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DIY Reusable Lunch Set for School

I’m happy to have Amy from Progressive Pioneer here as my guest today. Her blog is all about getting back to the basics of life. She’s sharing a great way to pack your kids lunch by using reusable items.

DIY Reusable Lunch Set

It’s back-to-school time!  Instead of oodles of plastic bags and disposable accoutrements, how about a cute, reusable lunch sack, sandwich bag, and a few sources for thermoses and silverware?  I made mine out of an old pair of jeans so there was minimal sewing involved.  In fact, the whole project is so simple you might be tempted to have your kids make their own lunch sets!

Lunch Sack Supplies

DIY Reusable Lunch Set for School


Cut off a good length of the pant leg.  I always think regular lunch sacks are too short to roll down and make a good place to hold, so mine is quite long.  Turn it inside out and stitch the bottom end closed.  Mine was hand sewn as I made it while at a cabin, but I’ll probably reinforce the seams with a machine so it’s sturdier.

Sewing Lunch Sack

To finish the bottom you’ll turn the bag right side out again and fold in the corners to make two triangles.  Then sew those down flat.  Think of those sturdy L.L. Bean bags.

Sewing Jean Lunch Sack

Next hem the top of the bag (unless you’re lucky enough to find an old pair of jeans with hems still intact!).  If you’re so inclined you could add some pockets inside or out and even sew a strip of cloth along the inside with a few loops to keep silverware in place.

Sustainable Lunch Set
This sandwich holder is little more than a cloth napkin with Velcro tabs to keep it wrapped tight.  You could even use a small cloth napkin and skip the sewing.  I simply hemmed the sides of a piece of cotton cloth, eyeballing it for size (you might want to lay a slice of bread on it to get an idea; don’t forget to factor in the hems!).

DIY Sustainable Lunch Set

On the top left side you’ll tack down two pieces of the “grippy” side of the Velcro.  On the right underside you’ll tack down two squares of the fuzzy side of the Velcro.  Test it out before you sew them on permanently though so you get them in the right spot.  The sandwich cover can be used as a napkin or laid down on the grass for a little picnic.  Throw them in the wash just like you would cloth napkins.  I’d make half a dozen or more so you always have clean ones.

Reusable Lunch Sack
We like stainless steel thermoses and sippy cups.  They don’t give your water that plasticky taste or leach yucky chemicals into the drinks.  Kleen Kanteen is a good one to try or Sigg if you want to get fancier.  And if you’re packing things that require forks or spoons consider using bamboo utensils; it’s cute, inexpensive, biodegradable (throw it in your compost pile!) and renewable (it grows really quickly!).  You can often find them at Whole Foods or Eco Bags.  Now just add some healthy snacks and a shady spot under a tree and you’re ready to go!

DIY Reusable Lunch Sack Set

Thanks, Amy. These look easy and fun to make, helping the environment and saving us money. Come see more from Amy at the Progressive Pioneer, I love this great tutorial on canning, which I’m getting ready to do.


  1. This is so cute! I think I’ll make myself one of these. :) It’d turn heads at work. Lol. I think I’d make my lunch bag patchwork. I have different colors of jeans and that would be really cute. Finally found a use for the jeans I have that have broken zippers. I suppose you could line them too but that may make them kind of bulky. I don’t know. I’ll try it and see. I also think a button on the sandwich holder would hold it shut just as well as Velcro.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial – I wound up making two of these (2 jeans legs!) for presents this just-past year – one for my brother for Christmas, undecorated, and one for my sister-in-law with a decorated initial & a PUL- covered cardboard bottom. They both loved them! So thanks again!

  3. I like the folding cover/napkin idea; adds Class to a lunch bag. At some point in packing lunches for my kids, I nearly turned into my Grandmother, who washed and re-used plastic bags. I’m a little lazier; I save bread bags, cereal bags, etc. (Bread bags, I fold and tuck into the freezer, and No, not so much that they are falling out every time the freezer door opens). I put sandwiches in these bags, giving at least a second use. Especially good for Field Trips, when the teacher wants a Sack Lunch packaging that is Disposable.

  4. This is such an excellent idea. I have extra scraps of material that I never knew what to do with! Your instructions made it easy too.

  5. Many thanks! This is exactly what I needed to find.
    We unschool and o a lot of outings, so I’m all into reusable food carriers. I’ll be linking from my blog as well :)

  6. Very cool and I love how easily washable it is. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll be linking. Off to check out Amy’s blog!

  7. Oh, and yes, it can of course be used without the plastic bag. Don’t store things long term, like in the fridge, because they will eventually dry out. But to wrap something up for a school lunch or picnic it’s perfect, better actually than plastic, because things don’t get so soggy since they can breathe more. You will probably get mayo or PB&J on the cloth, but just toss it in the wash like a cloth napkin!

  8. Oh, that was just a sandwich that was lying around at the cabin. My husband’s grandma had put it in a bag for Sam (our 16mo. old) to take to the beach, but he didn’t eat it. I was just using it to size the fabric. I guess that is sort of a misleading picture! Later when we drove home to SLC we did pack some snacks using the new lunch set, minus the plastic bag:)

  9. In the first photo it looks like you are using a plastic bag on the sandwich, inside the cotton cover? Why is this better than just using the plastic bag? Or can the cotton cover be used without the plastic bag?

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