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Recycle Animal Feed Bags into Shopping Totes

Updated: Jun 27

I love being able to convert things I already have into things that I need, especially items that would normally be thrown away. Today’s project is to recycle animal feed bags into shopping totes. Not only is there satisfaction in being self-reliant but I know it is better for the environment as well. This is a technique that we learned in 4H with the kids. I love being able to go to the store and pull out my dog/cat/chicken/rabbit/alpaca shopping bags. I actually think these bags are so cute that we have even used them as gift bags.

Recycle Animal Feed Bags into Shopping Totes

Recycled Feed Bag

Recycle Animal Feed Bag Shopping Tote Supplies:

  • Animal feed bag

  • Sewing Machine

  • Quilting triangle

  • Scissors

  • Rotary tool

  • Permanent Marker

  • Measuring tape

  • Tape

  • Various sewing supplies

Process to Sew a Shopping Tote from a Recycled Feed Bag:

Remove the bottom closure of the animal feed bag you are recycling into a cute shopping tote.

remove bottom closure

The first step in preparing your bag is to remove the stitching at the bottom.

Thoroughly clean your animal feed bag.

wash bags

After the bag is open on both ends, wash the outside. Next, turn it inside out and wash the inside as well. We usually wash the bags off outside. Especially if the grain had any molasses in it, as it will require a hose to get it all the way clean.

Trim the ends from your animal feed bags.

trim ends

After your bag is cleaned, you will want to trim off each end so you have a nice straight edge with no stitching marks.

Cut the handles for your recycled animal feed bags that will be made into shopping totes.

cut handles

Then, cut two 2.5 inch strips off the bag for your handles. Pay careful attention to the picture on your bag as this will determine if you cut the strips from the top or bottom of the bag. The top will only fold down one inch so the picture can be pretty close to the top.

Cut the opening of the handles.

cut handles open

For your handles, you will need to cut the strip open. I fold it and cut off 3 inches of the back (6 inches when it is not doubled.) Most bags are doubled up and glued at the back and this is the portion I cut off.

Be sure to test the tension of your sewing machine.

test tension

Use these scraps to set the tension on your sewing machine. Because it is plastic it tends to slide and each brand is a little different.

Measure and mark the placement of your shopping tote handles.

mark handle placement

Before sewing your bag, mark the top for handle placement. Be sure the picture is well centered in your bag. Measure in 5 inches from each corner and mark it. Repeat on the other side.

Fold and press the shopping tote handles.

fold and press handles

Fold the handles in half lengthwise and press them flat by using something with a hard edge. I like to use a quilting triangle but I have used the edge of the table before.

It is now time to sew the bags.

Stitch both sides of the handles to secure them.

stitch both sides of the handles

Sew down the length of the handles first go down the folded side, then stitch down the cut side leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Stitch the bottom closure of the animal feed bag to make the shopping tote.

Recycle feed bags to shopping totes – stitch the bottom closed

You will want to close up your bag by sewing the bottom together with a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

Pin the corners to sew.

pin corners

Now, it’s time to prepare your corners in order to have a flat bottom bag that stands up on its own. We do this by folding the corners with the bottom seam of the bag lined up with the center of the side of the bag. Pin each corner of each bag section.

Mark 3 inches on your sewing machine so you know where to sew.

mark 3 inch line on machine

Sew 3 inches in from the point. I like to place a strip of tape at the 3-inch point on my machine.

Keep the corner tip of the shopping bag on the line as you sew.

keep corner tip on line as you sew

This makes it easy to keep it straight as you just keep the point of the corner on the tape line.

Trim off the corner excess of your shopping tote.

trim off corner excess

Trim the excess off the corner.

If you are confused about this last step, make sure you watch the video for a detailed tutorial.

Sew your handles into place at the handle markings.

stitch on handles at mark

It’s time to sew on the handles. Center the handle on the mark you made earlier and stitch it 3/8 inch from the edge. Use the other side of your handle to attach to the same side of the bag being careful not to twist it. Repeat on the other side of the bag with the other handle.

Press the top edge of your recycled animal feed bag shopping tote.

press top edge

Using the quilting triangle press the top edge and the stitched handles over one inch all the way around.

Fold and sew the top edge of the shopping tote.

sew top, folding handles up as you go

Sew around the top 3/8 inch from the cut edge of the top. As you are stitching, when you get to the handles, fold them up toward the top of the bag.

Reinforce the handles of your feed bag shopping tote.

reinforce handles

After going around the entire top of the bag, reinforce the handles by stitching the top 1/4 inch from the bag top. I like to go over it about 3 times. (Forward, back, and forward again.)

Push out the corners of the shopping tote.

push out corners

The FINAL step is to turn the bag right-side out. Press the corners out well so it has a nice crisp shape.

Your cute shopping tote made from a recycled feed bag.

Recycled Feed Bag

That’s it, you have a super cute shopping tote to fill and you can feel good about keeping one more thing out of the landfill.

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