Conference poster upcycled to tote bag

Conference poster upcycled to tote bag by Crystal Lantz

This time a light subject for a science-related blog.  It is about upcycling your fabric conference poster. These posters are very easy to bring to a conference as you can just fold them and put them in your suitcase. So they have rapidly become very popular. But these fancy posters are quite expensive to get printed (check out a cheap alternative at the bottom of this page!) and it feels like a waste to just discard them after a conference. I found that some creative scientists make interesting tote bags from the fabric posters. That way, the poster is still useful after a conference, and you can have a cool conversation starter for the next meeting.  No more boring conference bags!

I came across a nice example on twitter and found some additional posts by some creative scientists who re-used their fabric conference posters.  If you are creative and still have a poster hanging somewhere with last week’s results you should get started.  Tote bags made of upcycled conference posters may just become the new trend at your next conference!

How to make a tote bag out of your conference poster

Perhaps the first one to post a picture of a  tote bag made out of a fabric poster was Akram Zamani, known as @AkramZamani82 on twitter, a postdoc in pediatric brain injury in Melbourne, Australia.

Conference poster upcycled to tote bag by Akram Zamani

Conference poster upcycled to tote bag by Akram Zamani

Akram posted some crude but straightforward instructions  ´just sew the similar symbols together´  with the below image.

How to upcyle your conference poster

Instructions on how to make the tote bag by Akram Zamani

There is also a great example (at the top of this page) by neurobiologist Crystal Lantz. Crystal is from the University of Maryland and goes by the name of @BoozyBrain on twitter. She even wrote a whole blog with very detailed instructions on how to make the tote bag.

Conference poster upcycle examples

Another neuroscientist who had a tote bag made out of a poster is Christian Herff, @HerffC, a postdoc from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. His tote appears to have a more simple design.

Conference poster into tote bag

Conference poster tote bag by Christian Herff

You may not need to be a neurobiologist or neuroscientist to be able to make a bag out of your poster, but it sure does seem to help!  Below are some bags by non-neuroscientists:  Dermot McGovern  (@doc_ibd on twitter),  studies IBD genetics at Los Angeles and  Bingyu Zhao (@BingyuZhao1), is working on something like city planning or mapmaking at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Conference poster tote bag

Conference poster turned into tote bag by Bingyu Zhao

Conference poster tote bag

Conference poster upcycled to tote bag by Dermot McGovern

Conference poster bags

All the bags made for a whole lab from one poster by @1252LoLo

For the less creative

I recently found that there is also a company that can upcycle your poster for you! The company is called REpost Science and is based in the Netherlands. You can choose whether they produce items to sell in their shop or whether they make something especially for you. They can make bags, aprons, ties, pencil cases, and lots of other stuff. These may also make interesting gifts for a colleague that is leaving, a PhD student on their graduation, or for anyone else in your group.

So find that poster and get started! And send me a picture of the result so I can include it in this blog.

Bonus: cheap fabric poster printing

I just noticed a post on TikTok about a cheap alternative way to print your poster on fabric. The company that does it is called Spoonflower and normally prints designs on fabric for home decoration. This particular company is based in the US but similar companies probably exist everywhere.