T-Shirt to Tote Bag – World Environment Day

Turn a t-shirt to a tote bag! Get creative and design, decorate, upcycle and create your tote bag! You could keep it or gift to a friend!


Turn a t-shirt into a homemade tote bag that you can gift to a friend or keep for yourself! Get creative, grab a old t-shirt or vest, some pens, a pair of scissors and anything else you want to use to decorate your bag!

World environment day

The first World Environment Day took place on June 5th in 1975. After this, it has taken place on the same day every year since. Governments, businesses and citizens discuss issues affecting the environment. The environment is in need of protection from damage done by burning fossil fuels, polluting the seas and other human actions. We can have an impact in many different ways including:

  • recycling,
  • saving water,
  • repairing clothes rather than buying new
  • flying less
  • campaigning for system change
  • eating less meat
  • upcycling
  • what other ways can you think of?

Plastic is extremely damaging to the environment with at least 8 million tons of it ending up in the ocean each year. The impact is detrimental to sea life, wildlife as well as contamination within water supplies.

What you will need:

  • An old T-shirt or vest top
  • Coloured pens (non-washable. Fabric pens if you have or permanent markers work too!)
  • Scissors

t-shirt, pens and scissors. All equipment needed for the activity


Firstly, it is easiest to start by putting your design on your t-shirt. Lay out the clothing flat on a hard surface. Now is the time to get your creative juices flowing and get your message on your fabric. You can make your design however colourful you like. You could decide to just draw pictures about why it’s important to protect our environment or write a message with words.

Once you have your design and message you are ready to start shaping your bag! Cut out the arms (if using a t-shirt) and cut round the neck line.

The arms and neck of the old shirt are cut out to make room to carry the bag

Cut the bottom of the shirt vertically (upward toward the neck of the shirt),  creating small lines about 4cm up. This will be how we attach the bag together to hold all your goodies!

the t-shirt is decorated and the bottom of the shirt is cut into little lines to create the knots The back of the shirt is decorated

Next, grab the two strips that are in line with each other to make it as secure as possible. With your pair of strips together, knot them with a standard knot. It’s best to make 2 or 3 knots to make sure that it is tight and sturdy.


Now you’re done and you have turned an old t-shirt into a funky, environmentally friendly tote bag. You can now use on your next trip to the supermarket or gift to your friend and your message will be spread to those who see your bag.

The completed tote bag

Take it further

Find out more about World Environment Day and how else you can get involved and raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet.

If you want to try other activities that are focused on learning more and raising awareness on the climate crisis check out our Climate and Ecological Emergency activities and resources page.


Climate & Ecological Emergency

This is one of our collection of activities that will help you to better understand the climate and ecological crisis and our part in it, as well as supporting you to raise your voice in calling for action to be taken against it.

Activities & Resources

It is great we are starting to have face to face activities again – make sure you and your group stay safe by following our latest guidelines on physical meetings.

This is a weekly challenge activity. Why not share a photo of what you achieve on social media using the hashtag #DreamBigAtHome?

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