I love canvas totes so much because I can personalize them with funny phrases, quotes or images. But they’re not really that great to use when going to the beach because their bottoms soak up water fast. I needed something that wouldn’t get wet easily and yet should still be affordable. And while it’s easy to purchase something like this, I thought of a way to transform a simple large canvas tote and a scrap piece of faux leather that I had on hand into something that looks chic and fun, and also makes the perfect DIY beach bag tote!
- Darice Large Canvas Tote
- Leather / Faux Leather
- Iron & Sewing Machine
- Ruler, Pen & Scissors
- Darice Headpins
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (optional)
- Adventure Awaits Template (optional)
Step 1. Iron your tote bag. To remove wrinkles, it’s easier if you mist it with water before ironing.
Step 2. Mark how tall you want the canvas part of your DIY beach bag to be plus 1/2″ seam allowance. I marked mine at 10.5″. You will want to mark the ends and the midpoint, each time measuring it from the top part.
Step 3. Connect your marks and cut. After this, turn your bag inside out.
Step 4. Undo the seams of the bottom piece that you just cut. You will want to use it as a guide in cutting the leather portion of your bag.
Step 5. If you want the same depth as the original bag, use the height and width of the original bottom piece as the pattern for your leather bottom. If you want a taller bag, you will want to add more height. You also need to consider if you want a box bottom or just a plain one. In my case, I wanted a box bottom so I made the leather portion extra tall. The photo below shows a comparison of the size of the original bag bottom with my new leather bag bottom piece when folded. To avoid an extra seam, fold the leather in half before measuring out the height of the bottom piece.
Step 6. Line up the leather bottom with the top portion of the bag to compare, then stitch both sides of the leather piece as shown below. Note: Stitch ONLY the sides of the leather bottom, and do not stitch it with the top portion of your bag.
Step 7. Flip the top part of your bag right side up again, and insert it onto the leather bottom (your leather bottom should still be inside out), with the handles going in first. The side seams should look like the photo below. Line up the seams and edges, pin in place and then sew together.
Step 8. After stitching, pull the canvas part out of the leather part of the bag, and the whole bag should be assembled with all seams facing outward. Turn the bag right side out to check if all the seams and faces are correct. If you prefer a bag without a box bottom, just press the canvas part of this bag and you are done!
Step 9. To add a box bottom easily, turn your DIY beach bag inside out again, and fold it by making the side seams meet in the middle of your bag. Take the edge as shown in the photo and fold it, making a triangle. Make a line to mark where you need to stitch it down and then stitch. Do the same to the other side. When you position your bag seams again the right way, it should look like the photo below. Tack the excess triangle to the leather side seam.
When you turn your DIY beach bag right side out, this is how it should look – a nice, crisp box bottom!
Step 10. This step is optional but I felt like I needed to do it for mine. Define the bottom of your bag by stitching from end point of the triangle to the corresponding end point at the opposite side. You can see the definition it gives when compared to a side that hasn’t been stitched.
Step 11. Finally, turn your DIY beach bag right side out and press the canvas part with an iron until the wrinkles are out and you are done! I’m so happy I was able to make this with just materials I had on hand – the scrap piece of faux leather was something I got at a thrift store ages ago. If you are purchasing the materials, it will only cost you less than $15.
Now this DIY beach bag tote turned out awesome already, but I wanted to add more to it. I actually spent more time on thinking of what quote or phrase to use than making the bag itself. I wanted to use it not only for the beach but other outings as well, so I decided to settle with the phrase “Adventure Awaits.” I used gold foil heat transfer vinyl for mine and cut it with my die-cutting machine. You can download a PDF file of this design in the supply list if you want the same!
Not wanting the same design? Embellish your DIY beach bag with your design of choice, maybe a monogram, an anchor, or even some red stripes! Hope you had a great time with this DIY beach bag tote tutorial – and don’t forget to visit my blog for more creative inspiration. Happy crafting, friends!
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Aki is an avid DIYer at heart. She documents her crafting adventures over at Minted Strawberry where she shares various DIYs – but mainly focusing on jewelry, clothing and accessory crafts. She also shares printable cards, wallpapers and other graphic work. She loves trying out new craft materials, processes, and learning about new ideas.