I’m declaring this Back to School Week here on Charlotte’s Fancy, and I’m kicking it off with this fun, stripey tote made from colorful duct tape and Tyvek mailing envelopes.
The idea/tutorial comes from Todd Oldham’s excellent Kid Made Modern and is inspired by the futuristic work of Danish designer Verner Panton. Here’s the KMM rainbow version:
All you need is:
- Duct tape in whatever colors you choose
- Two Tyvek mailing envelopes
- Sharp scissors (I ended up using small sewing scissors which cut the tape best)
First, seal both of the envelopes. Take one envelope and cut it open at the top – this is going to be the main part of your tote bag.
To attach the flap (the 2nd envelope), lay it sideways over the first envelope (make sure the cut side of the first envelope is at the top) and tape it down. The two envelopes should overlap about 4 inches.
Now that the flap is taped down, you can do the fun part: decorate the outsides (both sides) of the envelopes in whatever colors and designs. I used stripes, but you could also cut shapes and letters out of the tape too.
This is how mine turned out:
(With the flap down ↑)
(With the flap up ↑)
Decorating the tote bag is a little time consuming – you might struggle at the beginning, figuring out the best way to cut the tape cleanly (straight). Also, the tape is too hard for young kids to work with. They can help you pick colors and patterns, but they’re not going to be able to make this tote by themselves. A teenager could make the tote, though.
After you’ve finished decorating, the next step is to make the bottom of the tote flat. This step is a little awkward – it feels like you need four hands to do it, and the book’s photos are not entirely clear about how you’re supposed to do this, so I will do my best to show you how I did it.
First, fold up the bottom edge of the tote about an inch, like this:
Then fold the corners in like this:
Stick your hand inside the bottom of the bag and open up the folds you just made. What I found, after playing with it a little is that the corners on both ends of the bottom of the bag naturally fold into this flap position, creating a flat bottom:
Take a piece of tape (I used silver) and tape across the bottom, over the flaps, so that it looks like this:
Now, all that’s left to do is make a strap, which is simply two pieces of 24″ tape stuck together. Attach the strap to both the outside and to the inside of your bag with additional pieces of tape. (I used silver for the handle, and taped it to the bag with light blue).
Once you’ve taped both ends of the strap to the tote bag, you can fill it with fun stuff. Like some brand new school supplies.
And then all you need is…
some cute kid who needs a funky, new tote bag!
This is the fourth project I’ve done with Kid Made Modern – I just love this book. The first three are here (Marimekko inspired scarves), here (Alexander Girard inspired wooden spoon puppets) and here (Eames inspired house of cards).
If you’re feeling inspired, you could also make an iPad tote/case, a wallet, or an iPod or iPhone case. If you do, please send me pictures!