Make Your Own Tote Bags

Here is an easy project that children can make to carry their favorite items or even give as gifts.

Items Needed

  • 2 rectangular vinyl placemats
  • Hole punch
  • Twine or ribbon (shoe laces work too, especially fancy ones)
  • Scissors
  • Beads (optional)

Measure and mark every half inch down the length of each placemat and across on end (the end you want to use for the bottom), making the marks on the backside. Punch holes at each mark. Measure to find the center of the top of each mat. Mark the center about 1″ from the top edge and punch a hole (this will be for handles).

Place the two placemats together, with the front sides facing out and the holes lined up. Start at one of the top corners and push the twine, ribbon, or shoe lace through the first set of holes. Pull it almost all the way through and knot the end. It’s best to make a double knot then cut off any excess.

Lace the twine through the rest of the holes, working your way around the placemat until you reach the other top corner. Double knot the end and cut off any excess.

Cut a piece of twine or ribbon about 16″ long. Push one end through one of the top center holes, and double knot it (from inside). Pull it over the other center hole and do the same on the other side. Decorate as desired.


Skip the first set of holes when attaching placemats together and leave the last set. Use these holes for handles that go from one side to the other. You’ll need to cut the piece of twine for the handle a little longer (about 20″ – 24″). Slip it through the holes at one side, knot, and repeat on the other side.

You can also string beads onto the handle for a more attractive, more substantial handle. Knot one end in place, string the beads on, and knot the other end.