Upcycle an old tshirt into an Earth Day tote bag!

With a name like Lily, I’ve always been a bit of a hippie at heart. My favorite childhood memories are the feeling of fresh earth beneath my toes, vibrant grass tickling my ankles, and intricate wild flowers waving in the breeze. Taking inspiration from my wild flower memories I created this design for Earth Day. This pretty little bloom uses the reduce, reuse, recycle arrows for petals and instead of a pollen filled center it wishes you a Happy Earth Day! But what’s the best feature of this design? You can use it too!

Click here and you can download the FREE cut file so you can start heat applying this encouraging Earth Day design! Not sure where you want to apply it first? Try this Earth Day inspired craft.

All the supplies needed to make an upcycled tshirt tote bag for Earth Day.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your upcycled Earth Day tote:

Take the old T-shirt you don’t mind being cut up and and flip it inside out. This is the side we’ll be applying our Earth Day flower to! Cut the sleeves and neckline off.

Earth Day Shirt/Bag

Perfect Handles! Next I measured my T-shirt from the neckline down 15 inches. Tote bags vary in size, but are typically between 15-20 long. Once I had my measurement I cut off the excess material on the bottom.

Don’t put your scissors down quite yet! Just a few more cuts to be done. Cut vertical slits at the bottom of the T-shirt about 1.5 inches wide and 3 inches tall. Don’t worry about getting them exactly the same. It should like something like this when you’re finished cutting.

Fringe Bottom

Before we close off the bottom for good, apply your Earth Day graphic! When we close the bottom it will bunch up the fabric a bit and we want to apply the heat transfer vinyl on the smoothest surface possible.

The Happy Earth Day design in Cricut Design Space.Reduce, Reuse, Recycle flower in Cricut Design Space.Open up your free cut file in whatever software you’ll be using. I used Cricut Design Space and the Cricut Explore Air to cut my HTV. Don’t forget to mirror the image before you cut!





I put my HTV on the cutting mat shiny side down and used the “iron on” setting on the dial.

Cricut Explore Air cutting Siser Glitter Grass Heat Transfer Vinyl.

I chose Siser Glitter in the color Grass and EasyWeed Electric colored Lime. Perfect colors for Earth Day!Weeding out excess material in Siser Glitter Grass.

Weed out all the unnecessary material. The great thing about Glitter and EasyWeed Electric is they both come on pressure sensitive carriers. This means the clear backing on them is sticky. If the insides of the letters come up while weeding just press them back down. They will still adhere to the garment when heated!

If you’re using a heat press, Glitter should be pressed at 320° for 10-15 seconds with firm pressure and EasyWeed Electric should be pressed at 305° for 15 seconds with medium pressure. However, I used a home iron for this project. I set my iron on the “wool” setting, covered the design with a heat transfer cover sheet and pressed firmly for 10 second intervals on each section of the design until I had heat applied the whole design.

You can peel the carrier off of EasyWeed Electric when it is warm. You should wait till glitter is completely cool before peeling the carrier though. If any material starts to lift up when removing the carrier, cover the design with the cover sheet and press that section again for a few seconds. That should do the trick.

Earth Day tshirt tote bag upcycling project

A fringe bottom adds a bohemian vibe to this upcycled T-shirt tote.

Now to close the bottom of the bag. There are a couple options. Option 1: Simply tie the front and back fringes together for a fun bohemian look. Option 2: Flip the bag inside out, and tie the fringes together there. This will give you a cleaner look. Or you can do my favorite! Option 3: Flip the bag inside out. Line up your front and back fringe. Then cut a small slit directly above the fringe. Pull the front and back fringe through that hole. The fringe essentially ties itself! This is the neatest way to close up the bag without sewing it. If you’re handy with a sewing machine feel free to close it up with needle and thread!

Earth Day Shirt/Bag

Step 1: Cut. Step 2: Pull fringe through front of whole. Step 3: Tighten

Upcycled Earth Day tote bag using tshirt and Siser EasyWeed Electric.

EasyWeed Electric Lime has a pearlescent sheen!

Upcycled T-shirt tote bag for Earth Day using Siser heat transfer vinyl

Glitter Grass is sparkly and vibrant!

I added bows on the handles made out of t-shirt scraps and now my double sided tote is good to go!

Show me how you used the Earth Day design by adding #SiserNA to your post.

Happy Earth Day!