top of page

Upcycling for the Ocean: Friendship Bracelets from Plastic Bags

Looking for some fun friendship bracelets for you and your friends or just some for yourself? Try out these upcycled friendship bracelets made from plastic bags! These bags are a great way to reuse old plastic bags without letting them go into our oceans.

Why use plastic bags?

Unfortunately, plastic bags are still commonly used in stores; therefore, we probably all have a stash of them in our homes. Bringing a reusable bag can help solve the waste, but it doesn’t always seem to work. Starting out as fossil fuels, plastic bags end up in landfills, taking up more space. Oftentimes, these bags easily get mistaken for food and other appealing items for various creatures including birds, sea turtles, and fish. Thus, our oceans are directly affected by single-use plastic and the waste that it causes. To help decrease this waste, we can reduce our plastic, recycle it in proper settings, and reuse it. Today, we are going to focus on how to reuse!

Things you will need:

  • Three plastic bags (any colors you’d like)

  • Scissors

  • Beads and charms if desired(You could make them ocean themed!)

  • A bead with a wide hole (about ¼ of an inch)


Step 1: Flatten a plastic bag and cut 1.25-inch wide strips in a zig-zag pattern to make one long continuous streamer of a plastic bag. Leave 1.25 inches uncut on each side.

Step 2: At the top of the plastic bag streamers, tie the strands into a knot.

Step 3: Next, tightly braid the strands. If desired, braid in ocean-themed charms or beads. Cut off any excess plastic off of the streamers.

Step 4: In opposite directions, feed the braided sections through the bead to form a sliding knot. This way, you can adjust your bracelet to fit your wrist.

Author’s note:

While working at my first job, my friend and I realized how many plastic bags the store was throwing away. We wanted to do something with these bags because we knew the consequences of plastic waste. We began making anklets, friendship bracelets, and other fun crafts with these bags. We knew that it would not go too far, but we could help do our best. These projects allow us to use our creativity to help better the world.

How can you reuse your materials from home into something new?


10 facts about single-use plastic bags. 10 Facts About Single-use Plastic Bags. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2022, from

Stewart, D. (2022, July 17). Recycled plastic bag friendship bracelets > craftidly. Craftidly. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from

bottom of page