Using Dowels In Recycling Projects

Dowels are a very versatile woodworking supply. They can be used for many purposes. Sometimes they are quite central to a project, and at other times, their purposes in a project are rather simplistic. How impressive to use a dowel in its simplest form for a project which is as important as it, too, is simple! Use dowel with recycled clothing to create storage and carrying bags for other recyclable items and projects.

Start with an old, unwanted T-shirt. Although working with shirts that do not have holes is most time-effective, those with them may still be used. Certainly, they will require patching in order to properly contain the items placed in the bag. However, think of using cloth that requires patching, instead of discarding it, as recycling in its truest sense.

Depending on the desired size of the storage or carrying bag, you may choose to cut the T-shirt at the seam of the collar and down either sleeve, or to cut straight across the shirt starting at the underside of each sleeve. This will become the top of the bag.

If you choose to cut the shirt at the seam of the collar, you will need to either remove the sleeves and stitch the cloth together at the site, or leave the sleeves in place, but fold them inward and stitch the cloth. Obviously, cutting the shirt at the seam of the collar provides slightly more space for the bag, while cutting the shirt just below the seam of the arms will provide slightly less space.

For efficiency’s sake, stitch the bottom of the shirt together while stitching the area of the sleeves.

Next, using a wood dowel sized to preference in both length and diameter, sufficiently able to withstand the weight of the items that will be stored or carried, and based on the overall size of the shirt used, wrap the top portion of the bag on either side around the dowel to determine how much cloth will be needed to encircle it. Lightly mark the material at this point, and then stitch it widthwise. Be certain to consider enough grip so that the dowels stay relatively stationary, making carrying items much easier, but also enough release to allow for easy replacement of the dowels should they require it. Then, insert the dowel sections through on either side.

Use the bag to store books, magazines, or knitting supplies. (Go one step farther in your efforts and craft your own knitting needles using a hardwood dowel!) If curbside pickup is unavailable in your area, use the bag to cart your recycling to the nearest recycling center. Make separate storage bags for recyclable items made of aluminum, steel, and paper. By allowing for the removal of the dowel as described above, the bags can be washed should they become soiled or wet and then used again and again. Or, use the bag to store plastic department store bags and for carrying them to return to the store during your next visit there.