Canvas grocery bag hack

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

Yesterday’s post was all about how we packed our carry-on luggage, and today’s is about the kids’ “airplane activity bags” they also carried onboard (since each person is allowed two carry-ons). Instead of hefting around backpacks (which they would invariably load with way too much stuff), I wanted them to have something smaller to tote around.

I had a few of these free canvas grocery bags from Atlantic Superstore, as part of their new online shopping program. (Pssst — if you’re local, I did a full review video on Facebook.) Lots of companies give out similar bags, so chances are you have one or two floating around somewhere.

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

The trouble with these bags was that I knew everything would spill out over the floor of the airplane. NOPE, NOT DOING THAT. So I decided to “pretty them up” as well as put elastic in the top (so they could rummage around for what they needed and not have to remember to zip or button up a pocket).

Want to do the same to your own canvas bags?

1. Start with a fat quarter (or just a small piece of fabric that’s as wide as your bag).

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

2. Cut it into two strips — each one wide enough to hide any logos on your bag. I sewed my strips together to make one long strip that could wrap around my whole bag.

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

3. Fold the edges of your strip(s) under, and press them. This is so you won’t have frayed edges on your finished bag.

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

4. Wrap the strip(s) around your bag, positioning the fabric to hide any logos.

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

5. Pin the strip(s) in place. Since I had one long strip, I overlapped it and pinned it in place down the middle of one side. Sew the strip(s) to the bag. (If you just want a pretty canvas bag but don’t want the elastic closure, stop here.)

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

6. Fold the top edge of your bag down all the way around and stitch along the bottom edge — creating a long skinny pocket — but stop an inch or two before you reach where you started. This is so you can feed a piece of elastic inside. Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

7. Use a safety pin to run a piece of elastic through your skinny pocket, and tie the ends together. I used a small piece because I wanted the bag to be closely tightly, keeping Shopkins, candy, etc. from falling onto the floor of the airplane, but you can use a longer piece of elastic if your bag doesn’t need to close quite as tightly.

Sew up the tiny gap where you stuck the elastic inside the pocket, and your new and improved bag is done!

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

These bags were PERFECT for the airplane, and not a single thing rolled out of them — even after they were shoved under the seat repeatedly during our flights. They’ll also make great beach bags and summer camp bags.

Canvas grocery bag hack {Heather's Handmade Life}

Here’s what I packed in each of the kids’ bags …

A workbook, a book, pencils, cards, sunglasses, gum (for popping ears), tiny toys (in a baggie), a snack, and a treat. (Plus lip gloss and glasses in Charlotte’s bag.)

Let me know in the comments if you make one of these! 😉

So what do you think?

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