Bag an old T-shirt

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When is a shirt more than a shirt? When it is also a bag.

When is a bag more than a bag? When it is also a game!

Turn an old t-shirt into a handy, reusable bag for a trip the farmers’ market, or, even better, a trip to the beach or the pool. Print the Climate Kids banner on the front and the Leaps and Flutters game on the back. Then, just bring along a die (one "dice") and find a couple of rocks or shells to use as game pieces.


For the iron-on transfer part of this activity, please ask a grown-up to help.

You will need:

  • A plain t-shirt, preferably white or a light color
  • Iron-on printer transfer paper (available in craft stores), 2 sheets
  • Transfer art for front and back graphics (click on links to the right==>)
  • Color printer
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Large safety pin

How to do transfers:

Drawings of front of t-shirt with Climate Kids banner transfer and back of t-shirt with Leaps & Flutters transfer.

Print the images for the front and back of the shirt onto the transfer paper, according to the instructions on the package.

Iron the transfer images onto the front and back of the shirt, according to the instructions on the package of transfer paper.

How to make bag:

Drawing of cuts to make in t-shirt.

Lay the shirt flat on a table, and cut the sleeves off the shirt. Make the cut extend a couple of inches below the bottom of the sleeve to make the handle "holes" large enough to put over your shoulder.

Cut out the neck of the shirt. You can make the cut round-ish, square-ish, or V-shaped. Just make it big enough to put stuff in, but not so big it will all fall out.

Drawing of strips of cloth cut from sleeve.

Cut three strips of cloth from the sleeves. Make them about ½ inch wide. Cutting all the way around the sleeve will give you about the right length.

Stretch the strips a bit to make them curl in.

Drawing show where to make cut on hem of t-shirt.

On the bottom hem of the shirt, cut three small slits (just big enough to slip in the safety pin), dividing the width into thirds (more or less).

Stick the safety pin through the end of one of the strips you made, and close the pin.

drawing shows how to insert strip through one slot and bring it out the next, with help of safety pin to guide it through.

Insert the pin, with strip, into one of the slits in the hem. Feeling for the pin, work the strip through the hem until you reach the next slit, then pull it out.

Remove the safety pin, and put it through the end of another strip. Repeat the process, pulling this strip through the next section of the hem.

Finally, pull a third strip through the remaining section.

Now, pull each string tight and tie its two ends together in a knot you can pull out (like a bow knot).

Tie all the strings together, if you wish.

Drawing of finished bag, with drawstrings cinched up at bottom.

Ta-da! Your recycled, reused, repurposed and multi-purposed bag/game is complete!

When you have arrived at the beach or the park, take your stuff out of the bag, undo the ties to flatten the game board, and play "Leaps and Flutters."

link image for downloading pdf of above activity