DIY Critter Bag Totes for Kids' Schoolbooks

Summer always passes by in a flash – I think it was back in July that I started seeing school supplies show up at stores! Whether you're excited for another school year or wish summer vacation was just a little bit longer, picking up new school supplies can be a lot of fun when you give them a DIY twist. Create some "buzz" on the first day of school with this simple book bag that you can make for your soon-to-be student. Double-layered ripstop nylon makes it extra durable and waterproof for any school day scenario.

Get the basics for the "Buzz Bag," first – then be sure to scroll down for more ideas, including a ladybug, giraffe and cool two-toned motif.

Buzz Bee Bag


  • Ripstop nylon – black, white and yellow (about 1/2 yard each with scrap leftover)
  • Black belt webbing (2 yards)
  • 1 waterproof zipper (optional; at least 15 inches long)
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Scissors


  1. Start out by cutting two 15-by-15-inch squares of the white and yellow ripstop nylon. (You should have four squares total once you're done cutting.) Set aside. With your black ripstop, cut six 2-by-15-inch rectangles – these will be the bag's stripes. Set aside.
  2. Pin a yellow and white square together. No need to worry about the right and wrong sides of the fabric this time! Sew the two squares together, stitching as close to the edge as possible. Repeat for the two remaining squares.
  3. On the yellow side of one square pairing, pin your black stripes into place. You can space them out evenly or place them wherever you'd like – it's up to you and how you want your bee bag to look! Repeat for the other square pairing.
  4. With the black belt webbing, cut two 15-inch pieces for the bag's handles.
  5. Take one square pairing, stripe-side up, and pin the handle onto the front of the bag, about 1 to 2 inches down from the top. Adjust the size of the bag handle depending on your child's hand size. Sew into place and reinforce with a large X. Repeat for the other side.
  6. It's time for the eyes! With your scraps, freehand cut two large eye whites and two smaller black pupils. Pin and sew onto the bag.
  7. If you'd like, add a zipper, like we did, to make sure the bag is secure. Follow your machine's directions to properly attach the zipper to the bag. If the nylon frays at all, add a small amount of Fray Check to it.

Window Shelf

OK! You've got the basics down. Congrats! Now it's time to have fun with other critters and some basic designing. Check out some other bags I created that still carry on the critter theme and stretch your little crafter's imagination.


This bag uses bright red ripstop nylon on the outside with a white lining. Black polka dots scattered all over the front give the illusion of a ladybug.


If you love giraffes, pick up some yellow and orange ripstop nylon. The orange nylon is the color of the outside of the bag, while the yellow – cut into wonky circles and shape – become the giraffe's spots.


Once you've mastered the critter bag, why not make a few basic-color options for sports gear, weekend trips, etc.? Pick your child's favorite colors and have fun!

Did you make one? Share your critter bag photos – perhaps sported proudly by your kid on the first day of class! We'll post them here in the Make It blog.


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