Make Your Own Customised Shopping Bags and Tote Bags!

by Wendy Croxford

in Permaset Blog

19 Nov 2018  | 0 Comments

Looking for a fun and practical DYI project? Why not make your own custom shopping bags and tote bags?

Reusable shopping bags and tote bags are wonderful items in that they’re very versatile—you can use them for shopping, for going to the beach, as promotional items, giveaways or gift bags. They’re also environment-friendly because unlike plastic or paper bags you can use them again and again.

Making custom shopping bags and tote bags is easy, and requires only a few materials to start.

Choosing the Right Material

Shopping and tote bags can be made of several materials. They can be made of canvas, denim, drapery fabric or upholstery fabric. These types of fabrics are best for tote bags as they are sturdy enough to carry loads and withstand several uses.

For some commercial establishments in particular, their reusable shopping bags are made from natural plant fibres like cotton, jute and bamboo. They can also be made from polypropylene, a durable type of plastic which, at first glance, may not seem very environment-friendly but is actually made of recycled plastic and is recyclable. You can purchase these types of bags in bulk from suppliers online at a very reasonable price.

Making Your Own Tote

If you’d prefer to make your own reusable shopping or tote bag however, it’s pretty simple. All you need is around a half-metre length of your chosen fabric, fabric shears or rotary cutter and cutting mat, pinking shears, ruler, white thread, ball point pins, fabric pen and of course, a sewing machine.

Related Article: Tips for Teachers: Water-Based Painting Projects for Students

Start by cutting off the selvedge on both ends of the fabric. Then fold the fabric with the right sides facing each other to around 40cm or depending upon how deep you’d like your bag to be. Cut off the remaining fabric and starting from the bottom, stitch the sides of the cut piece with a 1cm seam allowance on each side. Stop stitching around 4cm from the top of the bag. Once done, use the pinking shears to cut along both sides to prevent fraying. Afterwards, turn the bag right side out. Fold the top of the bag around 1cm and iron the fold, and then fold again about 2.5cm and iron. Secure the top section by stitching it with the 2.5cm seam allowance.

For the bag handles, fold the remaining fabric in half with the right sides facing each other and measure and cut two 50cm x 6cm strips. Pin along the sides of each pair of strips and stitch the sides of the strips with around a half cm seam allowance on each side. Once done, turn the straps right side out through the unsewn ends and iron.

To attach the straps to the bag, first fold the ends of each strap about a half cm twice and stitch. Position each strap end around 10cm from each side of the bag and around 2.5cm deep inside the bag. Secure with pins and stitch across the top and bottom where the strap and bag meet to secure.

Customising & Personalising

Once you’ve got your shopping or tote bag ready, it’s time to customise and personalise! There are a number of different ways you can customise and personalise these bags—you can sew on or stick patches on them using fabric glue, or paint or screen print designs on them using Permaset Premium water-based ink.

Permaset Aqua is the perfect ink for printing or hand painting on fabric as it is 100% solvent free yet delivers rich, pure colour, a superior soft handle and excellent durability. For painting or screen printing on polypropylene bags, our range of Permaset Premium Hybrid Inks are a great choice, and are completely free of harmful ozone depleting chemicals, aromatic hydrocarbons, PVC resin or phthalate plasticiser. To get started with screen printing, take a look at our post on how to expose a design for screen printing and our other helpful blog posts on screen printing.

Screen printing is a great option since it produces clean, detailed and unique designs and is also ideal if you’d like to produce a large number of custom-designed bags. Whether you’re planning to make a bunch of bags as giveaways for your business or as personalised holiday presents, or if you just want to make one for yourself, make sure you choose the right ink for your bags: Permaset Aqua and Permaset Premium. Shop for these inks here.


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