Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Library Tote Bags

One of my roles as a preschool teacher is to create a project with my students that parents can buy as part of the annual fundraising auction.  I have bought several of these kinds of items as a parent, but this was my first time to be on the teacher end of the project.  I remembered one year Nate's 3 year old class made adorable tote bags.  I decided my class should make library tote bags, too.

I searched the web, and the only thing I found that I really liked was this bag with book spines stamped on it.  I wanted my bag to be a bit fancier though, so I kept searching and finally ended up using a mixture of several different things I saw online plus my own imagination.

First, I sewed colorful ribbon around the top of each bag.  I used clear thread which was a pain to use in the sewing machine.  That stuff didn't behave like normal thread.  It kept unwinding too much at a time then getting tangled up on the machine.  I finally found a way to make it work, but it was almost the undoing of my sanity.  Thankfully, things got easier after that.

Next, I used duck fabric (a heavy weight fabric) and sewed library card sized pockets on the back of each bag.  Not every parent will sign their 4 year old up for a library card, (although library card was at the top of Ava's Christmas list when she was 5) but if they do then it won't get lost!  I've lost my kids' library cards a ton and it's so annoying.  I went ahead and sewed these pockets onto my kids' existing library bags since I was sewing things anyway- problem solved.

A little velcro keeps everything safe inside the pocket.

I created stamps out of cardboard and craft foam.  Using fabric paint, the kids stamped colorful "book spines" onto their totes.  I had my fingers crossed that it would work, and it did!

For finishing touches, I used letter stamps and a fabric ink pad to add the word "books" to the front...

and each child's name to the back.

Now I have the stack of bags on my washing machine because I need to heat set all the paint and ink with an iron.  After that, the bags will be done.  I really like how they turned out.

I had a system going and was churning these bags out pretty quick once I got started.  Now that I have the supplies, maybe I'll make a few as gifts or something.  Or maybe I'll start my own library tote bag store on Etsy.  Probably not, but a girl can dream.


Rachel said...

Adorable. I especially love the card pocket. So creative!

Green-Eyed Mama said...

Beautiful work, Becky! I love the bags, and I'm sure that the parents will, too.

Jenni said...


Christina said...

Love the bags, and I agree with Rachel. The card pocket is such a great idea!

Elizabeth Mai said...

Becky! I'm following you again! I've started to get going on my blog again, and decided I needed to check in on yours. So cool that you ended up on the same Rawanda trip as my friend Tiffany - looks like a great experience! Good to "see" you again. :)

Dara said...

So cute!