By Haywood Hunter

When the sun comes out, you want to get out and start tanning as soon as possible. If you already have all your tanning supplies in one bag, you can just grab it and go.

Making a special bag is one way to keep all your tanning supplies together. It is also a way to save money, recycle used clothing and get a cool new bag to carry tanning supplies in without leaving the house. A one of a kind bag will also be easier to spot at the beach, lake or tanning salon.

Gather a few supplies for your project. Select an old cotton tank top that is too small or that you no longer wear. Try to find one made of heavy duty cotton. Do not use a tank top made of material that is too stretchy or it may stretch out too much when you place full bottles of tanning supplies inside. If you do not have a tank top, a cotton T-shirt will also work. You will also need some straight pins, a pair of sewing shears, thread and a sewing machine. If you do not have access to a sewing machine, a needle and some heavy-duty thread will do. Even if you do not sew much this project is easy enough for any one.

Start by turning the shirt inside out and pinning the bottom hem together as evenly as possible. Since this seam is on the inside of the bag it is okay if it is not perfect. It will be hidden by tanning supplies anyway.

Stitch the bottom hem of the shirt closed with a seam allowance of at least one quarter of an inch. Be sure to back-stitch a few times to add strength to the seam. Double knot your thread if you are hand sewing the seam. Try to keep the stitches small and even to make the seam strong to prevent tanning supplies from tearing it. Cut some of the bottom off the shirt, or increase the seam allowance if you want a smaller bag.

Remove all the straight pins and turn the shirt right-side out. If you are using a T-shirt, cut the sleeves off to form handles. Make sure you do not cut the handles too thin or they could break. If you are using a tank top the straps form the handles and will not need to be cut. If you want the opening of the bag to be bigger for larger tanning supplies, carefully cut off any ribbing from around the neck opening.

Even if you do not have the proper supplies at home, you can find inexpensive shirts at yard sales, the Goodwill store, or other local thrift shops. Look for a mesh tank top to make a beach bag to carry tanning supplies to the beach. It is easy to wash away the sand.

Now gather all your tanning supplies and put them in your bag. Do not forget sunscreen, tanning lotion or spray, a towel, a water bottle, a good book or magazine to read, a sunhat, and some tunes. Throw in a few snacks if you want.

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