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How to Make a No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

The average American family takes home about 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. If you could stack them all up length-wise, they would be as tall as a 254-story skyscraper, which is 94 stories taller than the tallest building in the world! During Root for Earth, which takes place from April 1 to April 22 this year, we are educating children on the impact single-use plastics have on the environment and brainstorming alternatives to these plastics. Say no to plastic bags by making your own no-sew t-shirt tote bag at home and using it on your next shopping trip!


  • Old t-shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Black marker
  • Ruler


  1. Lay the t-shirt flat.
  2. Fold the shirt in half, making sure the sleeves line up.
  3. Cut off the sleeves, cutting along the inside of the seams. If you don’t have fabric scissors, you can cut the sleeves off individually using regular scissors.
  4. Lay the t-shirt flat again so that the front of the shirt is facing up.
  5. To cut out the neck of the shirt, place a plate on the top of the shirt so that half of it covers the neck. Using a marker, trace around the edge of the plate. Then cut along the line and remove the neck of the shirt.
  6. Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat again. Make sure the bottom edges are even and smooth.
  7. Using a ruler, measure 3.5” up from the bottom of the shirt on each side. Mark the measurement on each side with the marker.
  8. Measure horizontally along the bottom of the shirt, making a hash mark every half inch.
  9. Cut the bottom of the shirt, cutting along each half-inch hash mark up to the 3.5” hash mark. Do that all the way across the bottom of the shirt so that you’re left with 3.5”-long strips.
  10. Starting on the left side, tie each pair of strips together all the way across the bottom of the shirt.
  11. To close the gaps between the knots, starting again on the left side, tie the top strip to the bottom of the adjacent strip. Make sure to tie each knot tightly.
  12. Once the second row of knots is complete, tie a double knot on each end to reinforce them.
  13. Turn the shirt “inside in” so that the knots are inside the bag, and your bag is ready to use!


*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.