DIY: Lunch Bags

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Buying lunch every day is about as expensive as saying “Drinks are one me!” The reality is that brown-bagging your lunch is a broke-ass basic – it’s pretty much lesson numero uno in saving major dinero – but carrying yesterday’s leftovers in a plastic bag is about as unexciting as it gets. Plus, with the recent trend towards more sustainable living there are about a million adorable lunch bags on Etsy. However, like most things in life, there’s no need to shell out cash for what you can make yourself. Here are a few options for everyone.

sing it with me: never gonna give you up!

Paper bags – Even a plain brown paper bag can get upgraded – and you don’t necessarily need to be rockin’ bad-ass art skills either (but if you are, check out these rad examples for inspiration). It’s fairly easy to find awesome printable templates online (like here and here). Or hey, grab a sharpie and get designer on it. There’s also a tie-dye option.

Oilcloth – The next most popular option is usually oilcloth because it’s flexible, sewable, and also relatively water-resistant. And oil cloth is available in a wide array of colors and patterns – there’s even a black-board version. You’ll need some sewing skills for this, but it’s a pretty straightforward pattern of cutting out square shapes and sewing the sides together.

Fabric – If you’ve got some skills with a Singer, there are dozens of ways to sew up a quick lunch bag from fabric but some of my favorites include repurposing an old pair of jeans or pants, using striped canvas to create a notebook paper type lunch bag, recipe fabric lunch bags (made using photo fabric sheets or Bubble Jet Set 2000), ink jet transfers or embroidery on canvas, a hobo-style bag, a tote that attaches to your bike, and a tutorial that uses juice pouches instead of fabric. (Sewing folks – if you want more ideas, let me know!)

Yarn – If you’re a knitter, there’s a faux-brown bag version with a clasp here. If you’re into crochet, there are a few patterns you can follow here.

If you learn more towards lunch boxes, you’re in luck – for example, this picnic lunch box is inspired and pretty much only requires spray glue, and there’s a duct tape tutorial for you classic DIY folks. Fishing tackle boxes can be converted to bento/snack boxes with just a simple wash and more inspiration can be found here, or here. Or here.

Note* Due to SOPA protests happening on 01.18.12, some of these pages might be dark. You can learn more about SOPA here, and help protest it here, here and here.

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.