Canvas Tote Bag Tutorial

Canvas Tote Bag Tutorial
If by chance you’re not using your own grocery bags when you go shopping, I’ll give you three good reasons you should start.

1. It’s better for the environment to shop with reusable bags. Let’s try to create less waste for landfills!
2. Some places are going to start charging for the bags they give you at checkout, if they aren’t already.
3. And finally, when you can make and carry your own bags as cute as these…why wouldn’t you?

Here’s What You’ll Need

Canvas drop cloth (from any Lowe’s, Home Depot or hardware store)
Letter stencils
Wine cork
Colored pens or paint
Paint brush (if using paint)
Ruler or tape measure
Fabric ribbon
Sewing machine


Measure out front, back, sides and bottom of what will be your bag.

Front and back – 13″ in width x 15″ in height
Bottom – 13″ in length x 8″ in width
Sides – 8″ in width x 15″ in height

Cut your pattern to the measurements and your fabric should look like the image below.


Iron out the wrinkles, then place your stencils where you want them to be. I chose the phrases “Be Healthy”, “Be Happy”, and “Be Loved” for my bags. You can follow along with the exact sentiments, or create your own.

Pencil in your letters, then use a cork to create polka dots in a pattern that appeals to you on all sides of your bag.

Color in your letters and dots and outline with black. The colors I chose were, white for the writing, brown for the dots on the “Be Healthy” bag, gray for the dots on the “Be Happy” bag and pink for the dots on the “Be Loved” bag.


Follow the four steps in the image below to construct the bag.


There are tons of ways to attach straps to a bag. I chose adding them to the outside because I liked the look. But you can sew them on however you like. I purchased a few rolls of jute/polyester fabric ribbon from a craft supply store. This ribbon does not have wires in it and it’s very strong, perfect for handles.

Measure out 27″ of ribbon for each side. Fold under the ends about an inch and pin each end to outside of bag about 3″ from the side and about 2″ from the top. Now for the tricky part. First, sew an X to attach the ribbon to the bag. Then sew a box around the outside of the X to make the attachment even stronger.

Repeat for remaining 3 straps.

Canvas Tote Bag Tutorial

And that’s it. Now you have some really cute, eco-chic bags to use and reuse when you go shopping.

Canvas Tote Bag Tutorial

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful tutorial, I love these bags.x