You can trim the strings but we like leaving the fringe as is. And . . . your new recycled market bag is finished!

Aren’t you excited to BYOB (bring your own bag)?

Make one for a friend. It’ll make their day. Happy Earth Day!

(top image from here, rest of images by Honestly…WTF; thanks to Leethal &  Lynn for the inspiration!)