How to Make a Recycled Soda Can Tab Shoulder Bag

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Soda cans are held shut until opened with pop-tops or stay-tabs. Pull-tabs were created in the 1930s and put into mass use in the 1950s as lids for carbonated beverage cans. Soda can tabs fill trash cans and recycling centers, but they can be recycled into many items, including a homemade hand bag. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings and purses are some other artistic creations you can make with soda can tabs. Tell the world that you’re stylish and responsible with a handmade, pop-top purse.

Things You'll Need

  • 7 oz. bag of #18 nylon thread
  • 800 soda can tabs
  • Size 3 crochet hook with size G aluminum handle
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Gather 800 unbent soda can tabs in good condition. While you may not use them all on this project, it’s better to have more than not enough.Save any unused tabs for future projects. Wash the tabs in warm soapy water until they are clean and completely free of residue. Dry soda can tabs on cotton towels.

  • Examine the soda can tabs for sharp edges. Bend edges flat or remove them with a pair of wire cutters. Note that each tab has a small hole on the top and a larger hole on the bottom.

  • Purchase a color of nylon thread that you want to use as the accent color for your purse. Consider spray painting your soda can tabs. Purchase a can of blue, purple, green, red or blue metallic paint, spray the tabs and let them dry.

  • Lay two soda can tabs on top of each other with the smaller holes pointed up. Run the end of the nylon thread through the both small holes and secure with a knot.

  • Insert a size 3 crochet hook attached to a size G handle through the top holes and make a loop. Make 2 single crochet stitches. Separate the two soda can tabs and lay them side by side; the thread will hold them together.

  • Lay two additional tabs on top of the first pair of joined tabs. Align the the smaller holes with the larger holes at the base of the first pair of tabs. Fold the tabs face to face. Run your crochet hook through the four aligned holes. Make 2 single crochet stitches.

  • Repeat this step 23 times until you have 25 pairs of soda can tabs crocheted together in a double row. Make 2 single crochet stitches followed by 2 chains in the bottom holes of the 25th pair of tabs at the end of the row.

  • Lay a single tab on top of the top left tab of the crocheted row. Make 2 single crochet stitches through the small holes on each tab. Pull the left tab down so it lies flat and next to the tab on its right. Repeat this step 24 times, adding one tab at a time until you have a third row of tabs. Crochet 2 chains in the bottom hole of the 25th tab in the third row.

  • Continue to add tabs to the left of existing ones, crocheting single stitches through the smaller holes on the top of each tab until you have crocheted 40 rows of 25 soda can tabs.

  • Fold the rows so that the first and last row are touching with their right sides facing each other. Make 2 single crochet stitches in the top holes to thread the tabs together. Repeat this process until you have crocheted the top five tabs together. Flip the purse right-side out. Continue crocheting the first and last rows together.

  • Knot the thread twice and cut off the excess to complete the body of your shoulder bag.

  • Create another row of 25 pairs of soda can tabs to make a shoulder strap for your bag. Make 2 single crochet stitches in the top holes of each pair to stitch them together. Tie two knots in the thread after crocheting the 25th pair together and cut off the excess.

  • Connect the strap to the bag by lining up the bottom holes of the first and last tabs in the row with the top holes of the first tabs on the left and right sides of the bag. Make sure the strap is right-side up. Pull your crochet hook through the tab holes and make 2 single crochet stitches. Create a double knot in the thread and cut off the excess. Repeat for the other side of the strap.

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