Recycled T-shirt bags are an environmentally-friendly craft

Planning the 2018 Bee & Butterfly Festival, we decided that it would be a good idea to have bags for people to carry around their crafts and other goodies. We could purchase bags, or we could decorate bags. Then naturalist Ashley Hansen brought up the idea of making bags out of old T-shirts.

We're grateful so many people brought in old T-shirts for us and for the hours that our dedicated volunteers spent prepping the T-shirts for the more than 900 people that attended this year's festival. The bags were a hit. Kids got to select what T-shirts they wanted to make their bags out of, and then they filled them with their other crafts and their monarch tag certificate!

completed t-shirt bag

If you missed the festival, or if you want to make another bag, the instructions are actually quite simple.

You'll need:
A T-shirt
Fabric scissors

Begin by cutting off the sleeves and the neck of the T-shirt.

cut t-shirt

Then cut the bottom into 4-inch slits, making sure to have an even number of slits on each side and to cut up the side of the T-shirt to make the end slits. You can cut both layers of the T-shirt at a time to ensure an even number of tassels.

Fold the T-shirt in half the other direction so that the arm holes match up, and match up the tassels at the bottom of the shirt.

side view of cut t-shirt

Tie the front and back tassel together and tie again to knot. Continue with each pair of tassels.

knotted tassels on T-shirt bag

And that is your bag!

If you don't like the tasseled look, you can flip the T-shirt inside out to tie and then flip it right-side out again so the tassels are on the inside. You can also overlap knots so that there are not the small holes in between the knots.

Recycled nature craft ideas

During the April Family Nature Night, we challenged families to get creative using items that we would often toss into the garbage or the recycling bin. Empty plastic water bottles, scrap metal, cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes, wine corks — these items look useless, but they can actually be turned into some pretty neat items. Read More »

Read More

Recycled bunny bookmark

Bindi, named after conservationist Steve Irwin’s daughter, Bindi Irwin, is the newest animal ambassador at the Dickinson County Nature Center as of August 2018. In honor of her arrival, today’s craft is bunny-themed! (Learn about cottontail rabbits) To make this adorable bunny bookmark, you’ll need: An envelope, a used one is fine Scissors Glue Googly Read More »

Read More

Five bee myths and truths

Myth: Bees are mean. Truth: Bee are nice. Honeybees only sting as a last resort, because they die after stinging. That means, unless they feel threatened or think you are going to hurt the hive, they will leave you alone. Myth: Bees will keep stinging you. Truth: As stated above, honeybees will die after stinging Read More »

Read More

Turning that unhappy plate into compost instead of garbage

“I have a happy plate!” Our nieces are always pleased to announce when they clean their dinner plates, usually because it means some kind of treat — food or not — for them afterward. As a kid, having a happy plate is good. How often do adults end up with a happy plate though? How Read More »

Read More

Monarch tagging — what now?

During the Bee & Butterfly Festival, almost 300 monarch butterflies were tagged through the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program. What happens now? The butterflies were released into the Kenue Park prairie and are now making their ways south to certain forests in Mexico where monarchs overwinter each year. In the spring, these monarchs will Read More »

Read More