You can make this tote bag upcycle from two, $1 placemats in about 10 minutes! This is another super easy and frugal sewing project that is perfect for beginners. The tote bag is a good size for everyday use. I love to throw a few toys and snacks in it for an afternoon at the park. It’s a great size for carrying craft projects like knitting or crocheting too. Let’s get started because it might take longer to read this post than it will to make the bag!
Placemat to Tote Bag Upcycle Supplies:
The woven placemats can be purchased at your local dollar store. If you are going with stripes, you might want to see how they line up together while still at the store. I’m not picky about that sort of thing, but I know some folks who are. I think mismatched stripes add to its character. Solids and stripes where the only options at my dollar store location, but there are some fun colors and patterns available on Amazon too, like these.
How to Make a Tote Bag Upcycle from $1 Placemats
Stack the placemats on top of one another with right sides together, if your placemats have and wrong and right side. Mine were identical on either side. Take care to line up the stripes or other pattern at this point as well. Then sew three sides together. The side not sewn will be the opening of the tote bag. I chose to leave the longer side open for a more traditional look. Leaving one of the short sides open would make a longer bag ideal for books and magazines. I just thought of that. I need to make another one!
Open the bag and flatten it so that the bottom seam meets the side seam. Measure 2″ from the point where the seams meet and sew across. If you would like a wider base for your tote bag, sew 2.5″ or 3″ from the point.
Repeat on the other side.
Cut off the point with scissors on both sides.
Cut the nylon webbing into two 27″ lengths for straps. This is a comfortable length for me, but you can adjust to your liking. Place each end of the straps inside the tote bag about 2 inches below the top. Use clips to hold the straps in place.
Sew a rectangle at the end of each strap to secure. Then turn the tote bag right-side-out, and you’re done!
In this photo you can see what I meant by not having the stripes line up. You can also see how boxing the points on the bottom at 2″ looks when finished.
It’s pretty darn cute, functional, and easy for $2! I find myself reaching for this tote bag upcycle more and more each day. If you like this project, check out my Placemat to Apron Upcycle and this Easy 5-Minute Wash Cloth Soap Holder. If you liked this $1 Upcycle Placemat to Tote bag, make sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board or share it with friends on social media. If you decide to make this fun and handy project on your own, make certain that you take a picture afterward and tag us on social media as we love seeing what our readers are making!
- Stack the placemats on top of one another with right sides together, if your placemats have and wrong and right side.
- Then sew three sides together. The side not sewn will be the opening of the tote bag
- Open the bag and flatten it so that the bottom seam meets the side seam.
- Measure 2" from the point where the seams meet and sew across bottom.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Cut off the point with scissors on both sides.
- Cut the nylon webbing into two 27" lengths for straps.
- Place each end of the straps inside the tote bag about 2 inches below the top. Use clips to hold the straps in place.
- Sew a rectangle at the end of each strap to secure.
- Then turn the tote bag right-side-out, and you're done!
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