How to Make Reusable Snack Bags (Tutorial)

Three reusable snack bags, each spilling out a different snack - pretzels, almonds, and crispy snap peas

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Snacks are a big deal in our house. With two little kids, any time an adventure or errand keeps us out of the house for more than 90 minutes or so, I need to pack a snack. Containers can be too bulky, and I hate the waste that comes from single-serve packets or using plastic bags. Reusable snack bags are the answer!

Three reusable snack bags lined up, each spilling out a different snack - pretzels, almonds, and crispy snap peas

They are a breeze to make! These go very, very quickly if you assembly line them. I made these three in about 30 minutes.

You may remember that we’ve talked about reusable snack bags on Wholefully before. In that version, we ironed a piece of vinyl to a cotton liner. But in the eight years since that tutorial was posted, we realized that there might be some food safety concerns with the vinyl coming into contact with food. So we’re updating it today with food-safe fabric—which also conveniently cuts out a few steps from the tutorial. And as a bonus, this liner is waterproof, which means you can even use these to pack snacks like fruits and vegetables. I just used mine the other day for bell pepper slices!

Sewing materials for reusable snack bags laid out on a cutting mat - rotary cutter, pin cushion, velcro, fabric, seam gauge, ruler

Materials for Making Reusable Snack Bags:

  • Outside cotton fabric—dig through your fabric stash! You just need enough to make two 6 1/2”x5″ rectangles
  • Waterproof food-safe fabric (I used this ProCare Waterproof Food Safe Fabric)
  • Velcro
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Seam gauge
  • Rotary cutter and mat (optional, but makes this project even quicker!)

How to Make Reusable Snack Bags:

Cut your fabric. Cut two pieces each of the outer fabric and the liner—I used 6 1/2″ x 5″ and thought that was a good snack size. But any size will work! Cut a strip of the Velcro/hook and loop fastener to 6 1/2″ (or whatever width your bag will be).

White fabric with a black strip of Velcro sewn on to it

2. Pin one half of the velcro strip 3/4″ from the top of one liner piece, and sew all around the edges of the fastener. You may be tempted to not pin, but that vinyl gets slippery. Trust me, even if you tend to freehand your sewing, you want to pin in this case.

Repeat with the other piece of lining fabric and the other half of the hook-and-loop fastener.

White fabric with a strip of Velcro sewn on to it, attached to a piece of apple-printed fabric

3. Pin one piece of the lining fabric to one piece of the outer fabric, right sides together (for the lining, the “right side” is the one with the fastener on it). Sew along the top, 1/4″ from the edge.

Repeat with the other lining and outside fabric piece. Open up both pieces and run your finger along the seams to press them open. You’d usually want to iron here, but the liner won’t hold up high heat, and I didn’t want to risk it. So finger pressing it was!

Pieces of fabric for reusable snack bags pinned together
Pieces of fabric for small bags sewn together

4. Put together both pieces, right sides together, matching up the seams and the Velcro. Starting at the bottom of the lining fabric, sew around the perimeter of the piece, leaving a 2″ space open at the bottom of the liner to turn the bag. Backstitch at each end of your sewing.

Small bag sewn together and turned right side out.

5. Turn the bag right-side-out through the opening in the bottom of the liner.

6. Close the opening at the bottom of the liner by folding in the edges to create a seam. You can either topstitch over this, or slipstitch it. Since nobody is going to be looking that closely at the inside of these bags (and if they are, they are probably just looking for more snacks!), I went ahead and topstitched these.

Three reusable snack bags lined up
Reusable snack bags, each spilling out a different snack - pretzels and crispy snap peas

7. Push the liner inside the bag, and you’re done! To make the bags lay flat, you may want to either finger press the top seams or briefly run over the bags with a very low iron. Like I said, heat isn’t great for the liner fabric, but I figured using a low iron on the outside of the bags for just a few seconds wouldn’t heat the liner up much, if at all.

Cleaning Your Snack Bags

Most of the time, you can just turn the bags inside out and wipe off any crumbs or juice. But if it gets really dirty, wash in cold water and hang up to dry. If you put these through the washer, I recommend putting them in a mesh laundry bag first, just so the Velcro doesn’t snag on the rest of your laundry.

Using Your Extra Liner Fabric

The smallest amount of the ProCare Waterproof Food Safe fabric you can get online is 1/2 yard, which will make you about a dozen snack bags at this size. If you don’t need a giant stash of reusable snack bags, a set of these would make a great gift or stocking stuffer!

Julie is the Managing Editor of Wholefully. She’s a voracious reader who enjoys gardening, quilting, and advocating for body positivity. She lives in the Twin Cities with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Leave a Reply

64 Responses
  1. Emily

    I just got the stuff to make my own after buying one, but havn’t gotten around to it yet. I have a question about your rotary cutter. What brand is it? Do you like it? What size mat do you have? I am looking to get one, but can’t decide what size.

  2. Kimberly

    I would love to make these! I don’t have a sewing machine or know the first thing about how to sew. I wish i did! They’re super cute and exactly what I should be making because I feel so guilty using the disposable baggies every time I pack my kids lunches.

  3. These are great..I can’t wait to make some for myself…and for my nieces…and for all my friends…I’m thinking cute Christmas gifts! Thanks for posting the instructions!

  4. THANK YOU for this tutorial! I missed it when it originally aired. We strive to be a paper and waste-free household (easier said than done) and I’ve been on the hunt for an easy how-to for cloth snack bags. I will try my hand at these this weekend.

    1. Cassie

      I’ve tried making a nylon liner, but the nylon was so slippery that it made it almost impossible to sew. I’d think, for not stick/wet things (like crackers or pretzels) you could just do a fabric liner.

  5. Pepsiw

    Loved the tutorial and it was easy. I was so excited to make the bag that I put the vinyl on the front side! I liked that even better and it was so easy to make. I will be making a lot of these for friends. Thanks for all the great pictures which truly helped. Can’t wait to see what else you come up with. Nice work.

    1. Cassie

      I’ve been using the same ones for four years without any issues in the vinyl. And they’ve gone through the wash a million times. 🙂

  6. laurie

    I tried making these as gifts for my children. Sewing the velcro, I kept snapping the thread and gumming up the shaft of the needle. Any suggestions?

    1. Cassie

      Are you using sticky velcro? If so, that could be the issue. Look for sew-on velcro at the fabric store (it’s cheaper, too, yay!).

  7. Gail Wilen

    What a great idea Cassie, I’m going to try it for the Grandmothers and GrandOthers charity group I volunteer for. We’re always looking for easy sewing projects and I especially like that it’s one more way to not use plastic bags! Cheers to you!

  8. Shannon

    Thank you for posting the pattern! I’ve made 2 already using the PUL as a lining and I love them! I can’t wait to get some more finished!

  9. Kelly

    Thanks so much for this I found your blog via the carry on bag on pinterest! this is so smart I need to do these as well just for everyday travels with the hubby. He is always wanting to know what snacks I have! Would be great for pet snacks too instead of zip lock bags that they chew through! Thanks again!

  10. French family in Indonesia

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I just found it via Pintarest. I will make some reusable bags for my kids. They are learning about recycling so it is perfect.

  11. ashley

    I just made two of these and I’m in love LOVE LOOOOVE with your pattern. you made it so easy to follow! Thank you a million times thank you. I searched all over to find something to help drop out of ziploc world now that my son is starting school.

  12. Purplecat

    Thank you for such great instructions. Just made my first one and showed it to my daughter-in-law. She loves it too. Got 10grand children and one more on the way so I guess I better get cutting and sewing!

  13. Sue

    I have a plastic / vinyl (I’m not sure what it is) table cloth that’s slightly fuzzy (so it won’t slide) tablecloth that I’m thinking about cutting up to use. It can be washed in the washing machine. Any suggestions?

    Vinyl inside or outside?

    It’s rather ugly (plain tan). How might I make it more attractive?

  14. These are really, really cute and so great to have instead of using plastic bags everyday. For those of us less crafty, there are food safe drawstring bags you can purchase in bulk online. Check us out at state line bag co.

  15. Love this! Quick question…rather than making a liner, can I just iron the vinyl onto the wrong side of the outside fabric and not have a separate liner?

  16. Joy

    Hi I made 6 this w/e. They are so cute. I used PUL for the liner. The first one sewed up beautifully but with each successive one I found my machine shortened the stitches and the tension seemed a bit tighter. I haven`t worked with PUL before. Is there a trick I should know?

    1. Julie @ Wholefully

      Not actually sure. But I’d think that for dry things (like crackers or pretzels), you could just do a fabric liner instead.

  17. Jessica

    Hi! As I was researching where best to get my iron-on vinyl for this project, I realized I couldn’t find any info about it being BPA-free. Since the point is to put food in these, do you know if there would be an issue with using iron-on vinyl that isn’t BPA-free, or do you know of an alternative that is BPA-free? Thanks so much!

    1. Cassie

      This is something I’ve been trying to find information on, too. This tutorial is nearly 10 years old, and I didn’t have quite as much information back then. If you find something, please let me know!

  18. Laraine

    This is just the pattern I was looking for but come to find out, the vinyl from the fabric store in NOT FOOD SAFE. It says on their package not to use if coming in contact with food. Do you have a source for food safe plastic lining?

  19. Missy

    Hey, I’ve tried making these with the PUL fabric and whenever I try to sew the shiny side the PUL fabric just doesn’t move when sewing and makes it difficult.. Anyone else have this problem? if so what can I do to stop it.

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