Step 1: Fold your bag lengthwise.

Turn your bag into a narrow strip for you to tie into a knot. How you orient its handles is not important for this method. To fold your bag:

  • Smooth your bag out onto a hard, flat surface. Run your hands over the bag to remove as much air as possible. The flatter you make your bag, the smaller your finished knot will be.
  • Fold your bag in half lengthwise to form a rectangle. Smooth and flatten as before.
  • Fold your bag in half lengthwise again. It should once more form a rectangle, this time with a more narrow width. Keep folding the bag in half lengthwise until the layers are thick enough that you begin to feel some resistance. Make sure to flatten with each fold.

Step 2: Fold your bag widthwise.

Fold the strip in half along its width to make a shorter strip. You should now have a thin rectangle that is about half as long as your bag is tall.
Test the flexibility of your strip by wrapping it around your fingers. If it’s too stiff to do that, it will be too stiff to tie a knot with. Unfold the width crease and one or two length creases. Fold your strip back widthwise and test it again.

Step 3: Make a small loop using your strip.

Position the loop about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the folded end of the strip. The loop should be just big enough for two of your fingers to fit through. Make sure that the folded end of the strip is in front, while the longer uneven tail that includes the handles crosses behind.
The loop is the first step in tying what will be similar to a repeated overhand knot.
If you have difficulty working with the strip because it’s too short, you can always undo the widthwise fold. However, your knot will not be as compact or easy to undo.

Other interesting page: Reuse shopping bags with triangles

Step 4: Thread the tail over top and through the loop.

Take the uneven tail in one hand and bring it inward across the half of the strip closest to the folded end. Stick the tail through the loop and pull it through to the other side. Do not pull the ends to tighten the knot, yet.

Step 5: Thread both ends through the loop.

Start by bringing the tailback around and through the loop a few more times until you run out of length. Tuck the end into the center of the knot. Repeat this process with the remaining free end, pushing it through the loop to add to the ball. Once you reach the end, tighten the loop by holding the ball and tugging the free end.
Make sure you’re wrapping the plastic bag in on itself in one big ball of a knot. You do not want to make a separate knot over the first, as this will be a double knot. Double knots are harder to undo.

Step 6: Undo the bag for use.

You can’t use a balled-up bag to hold anything. To unravel a bag, press a thumb through the middle of the loop in the opposite direction the folded end was wrapped. The knot should loosen and the folded end will pop out of the loop. Unravel one half of the knot. Do this again for the tail end, and your bag is ready to use.
The knotted ball will not be nearly as neat and aesthetically pleasing as a folded triangle. Instead of displaying these bags, simply place them in a bucket or bag caddy until you need one.

Tips

  • It is best to fold bags on a hard, flat surface. This will allow you to get the most air out of the bag, and a flatter strip is easier to tie.
  • Some stores sell fabric tubes and caddies for storing your bags. Whether you fold them are not, these are usually convenient and simple to use.
  • You can do this fold will almost any kind of plastic bag, but the thin, standard-sized bags from supermarkets work the best. Thicker bags, like the kind typically used by bookstores, are usually much more difficult to fold.

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