Turn your empty snack wrappers (cookies, candy, chips, etc) into recycled zipper bags with this zipper pouch tutorial. This is a fun and easy sewing project for kids to learn sewing. It's also a great way to reuse instead of throwing away!
So, start collecting some cookie, candy, or snack wrappers and recycle some fun wrappers into zipper pouches.
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WHAT YOU NEED for the recycled zipper pouch
- Empty Snack, Cookie or Candy Wrappers
- 9" - 12" zipper
- Iron-on Vinyl
- Wipes for cleaning the wrapper
- Matching Thread
- Sewing Machine
- Rotary cutter, ruler and mat (optional)
Snack wrapper zipper POUCH Instructions
Select your candy, cookie, or chips bag wrappers and get started with making these fun zipper pouches. These sew up so quickly!
Paper types of wrappers will not work for this project. Look for plastic or the cookie wrappers with silver inside. They need to be flexible so that you can work with them, and they will hold items after they are complete.
STEP 1: Cut out the wrapper
Each wrapper will be different so we cannot give sizes for cutting. Look at the photo above and notice that the zipper is in the front of the bag, not on the top.
To get this look, be sure to cut your back piece a little taller (about 1") than your front piece. Since the front is the focal point, cut the front so that the main part of the image is filling the front of the bag.
If you do not want the nutritional information on the back of the bag, use another wrapper front for the bag back. The same type of wrapper could be used for the bag front and back, or two different similarly sized wrappers.
I like using one whole wrapper and show the nutritional information on the back. See in the photo below, the wrappers are cut so that the backs are an inch or so taller than the front. This allows them to wrap around a little to the front, and the zipper will be in the front of the bag.
The process I usually use for cutting the wrappers is to cut the sides or seams off of the bag first. These are usually bulky and won't lay flat when the bag is complete. So, cut those off.
For the cookie wrappers, like the Chips Ahoy wrapper in the photo, I cut it apart halfway between the front and the back along the bottom. Then, I cut the back so that it was an inch or so taller than the front.
Always have the left and right sides cut at the same width for the front and back of the bag.
STEP 1: Cut the Vinyl
Use your front and back pieces as a guide and cut the vinyl 1/4" larger than the wrapper pieces.
Below are the cut-out front and back wrappers along with the vinyl pieces slightly larger. You can cut the vinyl at the same size as the pieces to save time trimming later.
Step 3: Iron on the Vinyl
The iron-on vinyl ensures the wrappers will not rip apart as you are working on the bag and when using the zipper pouch.
The vinyl has a backing on it. Carefully remove this backing but save it for protection while ironing. Keep the sticky side of the vinyl facing up.
Place the front or back piece of wrapper right side facing down onto the sticky side of the vinyl. The back of the wrapper will be facing towards you. It should look like the photo below. Smooth the wrapper out so that it's flat. If there are wrinkles peel it up and get them flat now.
Before ironing, place the paper removed from the vinyl on top of the vinyl and wrapper. The paper should have the shiny side facing down. This is important because the vinyl and the wrapper WILL MELT and stick to your iron. Never iron directly on the vinyl or wrapper. Always have something in between for protection.
Iron over the wrapper/vinyl as directed in the vinyl instructions. Iron vinyl on to both the front and back pieces.
Step 4: Sew Zipper
Be sure your zipper is as wide or wider than your bag. As you can see below, the zipper hangs over both sides of the bag front. Center your zipper along the top edge of the bag front. The zipper pull can be on the left or the right side, it's your preference. The bag front should be facing towards you and the zipper is face down (pull side is down).
Pin the top edge of the zipper along the top edge of the bag, not the vinyl. The vinyl will be trimmed later. If you prefer, trim the vinyl along the top edges of the bag now before pinning. The pins should be facing horizontally as any pin holes will show in your finished bag.
Place your zipper foot onto the machine and if necessary, set the needle to the left side (or the side closer to the zipper). Sew with a straight seam close to the zipper, removing pins as you go. Be sure the zipper pull is well out of the way of the needle.
Finger press the zipper open as shown below. You can iron it but be sure to use the paper again to protect the iron.
Take the bag back piece, with the front-facing down, and align the top edge to the top edge of the zipper. Remember to align the bag edge, not the edge of the vinyl. Pin along the zipper and sew alongside the zipper again, removing the pins as you sew.
If you are working on this project with kids, I recommend moving the zipper to the center and stitching two zipper stops on each end before trimming the zipper and pouch sides. Several kids in our workshop zipped the zipper right off the end of the bag after they were trimmed!
Check out our tutorials, How to Shorten a Zipper by Hand Sewing or How to Shorten a Zipper by Machine. for instructions on how to stitch new zipper stops.
Step 5: TRIM the recycled snack Zipper Pouch
Carefully trim back the vinyl along the zipper edge if there is more than 1/4" extra. Next, straighten the sides of the bag and cut off the extra zipper. Start with the side with the zipper end as shown below. Line up a ruler and trim including cutting off the extra zipper.
Turn your bag around and prepare to trim the other side. On this side of the bag, be sure to unzip your zipper at least halfway so that the zipper pull is inside the bag and out of the way (see the photo below). Trim this side in the same manner, cutting off the extra zipper. Remember, do not close your zipper! Since there is no stopper on the zipper, it will zip right off the end.
Trim the top and the bottom edges too to the edge of the bag, making them straight.
Step 5: Fold recycled snack Bag
Your zipper pouch is almost complete! Next, fold the wrong sides together aligning the sides and the bottom edges of the zipper pouch as shown below. Finger press the top edge. The zipper is still open halfway. The bag should look like below.
Step 6: Sew Around Edge
NOTE: If you would like to make a pleated bottom of your bag, see the update at the end of this tutorial.
At your sewing machine, start with the top right side of the zipper pouch. Change to your standard presser foot and set your machine to a zig-zag stitch. Reduce the length a little so that the zig-zag is closer together.
Use matching thread in your top and bottom bobbin as both will show when the bag is finished. The thread color you use is your preference, so pick a color that is on the bag. Or use black or white. I used a red for the Kit-Kat zipper pouch.
Zig-Zag stitch around the three open sides of the bag. Remember to backstitch at the start and end. Reinforce the stitching at the zipper by backstitching back over the zipper and then forward again.
When approaching the corner, slow down and stop with the needle down. Lift the presser foot and turn the bag 90 degrees. Continue sewing along the next side.
The Recycled Snack Wrapper Zipper Bag is complete! This zipper pouch is perfect to hold small items, pencils, erasers, toys. It could even be used for snacks!
This is a view of the inside of the snack wrapper zipper pouch.
As you can see below, I made several bags with this snack wrapper zipper pouch tutorial. These sew up quickly and are fun to make.
We led a project for our 4-H club making these bags. Many of the kids had never sewn before and were able to complete the bag in an hour. So, this is a perfect beginner sewing project.
UPDATE Jan 2022 - How to add a pleated bottom to your snack wrapper zipper pouch
This year for my MLK Day community service project, I made a bunch of these zipper bags to be donated to Comfort Cases. If you would like to watch a video on this project visit our Youtube video through the link above.
For these zipper bags, I wanted to create bags that could hold more items like small travel toiletries, school supplies, and more. I decided to add a pleated bottom to the bags.
The bags are made the same as described above, except before sewing the sides, the bottom of the bag is folded into a pleat.
Sew across the bottom of the bag with a zig-zag stitch as described in Step 6. Do not sew the sides yet!
Next, take the bag and fold the back of the bag an inch or two up from the bottom seam, as shown in the photo below.
Make a similar fold of the same size on the front of the bag.
Hold the two folds together and crease it well.
Next, sew down the side of the bag from the top to bottom with a zig-zag stitch, sewing over the pleat.
Remember to sew back and forth over the zipper to reinforce it. See more details on sewing the sides of the bag in Step 6. Also, backtack at the end of the seam.
Sew the other side of the bag in the same way.
The bag is finished and it has a pleated bottom as shown in the photos below.
Here is another view of the pleated bottom.
Here are some of the bags I made for my MLK Day project.
If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video
comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.
Other Recycled Snack Wrapper Pouch Tutorials
- Lazy Girl Designs has a fun candy wrapper zipper pouch project tutorial. This one uses iron-on vinyl and has a nylon fabric lining.
- Baking and Blankets has a no-sew candy wrapper pouch that uses duct tape and a stapler.
- Punkin Patterns candy wrapper pouch tutorial also uses vinyl and has a lining.
- Creative Green Living's candy wrapper pouch has a zipper and a lining. This one does not use vinyl.
Below are some other interesting free tutorials by Needlepointers.com