duct tape and staples assembly!

Here is the promised tutorial from Elaine.

This bag was made from a magazine, duct tape and packing tape!


I could make it in two hours once I had my pictures figured out.


This book was my inspiration Simply Sublime Bags, 30 No-Sew, Low-Sew Projects by Jodi Kahn.

Talk about coincidence! This is the same book Jo had on her stack of things she got from Kayla. I happened upon it in the library.  The cover does not do it justice. I was intrigued when I saw the author used duct tape and staples as a means to put together a bag. I had to try it. Could it work?

I was contemplating a thank you gift at that time and this just fell into place. I modified/combined two of her projects. So now I have been making these as thank you gifts with the recipient’s interests in mind. I see many other things that would make great bags like my sons Lego catalog, the instructions to his model airplane . . .

I had everything for my first bag on hand. She encourages repurposing items like a bag out of a twister game mat found at a garage sale. This book made my mind whirl with possibilities.

She came up with creative ideas for handles as well.  She used bungee cords on one, which I used on my first bag. I can not say enough good things about this book for fun and individual creative expression.


Items of interest to be made into a bag

Scotch tape

Double stick tape

Packing tape -all packing tape is not created equal. I have used Scotch  packing tape with success.

Duct tape -my husband bought me a six or eight pack of regular duct tape after he saw that first bag. I bought the colored for trims only, as a cost factor.  Those colors are great.

Stapler and staples

Grommets and grommet tool

Something for a handle

Step 1

This was an American Cowboy magzine, June/July issue. I picked out the bigger pictures I liked.


I used advertisement and smaller articles to fill in the sides and bottom. I try to have a focus area in the middle. Allow 1/2 inch on the sides where the staple will be. I have used bigger “seams” when it was a larger bag.Picture5

This is the more time consuming part of this bag. Moving pieces around until they feel right to you.  I found it easy to end up with a bigger bag than intended.  I was always finding more pictures or stories I wanted to add. I probably read everything in that issue including the adds. I learned plenty.


I piece two inches above the picture for turning over.  If a grommet would cover a picture or words I want seen, I will adjust adding more on top.  I have made three bags so far out of that one magazine and have makings for two more.



Notice the shape of this collage’. My first bag was a rectangle, sides stapled and the end was an excess triangle taped to the bottom.  I adapted another bag bottom shaped more like this to avoid excess “fabric” to tape down. I started with her measurements from the keyhole clutch (1 ¾ “ wide and 1 ¼ high).  I admit to using a “by guess and by golly” method.  This is the last bag I made and the bottom turned out square!

Step 2

Attach the packing tape to the collage’, over lapping each strip.


Step 3

Flip over and attach the duct tape, also over lapping, Square up the  edges.


Step 4

With duct tape side facing up, fold down 2 inches.  Tape this with duct tape.  Depending on the bag, I have used the colored duct tape in this area for fun.


Step 5

Fold the piece with right sides together and staple half and inch from the side.


Step 6

Miter the top corner. Use clear packing tape over the top edge going from the right side of the bag to the inside right, on the seam.  This holds the staples in place when it gets turned and flattens the seam.


This picture also shows applying a piece of duct tape to each side of the seam to hold it down. My friend, Cathy, devised this method of opening the seam. The author (Jodi) just used one piece to hold the seam open.  I have adopted Cathy’s way.  The seam is very stiff to open. The second side of the seam is easier.

Both seams taped down


Jodi put her bag over the end of her ironing board to work on it.

Then one strip of tape down the middle covering the entire seam.


Step 7

Staple the ends


I square up what I think the bag size needs for a bottom. I like them to stand up. I trim the extra and fold a piece of tape over the whole thing covering the staples which can be sharp when turning the bag.

Step 8

I put two rows of colored tape around this bag at this point. It covered the seams and all.


Step 9

Turn the bag!  The moment I have been waiting for. . .  when I get to see how the bag turned out.  I push in the corners first and work around the bag in a circle to turn it right side out.  Due to the layers it takes a bit to work it around.


Step 10

Tape the end seam down to the inside, bottom of the bag. I found pushing the excess of the seam against the bag opens up the seam more  before taping it down. I think you will understand when you are doing it.  Add grommets, per instructions on grommet packaging. There are other methods for handle attachment, if you prefer.  The grommets were new to me. I really enjoyed them. They changed the whole look of the bag.


duct tape and staples?


I am Elaine.  I live on the eastern side of Washington State in the desert. I moved from Minnesota 10 years ago to follow my husband. I miss my family and friends, but I don’t miss the snow.

My husband, 10 year old son and I traveled back to Minnesota this summer to visit family. I contact Jo to let them know we would be in the area. She introduced me to the world of blogging and invited me to be a guest blogger.  I do sew, bead and I like to repurpose things.

I am attempting to put together a tutorial for you on these bags. I used the last three cowboy bags pictured for the tutorial. I hope it makes sense. These are fun and addicting. People who see them can’t believe I made them. They look like plastic, as one person said.  I don’t know how long they last.  I am guessing they are easily repaired by packing tape if they wear through.  One last thing . . .

Have fun!

My first bag made from a Sport Aviation magazine and an EAA catalog.

picture1a (2)


My second bag had a keyhole clutch made from a gardening catalog. One side had an advertisement of 2 for some price, but I cut out an eggplant and taped it over. You could not notice in the end.

A Bag made from a Farmers Almanac calendar.


A bag for a science/math teacher, this handle was a hit and was bought for 50 cents at a Habitat for Humanity Restore by someone else. I got the part they no longer wanted. I knew it would come in handy one day. The other side had WA State facts and multiplication facts on the bottom. This side was from a unit on electricity.

A bag for reading/spelling teacher with the lists tore out by my son each week. The background was reversible scrapbook paper.  The inside was purple duct tape, the handle a grosgrain ribbon that coordinated with the brown bottom.


An old Seattle map for a big bag and a smaller bag that had a magnetic closure, new thing for me. I still want to try making her zippered bag using a stapler. I used another bungee for the handle.





These last three bags I made as thank you gifts for those tending the place while we were away.

Check back tomorrow for the tutorial to make your own bag!

psssst  . . .He is risen indeed!

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: