Instructions on How to Make a Woven Chip Bag Purse

Updated February 21, 2017

Turn greasy potato chip bags into a colourful purse or a glamorous evening bag with a weaving technique you may have first learnt in elementary school. A potato chip bag purse is made using the same principle as the classic gum-wrapper chain--links of folded paper gum wrappers--but takes it to the next level. The non-biodegradable material of the potato chip bag makes for a more durable purse that is relatively waterproof. Solicit empty chip bags from friends and family or host a party to garner enough bags.

Turn your chip bags inside out and wash thoroughly to remove grease and salt. Wipe with paper towels or air dry.

Turn the bags right side out. Lay one out flat on the cutting mat. Cut into 2-by-4 1/2-inch strips with the rotary cutter. Repeat with each chip bag. Use the rotary cutter to cut magazine pages into strips of the same size. According to GrubGrade, the paper makes the thin chip bags more durable and helps the plastic hold the folds.

Take a strip of chip bag and lay a magazine strip on top. Fold the pieces vertically down the centre. Unfold. Fold each long edge toward the centre crease. Fold the two sides together along the centre crease. Fold the piece in half horizontally. Open it up and fold each end back to the middle. Set aside. Repeat with all your strips.

Hold a folded strip in your non-dominant hand with the centre crease down, between your thumb and index finger. Take another folded strip in your other hand and push the two ends through the folded sides of the first piece and slide it down to the bottom to form a "V."

Hold the "V" with your non-dominant hand, and push another folded strip through the inside of the "V" into one of the two folded edges of one folded strip. Flip the chain and insert another piece into the next "V." Continue until you have a chain long enough to form a ring that will be the circumference of your purse.

Unfold the legs of the first link and tuck them into the last link to close the chain and create a ring. Count the number of links in your ring. Make additional rings of the same size. You will need twice as many rings as the number of inches you would like your purse to be high.

Thread your tapestry needle with a 4-foot length of dental floss. Stack two rings together so their peaks and valleys interlock. Bring your needle and floss up through the interior side of a link and pull through, leaving enough of a tail to tie off around the leg of the link. Push the needle through the corresponding link on the second ring and go back down through both links on the exterior side of the rings.

Bring your needle back up through one side of the next link and go down on the opposite side. Each stitch should go up between the double-folded layers of woven links on one side and down between the layers on the other side. Your stitches should all be within the woven chain and should only be visible at the top and bottom.

Add and sew rings until you have a tube of woven material the correct height. Tie on 4-foot lengths of floss as needed.

Fold the tube flat without making a crease and manipulate the bottom edges until they fit together. Thread your needle again and, from the exterior, work the needle between the layers of a chain link at one end; tie the floss around the link. Work the needle through and adjoining square on the opposite side of the seam and work back through. Go to the next link, working across the entire seam in a zigzag fashion. Repeat going in the opposite direction until the seam is secure.

Thread your sewing needle with thread that matches the colour of your zipper. Knot the end of the thread and run it through the bottom of your zipper at the end of one of the long edges. Line the end of the zipper up along one side of the interior of your purse at the bottom of the the first ring of chain. Stitch down one side of the zipper, catching the edge of the zipper fabric and going between the layers of the second ring of the chain and back up. Make a knot on the underside of the zipper when you reach the end. Repeat for the other side of the zipper.

Take your length of ribbon--in a colour that matches the zipper or coordinates with colours in the chain--and fold it in half lengthwise. Push the folded end through the hole at the end of the zipper's metal slide. Thread both ends of the ribbon through the folded end and cinch to create a decorative zipper pull for your chip bag clutch purse.


Use the shiny silver or pearl white interior of the chip bags to create an evening bag. Cut bags and weave chains as you continue to collect enough bags to complete a purse.

Things You'll Need

  • Potato chip and snack food bags (about 20)
  • Several magazines
  • Paper towels
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Dental floss
  • Tapestry needle
  • Zipper
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • 8 inches grosgrain ribbon, 1/2-inch
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About the Author

Patricia Hamilton Reed has written professionally since 1987. Reed was editor of the "Grand Ledge Independent" weekly newspaper and a Capitol Hill reporter for the national newsletter "Corporate & Foundation Grants Alert." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University, is an avid gardener and volunteers at her local botanical garden.