How to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote

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I walked into Michaels Craft Store recently and they had these adorable, although plain, straw bags for just a few dollars. I saw all kinds of possibilities so I immediately scooped one up and today I want to share How to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote! It also reminds me of a cute Paris Market Bag!!

Here you can see the plain basket/bag on the left and this fabric that I've had for ages, just waiting for the “right” project! I found this fabric at Joann Fabric and Craft store a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, I don't have a name for it and the side of the fabric doesn't list the name either…

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Supplies to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote

  • Straw Basket/Bag
  • 1/4 yard of Fabric of choice
  • Sewing Machine or Needle + Thread (to hem fabric) or No-Sew Hem Tape
  • Pins
  • Dual Temp Glue Gun
  • Ribbon
  • Embellishment (if desired)

How to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote

[dropcaps]1[/dropcaps] Determine the Amount of Fabric You Need

Decide how much fabric you want to show and how much of the straw you want to show.

On my bag: the finished “height” of my fabric band on my bag is 6 1/2″. I cut my fabric to 7 1/2″ to allow for a 1/2″ hem on the top and bottom of the fabric band.

Once you know the “height” of your fabric band, measure the circumference of your bag to determine how wide your piece needs to be. The width of my band is 40″.

[dropcaps]2[/dropcaps] Hem Your Fabric

Next, you want to hem your fabric. I used my sewing machine and it took me about 2 minutes – so this is a super easy step.

If you don't have a sewing machine you could use a needle and thread or a no-sew hem tape like this one!

Hemmed and ready to go!

[dropcaps]3[/dropcaps] Pin Your Fabric

Wrap the fabric around your bag and use pins to hold it in place.

My bag is wider at the top so I had to decide how I wanted to account for that difference between the top and bottom.

I decided to create a “gusset” type of design on the side. Please, don't let this worry you! It's very easy as you can see in the photo above. Simply overlap the bottom fabric over each other on each side and put a pin in it.

Since you are only using pins at this point it's so easy to adjust this over and over until you have it just right! So take your time with this.

[dropcaps]4[/dropcaps] Glue Fabric Onto Bag

Now it's time to pull out every crafter's best friend, the glue gun! I have had many glue guns over the years and I now use this one and it really is my favorite. I like that it allows for either hi or low temp settings.

I used the high temp setting to attach the fabric to the bag. It worked wonderfully!

I simply ran the glue gun around the top and bottom edge of the fabric and the bag. I encourage you to be generous with the amount of glue. You really want this to hold.

Remove the pins once your bag is glued.

[dropcaps]5[/dropcaps] Add Sweet Details

I could have easily left the gussets plain but well, you know me, I love to make things a little bit extra special!

I dug around in my craft stash and found some ribbon and sparkly buttons that I had gotten in the jewelry section of Michaels Craft Store a while back.

For the ribbon “bow” cut a piece of ribbon to the length you need – mine was about 12″ long. Simply criss-cross it on the bag and use glue to attach it. You don't need to “tie a knot” – the glue will secure it for you.

You might want to use the “low” temp setting here, I forgot to switch mine and gave myself a nasty burn! Ouch!!

Add a pretty button, brooch, silk flower or another embellishment to “finish” this detail. Use the glue gun to attach it.

And that's all it takes for How to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote!

Ta-Da! And there you have a sweet and summery DIY Beach bag!

I love how it came together! I even carried it to church this past Sunday!

I'm a sucker for sweet florals like this. It's vintage and cottage-y. So charming!

I used two leftover scraps to “pad” the handles – Just hot glue this on – super simple! And it adds a nice extra detail.

Now I'm ready to go to the beach, lake, park or anywhere the summer may take me!

I've even filled it with a few of my favorite things! My magazine (of course!) and this book which, loving all things British as I do, I think is completely charming!

Pin This Please

If you like this How to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote project, please pin it and share it. Doing that really does help me, so thank you in advance!!

I hope you'll give this a try!

Jennifer Carroll. Celebrating Everyday Life blog

16 thoughts on “How to Make an Easy DIY Summer Tote

  1. Jane says:

    So excited about your news! I would definitely buy your book! Hoping I run across a bit of the fabric that you used to make this darling tote!

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you so, so much sweet Jane! You are so kind and such a blessing!! Regarding the fabric, check out your local Joann store – that’s where I found mine. I truly love it!!! xoxo, Jennifer

  2. [email protected] Designs says:

    Love, love the bag!! You took it from ordinary to fabulous!!!….and sending prayers your way with the potential book. I know it would be a most beautiful book and I would definitely purchase it!!

  3. Julie says:

    This is such a lovely way to make a plain basket a little more special. Simple too. I do like a simple project!

  4. Kristine says:

    I always love how you use color and floral prints. So many of your posts show bright, pretty fun colors that I just really enjoy! This bag is no exception – It looks like it’s professionally made, but your tutorial (also much appreciated!) makes it look easy. Thank you for all the brightness and cheer you bring. (You also got me started on blue and white ceramic ware; I am turning into a collector!)

  5. Karren Haller says:

    Oh goodness, how cute this turned out, your inspiring me to make up a straw bag and hat I received a few years ago for a Amazon review. Now to find the right fabric!!! I pinned to share and reference.
    I would love to have you stop by and share your project so I can feature next week.#OMHGFF w/Linky

    Wishing you a lovely weekend!

  6. Emily says:

    This is darling! I love the fabric you chose! Thanks for sharing at our Merry Monday party – I’ll be featuring your DIY tote at this week’s party. We’d love to have you stop by and link up again!

  7. Sam - Raggedy Bits says:

    Absolutely love your sweet tote and the fabric you chose! I’m totally with you on those vintage floral prints! I bet you’ll be asked a million times where you got your bag from!

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful summer tote with us over at Waste Not Wednesday!

  8. Leanna says:

    This summer tote is so cute. I like the material you chose, it has a modern fresh twist on a vintage style.

  9. Sherry says:

    This was so cute! I will feature it today at Home Sweet Home! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Karren Haller says:

    I just think this bag is so cute, darling with a white outfit!
    I have Pinned and would love to have you drop by and share again this week #OMHGFF w/Linky

    Your post is being featured this week! Hope to see you there!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  11. Candace says:

    What an adorable tote! I especially love how you used up the scrap fabric for the handles. Such a great idea!

  12. Karie says:

    What an an adorable bag. I like the fabric print you used. And it looks like it would be easy to make. Thank you for sharing. Karie

  13. Alice V says:

    This is so pretty! I love the colors of this bag. I need to learn how to do more sewing besides a basic stitch. Thanks for sharing with us at #OMGHWW.

  14. Kerryanne says:

    A fun way to turn a simple bag into a summer stunner Jennifer.
    Thank you for sharing at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring your DIY summer tote at tonight’s party and pinning too.

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