Give those plastic grocery bags a new life!

Plastic bags pile up fast! Just one trip to the grocery store can end up with a dozen (or two dozen, or even more) bags. We all know how terrible plastic can be for the environment, so what can we do with excess bags besides recycle them? Here are some ideas for clever plastic bag uses, and for ways to upcycle them into something new and crafty!

1. Weave a basket

Why not trade in the dozens of plastic bags you won’t use again for a signaled basket that you can carry your stuff in? Weaving a basket from plastic bags is fairly simple, albeit repetitive. Get ready for a couple days of braiding and check out how to make your own here!

2. Make a rug

If you can weave, knit or crochet it with yarn, you can do it with plastic bags! This is a great activity if you have many bags of different colors, enabling you to create unique designs and patterns. With some braiding and ironing–be sure to do this outside to avoid inhaling toxins–you can have a snazzy upcycled rug or bath mat. Find out how here.

3. Stuff it up

Plastic bags are great stuffing material. Use it in plush toys, a leaking pillow or cushion and more. Whatever you stuff will still be comfy to cuddle, and it’ll cost you nothing while getting rid of some plastic lying around.

4. Pack it up

Few things are as annoying to deal with as packing peanuts. Skip the frustration of cleaning up after sealing a package by using a bunch of plastic bags instead. Wrap up your items and sit them in a bed of plastic, and they’ll remain safe on their journeys.

5. Fast wrapping paper

When wrapping paper isn’t available, we’re left to our own devices and use what’s in the house. Wrapping up in newspaper is cute, but why not try plastic bags instead for a quick, durable wrapping job complete with a plume? Bag your gift three times, then tie up the handles. Do some creative cutting to make a plume out of the handles, and you’re good to go! This looks best with colored bags.

6. Build a bouquet

Make a beautiful bouquet that will never die on you! A bundle of plastic carnations looks cute and is a great craft for nature-loving kids. Help the earth by upcycling those plastic bags into flowers! Find out how here.

7. Make water balloons

Kids are ingenious, seemingly able to play with anything. So here’s an idea: fill plastic bags with water and tie them up tightly, and you’ve got water balloons on a budget! There’s no reason to buy a set of balloons when you’ve got a million bags already, and children allergic to latex can partake in the fun!

8. Make a wallet

Like other stuff on this list, why spend money on something expensive that you can make with plastic bags? Wallets can be pricey, but a unique, custom upcycled wallet made from plastic bags costs only a little time and effort. Check out the tutorial here.

9. Decorate the wall

You know those fringed party streamers people hang on the wall for parties? Colored plastic bags can be transformed into them with a few quick cuts! Just cut off the handles, then cut into strips from the mouth to the bottom fold of the bag. String ’em up!

10. Keep dry

Wrap plastic bags around your shoes when out in the rain, or use one as a shower cap when you don’t have an umbrella. To ensure you’ve got a backup whenever it rains, have some bags stashed in the glove compartment. You never know when you’ll need them!