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Trash Bag – Car

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Do you have stashes of garbage in your car door compartment? How about in the center console?

Does it just bug you?


It drives me crazy. I hate the pieces of trash everywhere (especially the small pieces like gum wrappers, post-it notes, receipts, etc)……… I genuinely needed a solution.


Here’s something worth a try.


A little bag to attach to the back of your head rest.
That is always propped open.
(Scroll down to see the secret.) ((wink))


And it’s fabric, so if you happen to get something sticky in there…..pop it in the washing machine.


You’ll need:

  • upholstery fabric (or cotton with interfacing fused to it, to bulk it up)
  • boning, (1/2 inch wide)
  • 7/8 inch wide ribbon (or close to that)
  • velcro
  • sewing machine
  • thread
Start by cutting a back piece of fabric measuring 10 x 13 inches and a front piece that is 12 x 13 inches.
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Along the 12 inch side of the front piece (the bottom), find the center and pin it. Then measure out 1 inch on either side and place another pin at each spot. Then measure out another inch from that and place more pins. So you now have 5 pins, all an inch apart.


First, fold over your fabric from the 2nd pin from the left over to meet the first pin on the left.


Then do the same with the 2nd pin from the right, over to meet the first pin on the right. Now you’ve got 2 pleats that will be at the bottom of your bag.


Then, place your front piece together with the back piece, with right sides together. Pin along the bottom and sides.


Sew along the 2 sides and the bottom with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Clip your 2 bottom corners. Then do a zig-zag stitch close to your seam. Trim the excess fabric away.


Turn right side out and poke your corners out with a pencil (or something similar) to make them sharp and crisp.


Then, fold your front top edge towards the inside, 3/4 inch. Then fold it down another 3/4 inch, creating a casing for your boning. Pin it into place and then sew along the bottom fold, securing the casing into place. Don’t sew the back side yet.


Then sew one end of your casing closed, right by the seam where the front piece and back piece meet.


Cut an 11 inch piece of boning and slide it in your casing, making sure you slide it in the right way, making the boning push outward. Then sew the other end of the casing closed, on the other side where the front and back pieces meet. If you need to trim your boning to fit better, go ahead and do so but the boning needs to fit in there pretty snug.


Then, fold down your back piece the same way (3/4 inch, and then 3/4 inch again) and sew it into place.


Then cut two pieces of ribbon (I used grosgrain)……you might need to measure your seat and headrest and see how long you’d like it to hang down. I cut each of my ribbons 8 inches long. I heat sealed the ends of the ribbons and then attached them towards the outer edge of the bag so that it would hang well in the car. (**Or you can just make strips of fabric.) Then I attached velcro to the other ends of the ribbon.


And now you’re set.



Go tidy up that car. :)

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
Trash bag – car
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  1. Bob says:

    Is there a printable version of this trash bag?

  2. julie says:

    Great! I’ve been looking online for a simple DIY clothespin bag, nothing that I’m really liking. Then I found this – I will change up the straps and this is perfect! Thanks!!

  3. Delilah says:

    I just finished making one. It turned out really cute. I did go a little different on the strap. I used the same fabric as for the bag and put a patch of velcro on the inside back seam and put a longer strip of the soft side on one end of the strap. That way, there’s only one strap, which is adjustable. Also, I lost the piece of boning I bought just for this project, so I used an 11″ piece of 1/4 inch oxygen tubing. I used to care for someone who used portable oxygen and had some on-hand.

  4. Susan says:

    My Mom made something very similar to this but she lined them with vinyl which helps keep the bags cleaner and later could be washed on gentle. For one car she used a “hook” to attach to an air vent and for another car used elastic to place over a knob. After 5 years they are still in use!

  5. Sheryl says:

    This is it! I’ve been trying to decide what to make to organize my laundry room–presently using unlabeled plastic store bags. I’ll add an embroidered label one each of 3: “Trash”, “Baggies” (local thrift shop asks me to save baggies newspaper comes in), and “Dog Bomb Bags.” I’ll have to post before and afters.

  6. Kayla says:

    Im new to sewing and love this idea. I want to make one for myself and a friends birthday .. I can’t did this “boning” anywhere.. The girls at Joann’s and hobby lobby looked at me like I was stupid when I asked.!! A
    Where do you buy yours.?

    1. Bridget says:

      Kayla, this is pretty much irrelevant at this point several months later, but if you went to hobby lobby and Joann’s and asked for boning and they didn’t know what you were talking about…this sounds ugly for me to say this but, let’s put it this way…’you’ shouldn’t feel stupid at all! I have come across people working at fabric stores at times who haven’t a clue about sewing, so sometimes they’re not the best people to necessarily get sewing advice from! (I’m not saying ‘always’ but sometimes-yeah. You ask them something fairly basic and you get a “deer in the headlights” look! But other times Ive talked to some very good, experienced ladies, so you kind of just have to use your judgement…)Sewing can be a lot of fun and creative, so keep at it, have confidence, and don’t get discouraged! One more thing: the best seamstresses have made mistakes -lots of them-you just have to learn from them and chalk it up as experience! Good luck :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is so adorable! I made one for trash in my car and made another one a little smaller than this to put my important papers in – then I used one of those little suction-thingys to hang in on my windshield. :)

  8. Mary says:

    I just made one. It’s absolutely perfect!

  9. troy t thomas says:

    might work.

  10. Lisa says:

    For the boning you could also use strips cut from empty milk jugs. I use the plastic for all kinds of things. I cut shapes for organizing tags, strips for plant markers, flat sides make great stencils, cut the top off with about 3-4 inches turn over and you have a funnel…. the list is endless!

  11. Kim says:

    Instead of boning, I used plastic strapping from cardboard shipping boxes. Works great, and creates a use for something that otherwise has no use. It can also be creased to create squared corners. If you don’t have any, it should be available for the asking at stores.

  12. Jenahlee says:

    You could easily line this with a super cute laminated fabric that could easily take care of the wet trash problem and be easily wiped out! Or make the thing from laminated fabric as well. love Love your site!

    1. Kim says:

      …or line it with a bit of clear vinyl.

  13. Janet says:

    Dumb question…what is “boning”?

  14. Brenna says:

    Great idea! But what if the trash was wet? wouldn’t it leak through? What could we do to prevent it!??

  15. The Siple Family says:

    Maybe it is just me but allot of my back seat trash is sticky. If this is also you! Lining this darling bag with ripstop nylon fabric will prevent your supper cute fabric from get stained or having a wad of gum stuck to it. It would also make for a quick wipe down. Just a though! –emily siple

  16. Jennifer says:

    This is a great!
    I am featuring it on my blog to help with Keeping America Beautiful Month!

  17. Willie'sGurl says:

    I'm planning to make a car care kit for my sis and this would be perfect. thanks for all the really great sewing projects. ;)

  18. Crystal says:

    All roads lead back to make it and love it! Most of the time when I do a google search for something,your blog is one of the first places that pops up. I totally love it!

  19. says:

    Perfection! found you via- southern mammas!
    this is just what i need- now if i can just get the boys to use it…
    followin via google friends- will you take a min and do the same?
    thanks! kelli

  20. joshua_lacombe says:

    My husband is always on me for the way my car looks… as I am the one who has the kids all the time… its a tad messy! Love this idea. Last year for christmas I recieved somthing that had a thick ribbon on it with velcro… guess what I kept for just the right project! And instead of boning I like to recycle my plastic butter tubs! Viola! Simple and recycled!

  21. June McHenry says:

    Looks really Fab and so useful! Thanks

  22. Anne says:

    Thanks alot for the tute.I'm going make this right now.I've been following ur super blog ur work and site.Thanks again…

  23. Carri says:

    Thank you!!! LOVE it! I used elastic instead of ribbon only b/c I hate sewing velcro. Worked great. Thanks for the tut, it was very easy to follow

  24. Ashley says:

    Hi Shannon, no, that's a great question. Sometimes I forget to add that. I heat seal my ribbon ends with a lighter. Just hold the end of the ribbon near the flame until it slightly melts the end. This will keep it from unraveling.

    Good luck!

  25. shannon says:

    i love your idea of using boning to keep it open….

    but i have a silly question- how did you 'heat' seal the ends of the ribbon???

    inquiring minds wanna know…

    thanks -shannon

  26. Sandy says:

    Funny, I was just talking to my husband and saying I needed to have a little trash bag for my car. I just found your site and viola! Here's a bag. Thank you so much.

  27. Susan says:

    Hey this is a cute way to reuse that Hooter Hider! LOL!! Seriously, you're too much. I love your site and am always blown away by your creative ways.

  28. KT says:

    This is WONDERFUL!!! I've added it to a "Green Cleaning" roundup on my website today.

    You can also grab an "I've been featured badge" if you'd like.

    Great site!!

  29. Brookes Blog says:

    Wonderful bright idea.
    Thanks so much for the clever tutorial
    I posted a link to share your tut at my site in the sewing section.

  30. unraveldesigns says:

    Thanks for this amazing design, I just made one for a belated Christmas present for my sister.

  31. Amy says:

    This is adorable–great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Jeanette says:

    I just made two of these to give away as gifts; they are awesome! My husband saw one I made for a family with fabric of their fav football team, and now he wants me to make him one for his car. Thanks for the tut!

  33. Piccolina Designs says:

    What a great tutorial. I followed it and love the outcome. You can see it here
    Thank you for all your great tutorials.

  34. jaya says:

    the project is cute, but think about cleaning it everytime it gets full..

    i have three kids and the car gets downright messy evry time we go somewhere.that little cutie isnt going to hold the trash of even one trip..the juice boxes, the straws, the plastic that covers that,the “artwork” they do in the car, the snack wrappers, etc.

    my solution- bring a grocery plastic bag everytime you leave the house. put the trash in there, throw the bag in the bin when you get back home. i’ve given this “job” to my middle daughter, who is four.

    her big sister remembers to take the waterbottles. (because no matter how many juice boxes are emptied, they will want water.)

    thats so much less work for me.

    now if i want more cupholders in my car, i will use this tute(without the boning) to make a few. good idea!

    i have seen people use an empty tissue box as a small trash-can in the car. the trash does not get out, and you can just throw it away when it gets full.

  35. care-in says:

    I really have to try this. I use a gift bag…the type from the stores. This would be perfect for my dd especially since she can reach it.

  36. LiEr says:

    Very cool! I so need this for my car. Might have to steal the boning I’d set aside for nursing covers, for this! Thank you for the idea!

  37. Beth says:

    I really don’t want to buy the boning to keep the bag open, so I was thinking about using my OLD UNDERWIRES. I was just getting ready to throw a bunch of bras out when I noticed your project.

  38. Ginger says:

    What a wonderful tutorial.
    Im always looking for gifts for my son and for fathers day(mothers day)This is just the ticket loved the tutorial.
    Thank you so much for showing us how.
    hugs ginger

  39. Ruth Ann says:

    Great tutorial! I wish I would have seen this last week! I just bought one on Etsy for close to twenty dollars!

  40. cara says:

    I just found your blog this morning and spent ages ooo-ing and ahh-ing at your projects. I love them all and can’t wait to get started on trying some. Looking forward to following your blog and reading more posts!

  41. Rose says:

    Seriously, are you reading my MIND?? My three year old handed me a gum wrapper the other day and I thought to myself how great it would be if he would just put it in his cup holder…but then I’d have to pick it out later. you just solved my problem! Thanks for another fantastic idea :)

  42. Brenbren says:

    I just found you!!!! I LOVE IT! You are amazing. Any tips on how to recover a couch?

  43. Katy says:

    I just wanted you to know i LOVE your blog… thats all!

  44. JOY says:

    Love it! Thanks for the motivation to clean out my car!

  45. Ashley says:

    Tallmama – I posted a link in a comment above. Just scroll up a bit. Good luck!!

  46. jodi says:

    Great idea. I love that you don’t go to the store and buy things, you just make them yourself. Cool.

  47. tallmama says:

    Super cute idea! But I have to ask… where did you get your fabric? I LOVE it and would love to get some for a special project. I’m way up here in Canada so hopefully the place delivers :)

  48. says:

    You’re amazing. I just cleaned my car out this week and meant to look up a how-to for one of these. This is PERFECT and I love where you placed it. Thanks bunches, you’re a rockstar! I’ll be linking.

  49. Emily says:

    Can you get any AWESOMER? I don’t think so!! THANKS!

  50. Lyanna says:

    Wow, I need 2 of these in my van. One for the front seats, and one on the middle row for the kids in the back that always put their trash either behind their seat or in the cupholder- it’s fun to find gum in there… :)

  51. Cozzens says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  52. Northern NY Mom says:

    You and soooo amazing lady! yeah ha! I love following you!

  53. The Hughes Family says:

    How are you soooo creative…Im seriously going to make one for every head rest in my car!!! Super cute!!!

  54. Ashley says:

    You’re so welcome. This one really came from wanting to keep the crud out of the nooks and crannies of our car. Yuck!

    Oh, and Jenny, I got the fabric at

  55. Glamour Moms says:

    This is AWESOME. I am going to have to try this one!! THANKS!! You always have the greatest ideas.

  56. Jenny says:

    Love this idea! You always have the CUTEST fabric! Where do you get it??

  57. Rachel H. says:

    GET OUT! This idea rocks! I am definitely going to attempt it and show it to you in person when make my cross country trip to come see you! :)

  58. Kari @ Ucreate says:

    You seriously amaze me with what you come up with! Love this.

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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