Totally Totebag

by Leigh O’Brien

Create a darling little tote bag out of one sheet of cardstock.


  • One 8.5" x 11" sheet of cardstock
  • Scoring tool
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Large background stamp or stamps of your choice
  • Inkpad - color of your choice
  • Red Line Tape (or strong adhesive of choice)
  • 1/16" hole punch
  • 12 small brads
  • Brown or contrasting ink and marker for stitching and sponging edges (optional)
  • Embellishments


  1. Step 1

    Download pdf template file. Print directly onto cardstock or print on white paper and photocopy onto cardstock. (Template will print in a very light gray color and lines will not be seen on your finished project.)

    Totally Totebag Template

  2. Step 2

    Score template on all dotted lines.

  3. Step 3

    Cut out pattern on solid lines. Save scraps to use for bag handles and side straps.

  4. Step 4

    Turn pattern face down and stamp background on front and back sides as well as thinner side pieces.

  5. Step 5

    Fold down top 1/2" on both front and back of totebag towards stamped side of bag. Adhere with red line tape and crease fold with bone folder.
    You now have a contrasting top edge since it's plain and not stamped.

    Add stitch lines to edges as shown in the sample. Use contrasting ink to sponge edges of all sides. Set aside.

  6. Step 6

    From cardstock scraps, cut side straps - 2 pieces (1" x 2.5") and handles - 2 pieces (1/2" x 6").

    Add stitch lines to edges as shown in the sample. Use contrasting ink to sponge edges of all sides.

  7. Step 7

    Measure 3/4" from left edge of top front of bag and adhere one end of handle.
    Measure 3/4" from right edge of top front of bag and adhere other end of handle as shown in photo.
    Punch 1/16" hole and insert brad to decorate and reinforce handle. Repeat for the back to the bag.

  8. Step 8

    Measure 3/4" down from top edge of front of bag and put right end of side strap approx. 3/8" overlapping left edge of the front of the totebag.
    Punch 1/16" holes in corners of side strap and totebag front at the same time. Do not adhere at this time.
    Repeat this step for each side of both the front and back of totebag and for each end of the side strap.

  9. Step 9

    Fold small flaps on sides of totebag inwards as if your were now making the bag. Use punched holes to mark where holes need to be punched on those small inside flaps. Make sure to mark all four flaps. Punch 1/16" holes.

  10. Step 10

    Hold one end of side strap over edge of front side of totebag - lining up holes in side strap, front of bag, and inside flap. Insert brads.

  11. Step 11

    Repeat with other side of bag front.

  12. Wrap side straps around to back of bag, again lining up all punched holes - and insert brads.

    It will help if you crease the small inward "v" on the sides of the bag when inserting brads on the back side.

  13. Step 12 (Optional)

    Adhere photo turn, button, or buckle to top fold of front of bag as a clasp.

  14. Step 13

    Decorate straps of the bag with ribbon or add a big flower to the front. The decorating portion is up to you! Fill with raffia or goodies and have fun!



    Patterned Paper Tote
    Try the template with a two sided piece of patterned scrapbook paper for a cool look for holiday favors.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Totally Totebag. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

What is the finished size of this cute bag? Will it hold cards as a gift?
Joan Norman  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 5:32 AM
Super sweet! Thank you for the template.
Sandra K  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:05 AM
Hi Joan,
The finished box measures
heigh:t 2 3/4"
width: 3 3/4"
depth: 1 1/2"
beate  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:21 AM
Love this bag,Thanks for the template, good instruction video. Like to use this to give some cards for christas.
jogry/bali  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:29 AM
This is just darling! I will definitely be making a bunch of these! Thanks, Leigh!!
Holly aka Toy  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:31 AM
Super cute! Can't wait to try it. Are the extra side pieces necessary?
Lynn Flippen  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:40 AM
Love this, I am looking for ideas to use as gift card holders. This looks perfect! Thanks so much for sharing.
Tabitha  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:42 AM
Luv it! beautiful and so clever - will certainly be using it.
Estelle McLachlan  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:43 AM
Fantastic tutorial. This is so adorable!!!
Cheri Wenger  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:45 AM
Can't locate the template under resources for the Totally totebag. Where can I download this.
Cathy  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 6:58 AM
Hi Cathy - the link to the tutorial is in step 1. smile
Lydia  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 7:00 AM
This is so adorable! Wish my printer was working, darn it!!
Cathy  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 7:41 AM
Adorable and so perfect to hold a gift card! The finished picture is so pretty. I can't wait to try one out. Thank you!!
StampinCatMom  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 7:46 AM
Absolutely gorgeous!! I will certainly use the template. Thanks so very much for sharing!!
Beverly Polen  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 9:27 AM
This is the cutest bag I've seen. Do you have a template for a larger bag for giving 4-6 cards as a gift?
Kelli  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 9:37 AM
Wendie Waldman  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:14 AM
Hello! I am new to SC and I love this tutorial. I have downloaded the template, however, nothing shows up when I tried printing it. Just wondering...
Thanks for sharing!
Cyndi  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:14 AM
This is just adorable! Can't wait to make them with my scrappin' junkie friends Friday evening!!
Sharon  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 11:25 AM
Thank you for the information, Beate.
Joan Norman  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 12:57 PM
Cyndi...the template prints pretty light. Make sure that your paper isn't too dark. Or, you can print onto white paper and transfer the pattern or make a darker copy in a copier and use that. Hope I'm making sense. Can't wait to see more samples in the gallery. Thanks Beate for creating the video!
Leigh OBrien  |  Wed Sep 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM

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