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Canvas Tote Bag

Transform a canvas drop cloth into this stylishly fringed and durable tote. It's easy to make and ideal for groceries, shopping trips, or a day at the beach.

Canvas tote bag with flowers

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

Few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Measuring tape
  • Straightedge
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Scissors
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing supplies
  • Sewing machine


  • 4' x 5' canvas drop cloth, #197749
  • 1/2" x 48" dowel, #19382
  • 1/4" plywood, 2' x 4', #6197

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


Step 1

Have a Lowe's associate cut two 16"-long pieces from a 1/2" dowel and a 6-1/2" x 15-1/2" tote bottom from 1/4" plywood. Round over the edges and corners of the plywood and ends of the dowels with sandpaper to avoid damaging the fabric. Wash, dry, and iron the drop cloth before cutting parts.

Step 2

Download the Tote Bag Pattern. Snip one edge near a corner and rip the drop cloth along one side to create a starting edge for the pattern. Transfer dimensions on the parts patterns to the canvas drop cloth using a pencil, a straightedge, and a measuring tape. Snip and rip the drop cloth to make one 43" x 17" rectangle for the tote body, two 18" x 8" rectangles for the sides, and two 10" squares for the handle facings.

Step 3

Pull off no more than 1/4" of loose threads from all sides of the drop cloth pieces to create fringe.

Step 4

Use the Body Pattern as a guide to mark the center points on each long and short edge of the body piece. Use the Side Pattern to mark the center on one short edge of each side piece.

Step 5

Follow the Handle Facing Pattern to mark a centered U shape that's 7" down from the top edge and 4-1/2" wide. Position the handle-facing piece on the inside face of the body, centered and with the ends flush. Stitch the two layers of cloth together following the U marking on the handle facings and pivoting at the corners, as shown in Body Assembly Step 1. Cut out a rectangle 1/2" inside the stitching line, as indicated in Step 2. Clip corners as shown, then turn the facing to the outside and press. Topstitch the facing 1/2" from the frayed edges as shown in Step 3.

Step 6

To assemble the tote, match the center markings and pin the side pieces to the body. Stitch using 1/2" seams, pivoting at the corners as shown in the End View. Press the seam open flat. The fringed seam allowance side is the outside face of the tote.

Step 7

Finish the bag by folding over 2-1/2" of the bag top toward the outside, fringed edges exposed. Pin and stitch 1/2" from the frayed edges, as shown in the Side View. Stitch a second row 1" from the folded edge to hold the dowels securely. Insert both dowels and tack at the side seams to keep the dowels from sliding. Insert the plywood rectangle into the bottom of the tote.