This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
If there’s one thing I love about my job, it’s being able to give back to those in need. Anytime a project comes along that allows me to give back to my community and teach my kids the importance of giving back, I’m totally onboard. In my latest partnership with Cricut, we’re paying it forward with Feeding America and I’m doing my part to spread awareness about hunger and homelessness in our communities.
Teach my kids the importance of giving back is one I don’t take lightly and it’s something we always talk about. We’re always trying to new ways to give back in a meaningful way.
When Hurricane Sandy hit, my son rallied his Cub Scout pack to donate supplies for the hardest hit communities right here in New Jersey. Not satisfied with just his Cub Scout pack, he approached his principal at school about making it a school wide campaign.
In the end, hundred of supplies and food were donated and he was recognized with a special award at school.
Every year, we make it a priority to not only adopt several families at Christmas but to make sure that we donate as many toys as we can to our local police department’s toy drive. Every year, we not only fill their box but at least 3-4 other boxes too.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” – Mother Teresa
It’s one of the kids’ favorite holiday traditions. But giving back is important all year long, not just at the holidays. With hunger and homelessness at an all time high and so many adults and kids going hungry, donating to our local food bank was an easy decision.
But canned food & supplies are heavy. Plus it takes a lot of humility for someone to walk into a food bank. Since they’ll likely be walking home or taking public transportation, the last thing they want to do is carry around a big, heavy cardboard box.
So, Cricut challenged us to spread a little joy by crafting custom tote bags/reusable shopping bags to donate our local food bank.
The bags are a simple way for someone to easily transport their food items and can continue to use for years to come. This was a great project to get the kids involved with.
Evie helped me pick the designs and we made a list of all the important things to shop for. Ryan carried the heavy boxes for us and we all felt good about doing something for those less fortunate.
In fact, we’re making it a monthly thing! Every week we’re going to shop for “extra” groceries. All things the food bank needs. Then every month, we’re going to deliver all the groceries. It’s the least we can do.
You can do this too. Here’s a list of some of the most needed items in food banks all over the country:
- Canned meat & chili
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit
- Pasta sauce
- Non-perishable snack items for children (i.e. granola bars, juice boxes, applesauce)
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Low-sugar cereals
- Peanut Butter
- Instant Oatmeal
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
It’s simple to do. Just pick up a few of these items on your next trip to the store and drop them off at your local food bank! CLICK HERE to find a food bank near.
If you’re feeling crafty and want to make these reusable bags for yourself, your local food bank or for friends? Here’s how you can make your own reusable tote bags with your Cricut Explore Air 2.
HOW TO MAKE REUSABLE TOTE BAGS WITH IRON-ON VINYL
SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED FOR THIS DIY REUSABLE TOTE BAG PROJECT
- Cricut Explore Air 2
- Standard Grip Mat
- Cricut EasyPress 2
- EasyPress Mat
- Cricut Iron-On Black
- Cricut Tote Blanks (I used both sizes)
STEP 1: CREATE YOUR DESIGN
First you need to create your design. You can easily do this in Cricut Design Space or in the app OR just use mine. CLICK HERE to access my files. You can use some of the already made designs available in Design Space OR create your own from. scratch.
Once you have your design ready, place the iron-on sheet, shiny side down on the Standard Grip Mat. Don’t forget to mirror the design!
Load the mat let your Cricut do it’s magic.
CRICUT TIP: If you’re using a Cricut Explore machine, make sure you turn your dial to “iron on” first.
Once your design is cut, gently remove the excess vinyl from the design and begin to weed the design. Use tweezers to remove any negative pieces from the design but be sure to leave your design on the clear liner.
STEP 2: PREPARE YOUR TOTE BAG BLANK
It’s important to prepare your tote bag for the best possible transfer. First, place a piece of white card stock inside the tote bag. Then take your lint brush and run it over the bag a few times to catch any pieces of lint or loose fabric you can’t see.
Next, cover the area with butcher paper. Making sure it is larger than your EasyPress’s heat plate. Then preheat the area to remove any moisture and wrinkles.
Remove the butcher paper and let the tote cool.
STEP 3: TRANSFER YOUR DESIGN TO YOUR TOTE BAG
Once your bag is completely cool, place your design face down with the clear liner face up.
Cover with butcher paper larger than your EasyPress’s heat plate and heat the design based on the guides outlined in Cricut’s Heat Transfer Guide. (For this project, I used my EasyPress 315 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds with light press and a warm peel)
CRICUT TIP: Do not move anything, including yourself. If you have to, hold your breath while doing this.
When the EasyPress beeps, gently lift it up. and return it safely to it’s base. Then walk away.
No, really. Walk away and let your project cool completely. I made the mistake the first time I used mine to check it “just to make sure” it was sticking and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t. It wasn’t until I walked away and let it cool completely, that I realized I was the issue.
Once it’s completely cool, gently. remove the butcher paper and transfer sheet.
You’re left with these beautiful designed Cricut reusable shopping bags.
Visit feedingamerica.org to find a food bank near your, pick up a few cans of food and start a new tradition of giving back with your family.