How to use Candy or Food wrappers as fabric

zipper pouch using candy wrappers

Whether you’re making our Sweet Satchel or another fun tote, working with fun food or candy wrappers is a great way to recycle these colorful normally throw-away pieces. You’re essentially creating your own “fabric”—albeit from trash.
But can you really sew on paper, foil or cellophane wrappers? You betcha’. But you need to keep a few tips in mind.

tote made from candy wrappers
• Plan ahead before you rip open a package willy-nilly. Try to open the package neatly to maintain as much of the package integrity as possible so you have material to work with.
• Wrappers and other food packaging need to be rinsed clean before use and allowed to dry thoroughly.
• Use a small machine needle to help avoid leaving large needle holes in these substrates.
• Avoid pins and use spring clips to hold things in place. Pins will leave permanent marks and may tear the base. If you must use pins, keep them within the seam allowance only.
• Do not press wrappers with an iron. Finger-press only and use a wooden stick or roller to help flatten seams.
• Although wrappers can be sewn together on their own with a regular seam, it strengthens your project to layer them onto a fabric base. This also gives you a built-in lining.
• Use a small sewing machine needle—size 70/10 is ideal.
• When piecing wrappers to a fabric base, attach them using a narrow, medium-length zigzag stitch (1.5mm width, 2.5mm length). Using a slight zigzag helps eliminate perforations sometimes occurring with a simple straight stitch seam. Length your stitch to 3.0mm for any straight stitching.
• To strengthen a collage of wrappers used on their own, consider adding a layer of very lightweight vinyl over the mix to protect the labels. When inserting a zipper into wrappers, use a turned-under edge for added strength.
• Handle pieces gently when turning, poking out corners, etc.
Give it a try with our easy zippered pouch below, or the Sweet Satchel  project.


Zip Pouch
Cut two pieces of cotton print the desired finished length and height, plus ½” (1.27cm) for seams.
Choose a Coats All-purpose Zipper slightly longer than the pouch finished length.
With a lining rectangle wrong side up, piece the wrappers to it using a zigzag to join the pieces to the fabric, and overlapping adjacent pieces by at least 1/8” (.32cm). Cover the entire lining piece and sew around the edges; trim the wrappers to match the lining size. Repeat for the second half.
Using a wrapper scrap, fold in half and sew at the end of the zipper, just beyond the stop. Sew the piece in place along the zipper tape edges and trim. This keeps the bulky zipper stop out of the seam.
Finger-press under ¼” (.64cm) on each pouch opening edge. Using spring clips to hold it, lap one folded edge over the zipper tape aligning the pouch edge with the zipper stop. Stitch in place using a zipper foot. With the zipper open, trim the opened end of the zipper to the proper length to fit the pouch upper edges. Repeat to attach the zipper to the opposite pouch side.
Fold the pouch right sides together along the zipper center and sew the side and bottom seams using a ¼” (.64cm) seam. Carefully turn the pouch right side out and gently poke out the corners.

5 thoughts on “How to use Candy or Food wrappers as fabric

  1. Samina Mirza Reply

    Oh, wow! I put the candy bags in the recycle bin. Would have saved them if I had seen this post before. I’ll try this next year 🙂

  2. Julie Reply

    I had a spell of making these, they do look good and proved very popular with friends but to be honest they don’t wear well….. The wrappers wrinkle and tear with use, at stress points and folds. It sounds a bit obvious but pick something hardwearing or more of a plastic material with a bit of give to it…..

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