Fun T-Shirt Backpack


You’ve heard the phrase Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  In honor of Earth Day today, here is a great way to recycle your favorite Rock Bottom T-Shirt into a great backpack!  This craft will take a little extra time and skill, but the outcome is well worth it!

• Any Rock Bottom T-Shirt
• 1 Yard Fusible Tricot Interfacing
• 4 Yards Cording
• Rotary Cutter
• Mat
• Ruler
• Large Eyelet Kit


1. Lay your T-Shirt flat on your rotary cutting mat. Cut through both layers of the shirt. Place the ruler underneath the neckline of the shirt, and cut across the top of the shirt. Using scissors, cut down next to the sleeves, and cut off the sleeves.

2. Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut 2” off the bottom, measuring up from the bottom hem. This hem is going to become the casing for the top of your bag.

3. On the remaining shirt, cut to an 18” square if possible, (depending on the size of your shirt) or the largest square possible if you have a smaller shirt.

4. Iron fusible interfacing to the back of the two 18” squares. The interfacing stretches one way, and the shirt stretches one way. Place the interfacing so that the stretch is the opposite way from the stretch in the shirt.

5. Cut the 2” hem strips into two pieces 17” (0r 1” shorter than the width of your square). Trim the strips about 1/4” from the hem edge as shown.

6. Place the hem pieces right sides together with the t-shirt squares. The hem pieces need to be on the top edge. Pin away from the raw edge. Because you are going to sew the pieces, you need to be especially careful to remove the pins before you get to them. The hem strip should start and end 1/2” from the ends. This way it won’t be caught in the side seams.

7. Sew the hem strips to the top of each of the t-shirt pieces.

8. Sew the sides and bottom. Be careful not to catch the hem strips in the side seams.

9. Turn right side out, and insert the “Eyelets” following the package instructions in the two lower corners.

10. Cut the cord in half. Insert the end of one cord into one of the eyelets, and tie a knot. Thread one of the ends into the front hem/casing, and around through the other side into the back hem/casing. Bring it back down into the same hole as the first end and knot off. If you have trouble getting the ends through the hole, wrap tape around the end.

After you have completed the first side, do the same on the other side. Try on your back bag, and adjust the cord as needed, cutting off the excess.  Fill your bag, and you are ready to go!

For more fun t-shirt recycling options, check out our blog posts from last month on recycling your old t-shirts and how to make a throw pillow from old t-shirts.

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