DIY Produce Bags

1 Hour

In this tutorial, I am showing you how easy it is to make these simple DIY produce bags. You only need 2 very inexpensive items!

This post contains some affiliate links which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

I love trying to be more sustainable and I love sharing easy ways to do that. Because it’s harder to do when it’s not easy, right?

Buying groceries and produce in bulk skips unnecessary plastic. For most of that, I use simple cotton bags that I made from old dish towels.

But sometimes, we do need something to hold the lettuce or wet carrots. This is where these DIY produce bags come in! You’ll love that they are very inexpensive and they are easy and quick to make!

DIY Produce Bags

What you need:
Paint strainers:

You can get paint strainers in various sizes at your local hardware store or online. Typically, they come in a 2-pack. Depending on your needs, you can get them in a one gallon size and a five gallon size. At the time I am writing this post, these paint strainers are less than $6 for the two pack.


You can either buy a string or make your own. You may have some leftover yarn from another project that would be perfect for this. Or you can buy some in your local yarn store or online. You can then use the string as is, twist it, or crochet it.

Helpful tools:

A sewing machine is great here and I am assuming that you own one. Of course, you can sew these produce bags by hand as well!

Scissors for cutting, pins for pinning the produce bags in place before sewing, and one bigger safety pin.

How to make these produce bags:

First, we need to cut and get rid of the elastic at the top of the paint strainer:

To keep the paint strainer from unraveling, I used a zigzag stich where I had cut the elastic. If you have a serger, you can use that, too!

Next, fold over the edge of the paint strainer to create the “channel” for the draw string. I like to secure it with pins. Notice the space between the 2 green pins: this needs to stay open so we can insert the drawstring. Then sew all the way around (except for the opening).

At this point, I like to go over that same seam with a zigzag stich just to give it a bit more strength.

Now, put a safety pin through (the knot of) your drawstring and insert it in a push-pull fashion all the way through that “channel”.

Remove the safety pin and tie the ends of your drawstring together so that you have a bit more string than the width of your produce bag.

Ta-da: here’s your DIY produce bag that you can now bring with you for all your sustainable, plastic-free produce shopping.

Since paint strainers are made from a fine mesh nylon that are perfect for lettuce, tomatoes, and any produce that is wet, has soil on them, or could get mushy. You can easily rinse and dry them!

Also, these DIY produce bags make perfect gifts!

Let me know your favorite ways to cut down on plastics!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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4 of 11 comments
  • Pam
    on Apr 15, 2021

    I use laundry mesh bags. most have zippers or drawstings already and i get them at the dollar store

    • Anja
      on Apr 15, 2021

      That sounds great, too! Thank you for sharing ~ Anja

  • Heather
    3 hours ago

    Great idea! These would also make good lingerie or socks bags.

    • Anja
      Just now

      Yes, that's a great idea! Thank you for sharing ~ Anja

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