Many of us are trying to live a more sustainable life, so we do our best to recycle and be “green.” People are carrying reusable bags everywhere, from the grocery store to the gym, as a conscience effort to keep plastic grocery bags out of the landfills. With anticipation of gathering harvest goodies at the farmers market, what better project than a recycled magazine tote?
- Colorful pages from a magazine
- Ruler or yardstick
- Roll of clear packing tape
- Sides: 10 strips x 8 strips
- Bottom: 8 strips x 8 strips
- Handles: 2 strips
Begin by tearing out several (like 400!) colorful pages from your old magazines. Place the long edge of the magazine page along a ruler or yardstick, and fold it over and over into a strip. Remove it from the ruler and flatten it down. There’s your first strip. Now make 399 more. This is a slightly time consuming project, but it’s worth it!
Choose the paper strips that you want for the side of your tote bag and place the colorful side down. The amount of strips you use determines how big your bag will be. Make sure all sides are equal.
Tape the end of the strips down so they stay put (you will use this tape later) and start weaving in the paper strips like you used to in grade school when making placemats. Make sure your strips are tightly woven together. Extend the strips of paper if you need to by folding the end of one strip into the other, then trim excess.
When you have woven all strips of paper for this panel of your bag, unstick it from the surface, and wrap the tape over the side. Continue by completely taping the entire surface, front and back, of this woven side. Continue until you have four sides and one bottom.
Once all sides are completely finished and covered in packing tape, connect them together with more packing tape. Add the bottom, taping on the outside and inside to seal all edges. Using this much tape ensures that your bag is waterproof and extremely durable.
Once you have assembled all sides and the bottom, add the handles to the top of the bag. Then, fold the sides in like a paper grocery bag. Push into the middle of each side. This takes some force considering that these sides are so thick, but once you get it folded, it will take the shape of a normal reusable grocery bag. Enjoy filling your new, recycled, “green” tote at the Rochester Farmers Market!
Melissa Eggler resides in Rochester and is a stay-at-home mom and artist. Her Facebook group entitled “Don’t Judge A Book” Recycled Creations has over 500 fans.