How to Make a Sling Water Bottle Bag

Create a fashionable one-of-a-kind sling water bottle bag out one of the reusable shopping bags gathering dust in your closet!

Are you starting the new year off with a mission to hydrate more too? Well, if you’ve got an hour, this post is here to help with a cute sling water bottle bag made out of a reusable shopping bag!

Sure you can find reusable water bottles with a carabiner to carry them around. But I find those awkward and much prefer to carry water in a water bottle sling when we visit our favourite antique stomping grounds (see if it’s Spring, it must be antiquing time).

Plastic and reusable water bottle with plastic lock cords in foreground

Materials for DIY water bottle bag

Funnily enough, there’s a weird paradox when it comes to the balance of stuff in our household. Even though we probably own over a dozen tape measures, it’s a sad fact that we can never find one when we need it. However, for every tape measure that disappears, we seem to gain another reusable shopping bag. Go figure.

The avalanche of non woven shopping bags that spill out when we open the hall door belies the fact that there’e only two people in our household. Two people can’t possible eat enough groceries to warrant the growing numbers.

Because our local organic store is actually using biodegradable plastic bags now, we take the lazy way out and use those. However, if they get phased out too, our collection of non-woven bags will be better put to use! Until then, here’s a useful idea if you’re overrun by those endlessly multiplying reusable grocery bags too!

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Sling Water Bottle Bag Supplies

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How Do you Make a Bottle Carrier?

How great is it to make a practically free bag to carry water bottles? There are five easy steps to making a sling water bottle bag, broken down as follows:

  1. Cut up a reusable grocery bag, leaving the handle intact
  2. Sew side seams and bottom
  3. Cut and stitch casing, adding a grommet
  4. Insert cord
  5. Add cord lock

Sling Water Bottle Bag

1. Cut Up Grocery Bag

If you’re using a black bag like us, and want to add an emblem on the front, be sure to hide any printing on the inside or use a piece without.

We’re using every single part of the bag we can. To start, use a stitch ripper to harvest the trim from the reusable grocery bag. Don’t cut off the handle; this will be the shoulder sling.

Measure the height of your reusable water bottle allowing for seam allowance and cut to length. I’m using the full width of the bag – handle and all.

I’m using upcycled cord from another bag, but use new cord if necessary!

Now cut two circles (to double up the bottom for strength). You’ll see on the video that I actually stitch the layers together before I cut around the circle.

Using a chalk pencil, trace around a circle. Also add on seam allowance (the cutting line) with a grid ruler. Cardboard from Duck tape happens to be perfect for this, or use a compass.

Using duck tape cardboard circle to trace bottom for sling water bottle bagIf you need to iron out wrinkles, be careful. Plastic melts easily so use a cloth and a low setting on your iron.

Using a cloth to iron reusable shopping bag for sling water bottle bag

2. Sew sling water bottle bag

Place any kind of patch, or sports team emblem, onto the front of the bag you like.

Emblem for front of sling water bottle bag

Of course, we printed our own Birdz of a Feather logo to personalize it (see how to print on canvas). Finish the raw edges with the trim saved from the bag.

Personalized Birdz of a Feather logo; our emblem for the front of the sling water bottle bag

Pin the emblem onto the centre of one half of the bag and then stitch around. Actually, if you want, you can create a water bottle sling with pocket just by leavinge an opening at the top!

Stiching on emblem at sewing machine

Fold the wrong sides of the bag together, emblem side out. Stitch a 1/4″ seam down the side.

Using more of the trim that was saved earlier, fold it around the raw edges of the bag and stitch it down using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Cut away the excess length of trim.

Using trim for the edge of sling water bottle bag

You’ll have a beautiful seam like this:

Finished edge of sling water bottle bag

Pin the double layer circle onto the bottom of the bag, wrong sides together, and stitch around the perimeter using 1/4″ seam allowance. Again, cover the edges with trim. Cut away the excess length.

Sewing the bottom of the sling water bottle bag

3. cut and stitch Casing

Now we’ll stitch a casing on the top of the bag to hold the drawstring closure.

Cut a piece 2″ wide; don’t worry about the length as that will be cut away at the sewing machine.

Cutting a piece for the casing

Fold one end of the casing about an inch or so to accommodate the grommet. Double fabric will be more durable to secure the grommet. Use your pointy scissors to make a starter hole in the centre of one end as shown.

Don’t be tempted to cut a hole or it will weaken the grommet; the goal is to stretch the fabric. Insert a pencil into the starter hole to stretch it wide enough to fit over the post of the grommet.

Poking hole in casing for grommet

Sandwich the hole between the two halves of the connecting grommets.

Inserting grommet into hole

Then use a grommet plier to squeeze the two pieces of metal together.

Attaching grommet with grommet plier

Fold in the ends under along the length. Finger press and pin.

Now stitch along both ends.

4. Insert Cord

Thread one end of the cord through the eye of a bodkin. Insert it into the grommet and thread it all the way around the casing and back out the other side.

5. Add Cord Lock

Squeeze the plastic cord lock to open it, thread the two ends of the cord through and release the lock. Notice that you can colour coordinate your cord lock to your emblem or go for black if that’s all you can find! Tie each end of the cord into the knot (if the ends are strayed, you can trim them or carefully pass a lighter over them to fuse and seal the edges together).

Your water holder bag is ready for a water bottle!

Empty water bottle holder bag on tableHowever, before you decide whether to use a reusable water bottle or a PET plastic one, consider this:

Are Water bottles Bad for the Environment?

Are Water Bottles Recyclable?

Water bottle holder beside plastic water bottles with question mark superimposed over the bottlesNot every community has a recycle program. For those that do in Canada, we have an ok recovery rate; about 79% for PET bottles (which water bottles are made of). As a matter of fact Canada sells much of our water bottle waste as ‘fibre’ to the U.S. to turn into cute rugs at stores like Walmart. For example, this textured area rug or this abstract rug or this beautiful bohemian style rug that looks like one of those high end over dyed rugs.

But Canada is just a fraction of the waste pie in North America. In 2017, only 29% of plastic bottles were recovered in the U.S. The rest ends up in landfill or, unfortunately, in our oceans (which we wrote about when we participated in the Crochet Coral Reef).

It’s a personal choice, but for us, we’ll stick with a reusable water bottle.

Use the shoulder strap to carry it when you’re on the go. You’ll notice that our bag is extra long to carry a large stainless steel water bottle. But it also doubles as a wine holder too!

Sling water bottle bag shown carried over shoulder of mannequin

Pin Sling Water Bottle Bag

If you want to make a sling water bottle bag, pin for later!

Creative Craft Hop

Now it’s time to check out the Easter DIY Riser from Terrie at Decorate & More with Tip. When you’re done, please remember to visit these other amazing talents below:

20 thoughts on “How to Make a Sling Water Bottle Bag

  1. I have reusable water bottles too and this is a great way to carry them. Thanks for the instructions, Sara!

  2. Wow Sara, this is not only great looking, it doesn’t look homemade! So professional and such a brilliant idea! I always have a Yeti cup with me, but it’s awkward to carry around, I need to switch to a bottle and make a sling bag! Great tutorial too, thank you!
    Jenna

    • Thanks Jenna! It’s practically free if you already have a reusable bag so there’s no excuse not to make one :).

  3. Wow, Sara! How cool is this! I need to make one of these! I gave my son a water bottle for Christmas! It is rather large and he could use a holder to carry it in! And it seems quite easy to make, too! Thanks!

    • Would love to see your version if you decide to make one for your son. If he has a favourite sports team, you could add that emblem to the front!

  4. Sara, this is such a clever tutorial and I love that you made it from a grocery bag–pinned! Thanks for hosting, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

    • Thanks Cecilia – it’s something we all own and can easily upcycle!

  5. This would be so good for my walks. You made it look so easy to make, thanks for the tutorial.

    • It is easy Terrie – I hope you try it. It’s a game changer for me. I tend to forget to drink, but now I don’t have an excuse 🙂

    • Yes, it definitely helps! You should give it a try Donna :).

  6. This would be a very handy water carrier for pets as well. I love the idea of making one with a dog paw on it. Perfect instructions and I appreciate how you went the extra bit to with the grommets etc to make it high end.

    • I love that idea Leanna! Brilliant! I should make some for my sister’s dogs lol!

  7. This is genius! I wish I had the bag issue you have. Whenever I look for one every other weekend, the one I used previously is magically missing lol. Pinned!

    • Too funny that you have just the opposite problem! It’s like our tape measures lol.

    • So glad to hear that you found the tutorial easy to follow Allyson; thanks so much 🙂

  8. So smart!!! And such a well thought out tutorial. I found you at the Fabulous Friday link party. So glad I did

    • That’s awesome Diane; I’m so glad you found us too! Thanks for stopping by :).

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