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DIY Wetbag From Those Useful Plastic Mattress Zipper Bags

upcycled zipper bag

Have you ever wondered what to do with those really neat plastic zipper bags you get with sheets and mattresses?  I have a whole stash of them because they are just too cool to throw away!

upcycled zipper bag

I decided I needed more wetbags for my reusable wipes that I carry around everywhere. These aren’t completely waterproof, but they work for things like wet wipes and toiletry items. I just love useful things!  The only issue is…. these aren’t the right size, and they are just clear.  I like things to be practical AND pretty!  This is also a great way to use up some scrap fabric too! The fabric I used has been in my scrap bag for YEARS just waiting to be used.

upcycled zipper bag

Okay, so this is what I did…..

Gather your supplies

  • Plastic bag
  • Scrap fabric fit to the size of your bag x2
  • Thread and Machine

Cut your plastic bag to the size you want.

upcycled zipper bag

Mine just happened to be the right width for what I wanted.  If your bag is too wide, this project will have to be tweaked a bit.  You’ll need to cut the zipper to the width you need.  Make sure you get the head of the zipper in with your cut, and you should just be able to snip the rest of the zipper off and sew the end and sides of plastic up.

Sew your fabric together

So, I made this bag where the pretty fabric shows from the front and the back, but is still on the outside of the plastic so it doesn’t ruin from whatever you put in the bag.

First you need to figure out how much fabric you need, I just set the bag on top of it and marked where to cut on the wrong sides of the fabric.  I then cut two pieces, for the front view and back.

upcycled zipper bag

Sew the pretty sides together, leaving the bottom open, then flip.

upcycled zipper bag

Set this aside for now

Sew your bag together

upcycled zipper bag

So, you cut your bag to the right size already.  Now you need to sew it up.  Flip the bag inside out, and sew the bottom and sides if needed.  I only needed to sew the bottom together since my width was already what I wanted.

Sew the fabric to your plastic.

upcycled zipper bag

This turned out a little more difficult then I expected.  It is do-able, though. You just need to manhandle that plastic!! Show it who is boss!

Don’t forget to turn everything right side out. Then just sew your plastic to your fabric.  I just put the finished ends of the fabric starting at the zipper end then sewed all the way around, following the seam that was already there.  Then snip off the excess fabric at the bottom!

upcycled zipper bag

Voilà!  (yes, I had to look up how to spell that word… Don’t judge me)

upcycled zipper bag

Hope you enjoy!! It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made… but I love making practical things pretty.  I also love up-cycling things into something I can use every day!!

upcycled zipper bag

Here’s a pretty Pin for your Pinterest!

zipper bag

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Start your disposable free home with our DIY Homemade Reusable Cloth Wipes

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Are you tired of spending money on disposable products?  Have you learned how many chemicals they can contain that aren’t so great for us or the environment? What about how much waste is put into our landfills that won’t degrade for another lifetime?trash, landfill, litter

So, let’s talk about cost.

The cheapest disposable wipes I can find, for the sake of this research, are about 1 cent each.  I wouldn’t personally recommend these, they are chalk full of chemicals and are poor quality, but, the cheapest option.  From birth to potty training (we are going to say three years old, which is sparing for some kids) I’ll estimate that you use two wipes per diaper change (ha! Any parent knows this is a VERY low estimate, perhaps not even realistic).  Say you only change 6 diapers a day (yeah, right).  At these very low estimates, we are looking at 12 wipes/day @ 360 days a year for three years.  Thats 12, 960 cents.  Divided by 100 to convert to dollars = $129.60.  That’s not a whole lot over the span of three years, I’ll admit. Keep in mind my low estimates and that you are using the cheapest/lowest quality wipes on the market.  Also, who uses wipes JUST for diaper changes?  I use them for EVERYTHING.  Plus, there were some diaper changes that I used at least 10 wipes (when I used disposable).  Plus, look at all those wipes you are throwing into the environment.  How many was that? Almost 13,000!! Yes, there are more eco-friendly wipes with less chemicals, but the cost goes up astronomically.

chemicals

I’m not going to talk about chemicals because I’m not qualified to say exactly what they put in wipes that are “toxic” or cause reactions.  I don’t like uneducated assumptions about certain things.  I have taken many, many chemistry classes and I can tell you now that chemistry has a bad rep.  I do know they have harsh chemicals, but this is not the reason we don’t use them. I don’t use them just for the fact they are a disposable product that puts more trash in our landfill. I’m just mentioning this aspect because it IS more leverage to switching to cloth!

My method to switching over to cloth wipes is possibly free for you, assuming you have a sewing machine and thread available (using materials you already have around the house)! It just takes a little time and practice!

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If you don’t want to make them, the cost of choosing wipes is pretty minimal.  The wipes I make are about 1.30/wipe.  If you use the same estimates I did earlier in the post, you’ll need 12/day.  If you do laundry every other day, you’ll need 24 wipes.  Remember, I’m using sparing numbers, but I have to say, cloth wipes are more durable and you don’t have to use as many per change.  So… 24 wipes.  That’s $31.20.  You’ll be using these SAME wipes over the next 3 years and BEYOND.  They don’t take any extra laundry either.  Just throw them in the wash with the cloths or towels.  I like that number way better than $130!  Plus, you aren’t throwing anything away!  Let’s not mention the cute prints and the versatility of these wipes either, that would just be way too much!!

So now that you have the main reasons, let’s look at how to make them!

Homemade wipes are a great, easy solution for getting started on your journey to less disposables!  If you are looking for an easy project to sew up in just a few minutes, then this is for you!  They literally take about 10 minutes, start to finish.  You can use them out of almost anything flannel or terry too!  I use these wipes for baby wipes, face wipes, and cleaning cloths.  They are really versatile and have endless possibilities.

So how do you get started?  Do you have any left over baby receiving blankets, flannel shirts or sheets, towels, or blankets?  Any of those make great upcycle materials for wipes.  Or if you don’t want to MAKE them, I make them and sell them in my store!  You can get all kinds of cute prints.

These are from cute receiving blankets I found at a thrift store for about a dollar for a set of three.

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Find your cute print, and cut 2 squares of about 7×7 fabric (but any size works, I have all different sizes). To make it easiest, I have a cardboard template that I cut around with my rotary cutter.

cloth wipes, sewing project

Put the pretty sides together and sew a straight stitch all the way around, leaving about an inch or so open.

Pull the right sides of the fabric out through that hole you left open.  You can iron everything down to make the edges pretty.

Sew around the edges and close the hole and you’re done!

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Here’s a pretty pin for Pinterest for you!

If you like this project, you would probably also love my farmhouse napkins and upcycled burp cloths!

 

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DIY Burp cloths from Receiving Blankets!

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As many of you know already, I am due with a baby any time now! We are exactly a month away from him making his grand arrival! I have recently picked up sewing baby items like wipes, burp cloths, clothes, etc.  It has been so much fun learning all the new techniques I didn’t know.  So I’m going to show you today how to make your own DIY burp cloths!

I love making old things into something new!  I made a set of burp cloths out of an old receiving blanket I picked up at the thrift store and left over flannel my MIL gave me.  They were a perfect match.  I will probably make a set of matching wipes to go with them. Flannel is the perfect absorbent material for this type of project, and it’s so easy to work with!

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This project is super easy!  All you need is two layers of flannel fabric from old materials. If you don’t have flannel, old towels and pillowcases would do the trick! There are all kinds of goodies already in your house if you look hard enough!

I didn’t use a pattern, I just cut out a shape from both fabrics.

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Put the pretty sides together, and sew! I just use a regular straight stitch for this.

Leave a little gap, and pull out the right sides of your fabric.

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I recommend you iron it to make everything pretty and even.  I didn’t, but for my purposes, I really didn’t need to.

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Sew on a top stitch and close the little hole you left open.  That’s it!

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The longest part of this is cutting everything out.

Go scour the thrift shops for something fun to upcycle! You would be surprised what you can find there. Little hidden treasures all over the place.

Have you also looked at my DIY farmhouse style napkins?  They are a really great project to start your journey in using less paper products!  And, like this project, they are SUPER easy!

Here’s a nice pin for your DIY pinterest board. 🙂

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Recycled Yogurt Container into a Planter!

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Disclosure:  There are a few affiliate links to products I used for this project.  If you click my link and purchase said product, I will receive a small commission for referring you.  The price will not go up for you, I will just receive a referral commission from the company.

Who goes through yogurt like crazy? Seriously, we love greek yogurt.  I get one of these large vanilla flavored containers, a large plain yogurt container, and several boxes of the fruit filled ones every two weeks! Thank GOODNESS we have a recycling company  here!  When we lived in Amarillo, there was little to no recycling that we knew of.  Here in the hill country they have them all over the place and it is super convenient.

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I came up with a cute way to upcycle these into a plant container! My mother and I are obsessed with our little succulent gardens, she basically breeds them.  Every time she comes to my house she brings me tons of baby succulents. I love them!  I killed them when we lived in the desert (ironic, right?) but now that we live somewhere humid, they are SO easy to take care of.  But this post is not about how to take care of them.  Maybe some other post we can talk about it.

So, all I did was poke some holes in the bottom of this guy and decorated him.  That’s it.  The hardest part was trying to figure out HOW to decorate him.  There really are so many options here.  Paint, marker, stencil, decoupage fabric or paper, vinyl, anything really.  No matter what your choice, just remember, it’s probably going to fade.  That’s just the pits of it. Unless you put a shade lover inside it, the sun will bleach whatever you do.  But hey, I’m not going to let that stop me from making it cute for the time being…

Originally, I was going to doodle all over it with a sharpie, but then I saw this magazine setting on the table.

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I had just read an interesting article out of it this morning.. The biologist in me LOVES scientific illustrations; I’m downright obsessed with them. They hang all over my house and my computer is filled with digital files. I saw this and had to read the article.  It was actually a quite interesting and educated read (something that surprised me given it’s our electrical coops magazine).  It interviewed our invertebrate experts from our local universities and they talked about how collecting seashells along the coast as a hobby is a great thing, and buying them in a store is actually not so eco-friendly if you want shells.  Companies who sell seashells usually don’t disclose where or how they got these shells.. So it could be a really unsustainable practice for our molluscs.  When you go collect it yourself from the shore you are making sure that the animal has already moved out and you aren’t killing any wildlife. So if you are in desperate need of seashells, and are capable of going to the seashore, do that instead of buying them! But these collections are for personal use only, not commercial.

ANYWAY… I loved the magazine spread .. And that’s where inspiration hit…

What you’ll need if you decide to decorate the way I did:

  • Adhesive Spray
  • Craft glue (the brand I linked here isn’t the brand I used, but it is the industry leader in craft glue and very reliable.)
  • Sponge or paint brush
  • Decorative fabric or paper
  • Something sharp like a nail or awl
  • Dirt and plants!

Take the packaging off… I guess if you wanted you could carefully cut if off and use it as a template to trace your fabric or paper.  It would probably turn out a whole lot prettier than mine. Ha!

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First you gotta poke holes in the bottom for drainage.  This isn’t super essential, but most plants need drainage. I just got an awl out of my sewing supplies, but anything sharp will do the trick.  I peeled my packaging off after I poked the holes… It doesn’t matter which step is first I guess..

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Then eyeball where your material is gonna go if you chose to go with paper or fabric like I did.

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Trim or tear off the extra material.  You’ll want to leave a tad extra just because it isn’t going to go on completely even. You can trim off any extra after everything is glued down.  upcycled planter, recycled yogurt container, diy planter, diy project, garden project, diy garden, succulent planter

Spray the back of your material with spray adhesive and stick ‘er on there.

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Keep in mind, this will bubble up given the shape of the container (unless you use the original packaging as a template).  I tried to make mine lay all flat and pretty at first… but then I realized I liked it better bubbly and torn looking… IDK, I don’t like perfection.

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I then tore off some extra pieces and stuck them on there too, I really wanted the names of the different species for reference (again, I guess this is the biologist in me)…

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Once you get everything glued on to your container, flatten it out the best you can.  Then get some craft glue and a sponge brush (a regular paint brush would work too) and put a few layers of glue on there. Let each layer of glue dry before you add another layer.

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You’re done! Now fill it with dirt and put whatever plants you want in it! For my succulents, I filled it with potting soil, put a layer of sand on top, then a layer of regular gravel. Then I just stole some babies off my other succulents. Yay!

Oh, and I had to add my little oyster shell for decoration.

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Here are some of my other upcycled planters. Courtesy of my mother for always going “oh hey, that would make a cute planter”.  She’s got it stuck in my head now, and we have just gone crazy with it!

I have this one made out of an incense burner that was part of a bath kit I literally kept for 8 years without opening… I finally threw the rest out and kept this little guy.

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Cute right? Well, there you have it, a cute planter “upcycled” out of something you would have thrown away!

Check out my upcycled burp cloths from receiving blankets or my farmhouse napkins if you want to see other ways to upcycle old things around the house!

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Farmhouse Style Napkin Tutorial

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Here at our house, we make messes…

I don’t know if that is the case with every house (surely we aren’t the only ones, right?). My husband is as bad as the kids! Am I the only one that doesn’t leave a billion crumbs when we eat dinner? Or have stains all over my shirt by the time we are done eating? Anyway…

I wanted to create a way to lessen our paper towel use. We have a disposable minded society; we love to throw things away. What happened to the days of people using actual cloth napkins and just washing them? Why in the past few decades have we gone to such a wasteful lifestyle? Once I started thinking of ways we could slowly change our impact on our environment, I started seeing “unpaper towels” and “unpaper napkins”, ect. Why call them “unpaper”? I just call them napkins and towels. That’s what they are (nothing against those of you who call them that!).

Anyway, I wanted to make some for myself. They are super easy, and if you have a sewing machine, you can do it too; you probably have everything you need lying around your house. No need to even buy fabric! The tutorial shows that I bought a pack of cheap washcloths at our local store, but for my original napkins, I just upcycled some old dishtowels and pretty cotton. The decorative cotton can be upcycled from all kinds of things you probably have lying around. I will be showing you examples of what I have upcycled!

 

What you will need:
Sewing machine
100% quilting cotton (this will be your decorative side)
Terry cloth (old dish cloth, towel, etc)
Matching thread (I used 100% cotton, but polyester will work too)
Scissors

Let’s get to it!
So, find your extra towels, dishtowels, napkins, anything terry cloth, really. Find the decorative cotton that you want to make them pretty. For my vintage style napkins, I had a whole set of quilting squares I had bought at a garage sale LONG ago and stock piled.

Yes, I have a fabric stock pile…. Don’t judge me… But they are the perfect size! If you want to make it super duper easy, you can buy them like this at walmart, hobby lobby, or Joanns (just remember, we are trying to upcycle things, but ultimately it is up to you).  You can find this type of fabric in your house by using old pillow cases, flat sheets, quilts, shirts (just make sure there is no stretch, this will make things more difficult for you), ect..

If you have precut quilting fabric like I did, all you have to do is lay one of your pretty squares on top of your terry cloth material. If you are upcycling from something else, just measure and cut out a 5×5 inch square of your cotton fabric and lay it on top of your terry fabric and cut around the edge of it to make a matching square.  This will be all the fabric for your first napkin!

Next, you have a few options.. What I did with my vintage style prints was just set the fabric pretty sides out (how you will want your napkin to look when it’s done) and sewed them together with a straight stitch.

BUT if you don’t like the frayed look like I do, you can put the wrong sides together and sew them, leaving a small gap unsewn.  Turn your fabric inside out through that hole you left, and do a top stitch all the way around, closing that gap.  Here I have a comparisons of what each of them look like.

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Warning, if you choose the unfinished, shabby look, they will fray.  But only for the first few washes, this stops after the extra terry cloth meets the seam line. I just cut the extra fabric off when they come out of the dryer and they look good again!

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The farm print was from fabric I had bought YEARS ago to make a heating wrap for my dad (he used to farm full time) and the solid red is from an old pillow case I didn’t have matching sheets for.

Ways you can mix it up: I recently bought a set of 18 colored dishcloths from our local H.E.B. for $4 and coordinated some with these farm print napkins.  Aren’t they adorable?  I have also made larger ones that are more “paper towel size”. You can also do a prettier stitch than just a straight stitch like the ones posted. Sewing machines have endless ways to personalize things!

So just play with it! There are so many things you can do when upcycling fabric!

I put these napkins in a decorative bowl on the table and we grab them when we need them.  They can even be reused for a few meals if they don’t get too dirty. We just leave our little napkin at our spot at the table and come back to it meal after meal.  When it’s dirty, I have a bag hanging in the kitchen next to the laundry room where I put the soiled napkins. When the bag gets full, I dump it in with the next load of laundry!

Super easy, and super cheap! Another small way we can change our impact on the environment.  One paper towel at a time!

If you love the thought of cloth, have you checked out our store? There are lots of ways to get started on your cloth journey! Check out our cloth wipe selection and pick out some prints to love, they make great face wipes, cleaning cloths, or baby wipes.  The versatility is endless!

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Here is a good pin for your DIY pinterest board!

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