Recycled Canvas: From Plastic Bottles to Eco-friendly Fabric

APR 12, 2021 updated Jun 5, 2021

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Ever wonder where the plastic bottles you recycle end up? Since Spoonflower’s Recycled Canvas is made with the world’s leading recycled fiber REPREVE® you could be sewing with it! Each yard or meter of Recycled Canvas is made from 10 recycled bottles. Another great reason to recycle! 

Spoonflower is a leader in modernizing the textile industry with our low-waste digital printing process and the team is always on the lookout to add eco-conscious products to our lineup of fabrics, wallpaper and home decor products. We are pleased to continue our commitment to sustainability with the recent addition of Recycled Canvas (an upgrade to our retired Eco-Canvas).

Keep reading and watch the video below to find out more about how this durable fabric is created and printed, what projects are perfect for it, tips for working with Recycled Canvas and why making better choices for the environment is important to the Spoonflower community. 

Meet Recycled Canvas

Printable width: 54″ (137 cm) wide

Weight: 7.1 oz/square yd (240 gsm)

Content: 50% REPREVE® recycled polyester; 50% polyester

Construction: Woven

How Do Plastic Bottles Become Fabric?

REPREVE® is creating a loop that recovers waste to make our land, oceans, air and natural resources sustainable for the next generation. Spoonflower is proud to now be a part of that amazing loop! The simple journey from bottle to fabric shows how important it is to incorporate recycling into our everyday life.  

1. Recycled bottles are collected, washed and chopped into REPREVE bottle flake.

2. The bottle flake is melted and formed into resin, called REPREVE chip.

3. The chip is melted, performance technologies are added and extruded into fiber.

4. The fiber is made into sustainable products we use and wear!

What Everyone is Saying About (and Making With) Recycled Canvas

We love that plastic bottles are getting a second life as Recycled Canvas tote bags, throw pillows, wall hanging and so much more. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for eco-friendly gifts to DIY or you want to purchase sustainable products from small business owners using Spoonflower, we’ve got you covered! We’ve rounded up some exciting projects created with Recycled Canvas by Spoonflower Ambassadors and Small Business Grantees.

“My seamstress, Amber Rae Black, made these pillows and she loved the quality and strength of this fabric. We both thought the color saturation was top of the line and the softness is not compromised at all. The Recycled Canvas is a great option for an indoor/outdoor pillow and offers excellent versatility to accommodate either environment.” 

-Tiffany McKnight
Shop TLMcKnightArt


“Recycled Canvas is super soft and cool to the touch but is heavy enough for a bag like the Sierra tote I made. My machine had an easier time sewing it than with Spoonflower’s previous offering Eco Canvas. It was much smoother as the needle went through the fabric, even when stacked in multiple layers for the origami pouch (free pattern here). I’m also really happy with the vibrance and saturation of the printing and the sprinkle design really pops!” 

-Meg Fleshman
@megmadesewing

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“I’m not a huge sewist but I was able to create one of my favorite things—pillows! This fabric is perfect for home decor items and has a wonderful flow and drape to it. I will definitely use this for future home decor projects.”

-Tracey Hairston
@mochagirlplace

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“Recycled Canvas will be great for tote bags, toiletry bags—anything that is relatively easy to sew and needs ease of cleaning. The print quality was incredibly vibrant which I appreciated.

I would recommend using a wooden block and steam if pressing is needed since I found that it didn’t hold creases very well, but the drape is very nice for what is considered a canvas.”

-Nancy Mac
Shop Freon Collective

Read Nancy’s Tips to Make Your Business More Eco-Friendly

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“Recycled Canvas has the strength of a regular canvas with a much softer feel to it. It cuts and sews so smoothly and prints with excellent color. It’s perfect for bags and accessories, and I would even use it for pillows, soft totes, or stuffed animals.”

-Julianne Mahoney
Shop Wild Brush


“Since all of our bag linings are created with Linen Cotton Canvas, I was excited to try out Recycled Canvas. I have been thinking of adding an overnight bag to our product line and wanted to use lining fabric that could be easily wiped clean. This fabric definitely delivered. I intentionally got both dirt and make-up on small swatches, and both were easy to spot clean.

The fabric has a smooth silkiness to it, so I was surprised to find that it is actually a bit heavier than the linen canvas. I love the way our new Robin Tote looks with this fabric. As a brand focused on our impact, we are thrilled that this recycled fabric is as good for the planet as it looks in our product!”

-Kate Perna
Shop Inner Beauty Effects

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“What I love most about Recycled Canvas is that it’s an eco-friendly fabric made from recycled plastic bottles! It’s a lot of fun to work with and the colors come out bright and clear on the material. As the fabric is very robust and rather heavy, it is just perfect for sewing this yoga bag.”

-Antonia Pröls
@goldschool.diy

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“Like the other fabrics at Spoonflower, this fabric washed well and shrinkage was minimal. This fabric is a little slippery, so I would recommend pinning or using fabric clips while sewing. I installed a zipper on my pillow, which required more clips to keep the fabric and zipper edges aligned.

The edges of the fabric fray pretty easily, so zigzag stitching or serging the edges would be beneficial before starting your project, especially if the item will not be lined. This fabric is great for outdoor pillows, like the lumbar pillow cover I made, or outdoor cushions. The slight sheen of the Recycled Canvas makes it great for indoor pillows as well, or even covering a bench.” 

-Kenya Stanfield
Shop Mary Elizabeth Home


“The Recycled Canvas is a great weight for my children’s playmats and accessories. I love the way the colors in my design come out really vibrant. I suggest using an iron with a light touch on a synthetic setting only. If you need to use a high heat, be sure to add a press cloth over the fabric to prevent any color transfer.”

-Sarah Omura
Shop So Handmade


“I am so excited to FINALLY have attractive indoor/outdoor fabric at a reasonable price. So much of the comparable products I see on the market from other companies are dated or too thematic for my personal style (think beachy-lobster vibes).  I love the way our Danika Herrick Shagreen chairs turned out, and I’m motivated to sew pillows and cushions for the rest of our patio sets.”

-Jewel Marlowe
@jewelmarlowe

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“One of the characteristics that drew me to Recycled Canvas (aside from its obvious eco-friendly origins) is that it is durable enough for seasonal outdoor use—which is why I chose to utilize it for my indoor/outdoor banners

The fabric has a much softer drape than anticipated. I found it useful to use an overlock stitch along the edges to prevent fraying. Also, due to the slicker nature of the substrate, it was easier to use sewing clips rather than pins when prepping the fabric to sew.”

-Robert Mahar
@robert_mahar

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“The Recycled Canvas was an excellent fabric for reupholstering my chairs. Not only was the fabric durable, but it was soft enough for seating.  Sometimes durable fabrics lean towards tough textures, but the texture of the Recycled Canvas is not tough or rough. The seat cushions are now colorful and comfortable!” 

-Stephanie Watkins
@casawatkinsblog

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Free Sewing Patterns Perfect for Recycled Canvas

Want to go green all year long? Check out these 16 eco-friendly projects for your home!

REPREVE® is a registered trademark of Unifi, Inc. in the US and other regions.

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  • Georgia L Richardson

    I received a sample of Repreve with my last spoonflower order. I am very impressed with he fabric and Kudos to Spoonflower for using recycled plastic bottles. Get them out of the ocean and into something useful.