How to Make Book Bags

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Instead of a tote bag tutorial, today we’re featuring an upcycled book bag pattern, or rather, a book bag tutorial. For a book bag that‘s green in every way. 100% recycled.


Make this adorable summer handbag as a summer project for yourself or as a gift for a friend.



how to make a book bag tutorial

While this bag looks sophisticated, it’s very easy to make.



You Can Handle Making this Bag!

The hardest part is possibly finding a pair of handles, as not every town or village supplies these.

However, I even took the sting out of that task, as I found you a gorgeous bamboo set of handles (and a couple of other bag handles) that you can simply order online…


But first, the video tutorial: DO LOOK AT IT TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO MAKE THE BOOK BAG.



Bag Making Video tutorial


book  bag tutorial

This is essentially all you’ll need to sew: two triangles of double fabric, four strips to go through your handles, plus the inside lining of your bag.

You probably have some scrap fabric that is large enough to handle this size project…


book bag

The fabric lining can be sewn for neatness, but can also just be glued onto the paper cover.


How easy is that!??




Book Bag Pattern Variations

I bet that after you’ve made one, you’ll make many more, all with a slightly varying pattern, probably. I personally want to add a silk top cover with a drawstring so as to be able to close the bag and my lipsticks won’t fall out when the bag lays on its side.


A great summer project to do for older girls, or moms. Made from big brother’s or dad’s old recycled books.  Or perhaps summer flee market finds….




Great Handmade Designer Hand Bag Handles

I promised that I’d find you some awesome handles to go with this bag. Here are 4 different styles, that all match this kind of bag… as well as other handmade designer bags.



handbag handles bamboo
Clover U Shape Bamboo Design Bag Handle

bag handles square

Designer Bag Handles Square 5-Inch By 3-Inch, Ebony

bag handles black

Clover U Shape Black Bag Handle

bag handles amber

Clover U Shape Amber Bag Handle

image & video source:


Tote Bag Monday – Series

Nautical Beach Bag

Hello Kitty Mini Tote Bag


Anthropologie tote bag

Anthropologie Inspired Tote Bag Making

Ruffled Tote Bag with Matching Coin Purse (Free Designer Pattern)



Tote Bag with Pompoms

(Free Designer Pattern)

Sturdy Modern Tote Bag (Free Designer Pattern)


  1. I think my teenage daughter will totally love this one. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Those bags look awesome! Thanks for the tutorial! Can’t wait to make one.

  3. This is such a great idea, and it looks super easy too! Bet I can make that!
    Thanks for sharing

  4. Your book bag is GORGEOUS- I can’t wait to make some of these! Thank for sharing, I’m a new follower!

  5. Oh wow. How cool is that! I love it and printed the instructions so I could give it a whirl myself. Thank you.

  6. Wow what a fun idea!!! I love it!

  7. I added this to my list of favorites.

    Thanks for posting this is an adorable idea.


  8. I totally don’t get the “triangle from standing the book up , where you drew, and the triangle that you got. ??

  9. Fine Craft Guild says:

    Fran, those triangles are the SIDES of the bag. You need there to be a wider fabric strip at the top of your bag, and the bottom of the bag is of course the width of the book. Does that make sense now?

    Andy, you are right, there could be one more picture that would show that more clearly.

  10. After watching the vid about 17 times, I managed to make one of these. A few tips:
    1. You don’t mention stitching closed the opening of the triangles after turning them right side out. I did. Turns out you dont’ have to. If you make the opening very small, you can hide it between the spine and the lining. Just make sure you sew you understand which direction the side panel goes.
    2. When gluing down the side panel, the pointy end goes up the spine, if that makes sense.
    3. Fold the side panel in half and iron a crease in the side panel before gluing, so it will fold inside the bag without it poking out.
    4. I used hot glue for the tabs and side panels, painful, but it holds better.
    5. You could use grosgrain ribbon for the tabs if you wanted.
    6. I’m going to try using a round handle with one wide tab in the center, as soon as I can find another book.
    7. Check your local library. Sometimes they give away donated or withdrawn books for free!
    8. Consider some sort of button and loop closure to make the bag more secure
    Thanks for the post!

  11. Kristen

    WOW! Thank you sincerely for so much detailed commentary. That is wonderful. I WOULD ABSOLUTELY **LOVE ** TO SEE your bag and how it turned out. And perhaps we can even publish one or two of them. What do you say.

    I shall read over YOUR suggestions a couple of times and edit the article. This is such a gift. Thank you!

    In Fall, oops, that is NOW, I wanted to write a tutorial for how to ‘crochet’ a book bag. In other words, rather than using material, you use crochet to put the book elements into place. It is going to be wonderful.. So, your suggestions are SO TIMELY as well.


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