Available as part of the Everyday Stuff STEAM Workshops Bundle, which includes:
|Start / End Dates||Now through Dec. 31, 2022|
|No-Sew Backpack||$10 per household|
|Everyday Stuff STEAM Bundle||$50 per household|
|Access through Dec 31, 2022|
Fabric and Fiber Inventions: Make a No-Sew Backpack!
Attention crafty environmentalists! In this one-session workshop, you will learn how to upcycle an old t-shirt into a soft, colorful backpack — no sewing needed!
What’s more, when you work with fabrics and fibers, you’re using materials engineering and science. So we’ll take a look at how fabrics are made, the difference between weaving and knitting, and what makes t-shirt fabric a great material to work with.
This fun and practical backpack is so light-weight, you can stuff it in a pocket whenever you’re not using it. Make a bunch to give as gifts, and you and your friends can express your personality while you help reduce waste!
[Note: The T-Shirt Tote and T-Shirt Backpack workshops repeat background material. The backpack project has more steps and is recommended for older students.]
About 90 minutes, including a 23-minute video.
Time may be shorter or longer, depending on the size of the t-shirt you use, and whether you choose to decorate it.
What to Expect
This self-paced workshop includes:
- a 23-minute video that explains the project and demonstrates how to make it;
- written and printable instructions;
- links to more online resources.
Cutting fabric, tying knots and measuring.
- Students will learn to look for the science and engineering implications of everyday items.
- Students will use engineering design skills like prototyping, testing, trouble-shooting, and iteration as they create, improve, and enhance their projects.
In addition to the items below, I highly recommend my book Fabric and Fiber Inventions. It contains the project featured in this workshop, lots of background information, and instructions for many more, from simple spool knitters to light-up fabric designs!
an old t-shirt you don’t want to wear anymore
- masking tape
pen or pencil for drawing guidelines on fabric
- (optional) fabric pens, puffy glue, iron-on patches, or other decorations
Kathy Ceceri, B.A.
Kathy Ceceri is an award-winning writer and educator, and the author of more than a dozen books of hands-on STEAM activities for kids and teens. Formerly the Homeschooling Expert at About.com (now ThoughtCo), she wrote the Hands-On Learning column for Home Education magazine and taught her own two children at home from kindergarten until college.
Kathy’s workshops and activities are designed with the non-expert in mind. They introduce basic concepts in science and technology, and give students the skills and information they need to troubleshoot their projects and build upon what they’ve learned. Additional background material and resources look at the diverse people behind the inventions and put them into context in the larger society.