Fabrics BrightBack

Published on October 13th, 2007 | by Jules Yap


blog action day! reusable ikea totes

oct 15 is blog action day. a day bloggers around the web unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment. since i won’t have internet access on monday, i’m posting this early – a simple hack to remind us to reuse and recycle. better yet, upcycle. here, marlo shows us how to add a little creative chic to scrap.

marlo says, “after hanging 6 sets of hedda curtains, my friend julie gave me all of the scrap fabric she trimmed off the bottom of each curtain. i used that material to make some reusable shopping/grocery tote bags that i call “Tote2Go!” i used a plastic grocery bag as the template to create the totes. each tote is handmade in my seattle, wa studio; fully lined and reinforced at the seams using only reclaimed, repurposed or remnant fabric. it even folds into its own pocket for portability!
BrightBack BrightFront BrightFolded


you can get a tote2go from here.

More hacks on IKEAHackers.net

eames hacking?
stolmen and jarpen bookshelves

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

29 Responses to blog action day! reusable ikea totes

  1. James says:

    Good collection of colorful bags at lowest prices are available at FranklinCovey store……!

  2. Anonymous says:

    They are great looking colorful totes, good enough to compare with the artistic Funtote and the fashionable Marimekko totes.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very nice bag, very colorful, good enough to compare with the artistic Funtote and Fashionable Marimekko.

  4. hexychick says:

    It’s a great concept and I like that they are handmade and portable but I’m gonna have to partly agree with the anonymous comments here and say that they are a bit overpriced. $18 to $35 for a shopping bag is a bit much and not only that, but the patterns are limited so if you don’t like the patterns (which sorry, thats not my taste) and the size of the big seems kind of small so you’re going to have to buy more than one to make a difference so to me, it’s not worth the investment. You’re also using leftover fabric and repurposed materials so where’s that cost coming from other than labor? Considering this is an IKEA hacking site, shouldn’t it be promoting the $0.59 gigantic blue bag that IKEA now sells directly? I bought 4 of them and use them for everything including road trips, camping, hauling in groceries, trips to the big warehouse stores like Costco that don’thave bags, etc. Granted, they are huge and made of tarp-like material, but you can’t go wrong for 59 cents.

  5. Jackie says:

    This is a cute bag. I don’t know if
    I’d pay $20. I’m poor and can’t afford it. I agree that this Anon person should charge more. Great job and keep it up.

  6. blueboygifts says:

    Your bag is beautiful.
    what a handy way to recycle scraps!
    I know tons of people who would pay $20 in a HEARTBEAT. Keep on keepin on cutestuff!

    and as a sidenote-if you charge less you are robbing yourself of your time!

  7. Jes says:

    No way do you sell a fully lined bag with snaps & certain seams for $7.00. If you can’t see that you’re not respecting your time & labor, that’s YOUR problem. You are the one who is robbing yourself.

    Someone who sells her bags for $20.00, uses that money to spend. That money goes back into the AMERICAN ECONONOMY. You give away your pattern free to other HOBBYISTS on craftster AND you don’t even get paid enough to put much money back into the economy. So, essentially, you’re robbing the American economy too.

    You need to wake up before you accuse others. You’re clueless. You sound it. Good thing you posted anonymously, because the world doesn’t need to know anymore about idiots than we already do.

  8. thebeadedlily says:

    This is a really cute bag. It looks to be well made.
    $20 seems very fair to pay for that in itself.
    When you add in personality and the satisfaction of buying Indie I’d say you got yourself a deal!

  9. Jodi with an 'i' says:

    I’d pay $25 for that bag in a heartbeat. It’s beautiful. I doubt I would ever buy a bag for $7 because that leads me to think that it’s not well made or not finished properly or of poor material. I’m sorry, your bags may be wonderful but for $7 I wouldn’t expect great craftsmanship. Honestly Anon, you should be charging more for a handmade bag if it is of the quality you say it is.

    But this blog entry is about tote2go and they are awesome!

  10. The Dangerous Mezzo says:

    $20 is not overcharging! If it’s too expensive for you, don’t buy it. I would be happy to have an attractive, well made bag (made by hand, out of recycled material, and made in North America) at that price.

    You don’t need a blog or webpage to sign your name, by the way. Just click “Other” and you’ll have the option to put your real name, since you’re dying to do so.

  11. metalheart says:

    wow. i can’t believe someone wd be so rude! these are cute, well made bags that someone put their time and energy into crafting. $20 is NOT expensive! i always just assume people who say things like this have no idea what they are talking about, and just want to make other people feel as miserable as they are.

    keep up your awesome work, imakecutestuff!

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is something in this bag that you WILL NOT find in a “cheap” bag at the grocery store.
    1. Cute fabric. Cheap bags are not usually cute.
    2. Cheap bags are not well made. This bag will last many times longer just because it was made by hand and one at a time. Mass-produced may be cheap but it does not withstand the test of time.
    3. Craftsmanship. Not only will this bag last longer because it was hand made, but it has it’s own style. It has details. Your “cheap” bag has lose threads and a plastic price tag.
    4. A story. Some people are sentimental and I really know people that want to know where there stuff comes from. It makes a big difference that it came from someone’s home and not a warehouse and factory.
    5. It supports an individual and less big companies. our handmade counter culture is growing whether you like it or not. There are people (a growing number) that prefer handmade. You may be in the minority soon.
    So go ahead and put down someone’s bag because YOU don’t see the value in it. Maybe you will recieve a poor evaluation at work as karma.

    And I am posting anon because I don’t want any retaliation coming to MY shop.

  13. karabu says:

    “The point of making this bag is to save the environment not to overcharge others.”

    Maybe the point of making this is that someone can make a living doing something that they love from home.

    As you yourself pointed out, for people who don’t wnat to spend so much there are plently of sweat-shop bags avaiable for next to nothing. For people who want something just a little more special than that – there are these.

    Not everyone can sew their own.

    You buy what you like and let others do the same.

  14. BaldyLocks says:

    Great bag! I would absolutely pay that price for it! I’m not a “fool”, I know good work when I see it.


  15. kittyd says:

    Lovely bag, more than reasonably priced. It’s no wonder that it’s sold. What an adorable etsy shop you have! :)

  16. $20 too much? People usually don’t HESITATE to get a carry-out dinner for 2 for that price, but when it comes to handmade items, the price is too high FOR SOME, well, nobody forces you to buy. but some will think it’s an adequate price. iT’S ALL A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE!

  17. kiley says:

    Also, Anon, most of us don’t want to buy cheap junk from the grocery store.

    But if I find anyone who wants cheap junk, I’ll send them your way… oh WAIT! We don’t know who you are!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful bags!

    Anon-do you think you could fully support yourself by selling $7 bags? If not, I’m not sure why you posted as artisans can’t be expected to not charge for their time, materials, and skills. When people buy products like this they can know that they’re not only helping the environment but also supporting an artist instead of corporations who may have questionable ethics, sweatshops, etc.

  19. kiley says:

    Oh, brave Anonymous. Are you jealous, or bitter – not selling enough yourself? Your attitude is so unbecoming…

    I would definitely pay $20 for this fabulous bag – and I don’t know the maker from Adam. I’m pretty sure if you *can* make one for $7 it would be shoddy and/or ugly, and I wouldn’t want it.

    Yay for people who make cute things that help the environment!

  20. JesSwitaj says:

    These bags are super cute! I love the fabric. How offensive to say they aren’t worth at LEAST $20. Anyone making $7 obviously sews as a hobby, not an art. I make and sell bags as well, my cheapest is $25 and the most expensive one I have sold has been over $100. And they are worth it! I put in hours of construction time, and MORE than $7 in materials. I would NEVER buy a bag for $7 because that kind of pricetag is NOT synonymous with quality. Keep up the good work, your bags are awesome!

  21. juliapearl says:

    Regardless of the opinion, there was absolutely no call for such a nasty, mean-spirited comment. If we’re all supposed to be one big happy global village, then learn that “respect” includes refraining from senselessly hateful commentary hidden behind “Anonymous”. And of course you wouldn’t put your address out there, because you know how insensitive your comments are and don’t wish people to point that out.

    Just really disappointing that someone would post something like that on purpose.

  22. Julie says:

    People can charge what they want. $20 isn’t so ridiculous to justify the “this person is robbing you” comment.

    If people want cheap, mass produced bags, that’s fine. (Who said the bags were aimed at people looking for cheap, anyway?) If they want something more unique, and which uses leftover fabric instead of filling our landfills, then great!

    And BTW, you can leave your name without an e-mail or website. Choose “Other” and put your name. If you read below that, you’ll see that it says the fields are optional.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Very clever, and beautiful! Thanks for the tip.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I get both sides of Anon and the person selling both. On one hand it’s something so simple and not made with over the priced fabric so why sell it for so high when they could just go and buy a cheap one at the grocery store. On the other hand if you sell them so high people are barely going to afford one. The point of making this bag is to save the environment not to overcharge others. It seems like a lot of this stuff is overpriced and I use to do this to people but in the end they found that “fool” and gave that person their business.

    The reason I always post Anon. is because it’s the only way I can post. I don’t have blog or any other webpage and I’m certainly not going to give out my email address to whomever.

  25. Anna at D16 says:

    “Anonymous”: So, you sell a handmade tote bag which is (1) fully-lined, (2) reversable, (3) has a squared-off bottom, and (4) has both a snap closure and an exterior pocket … for $7.00? If that’s the case, you are a fool. The amount of time and skill that goes into crafting something like this does not warrant a price tag equivalent to (or even less than, in your case) that of something mass-produced in China.

    I have nothing to do with these bags or with the person offering them for sale, but I find your statement too offensive and too absurd to not respond. Comments like yours are almost always left anonymously, of course, leading me to the conclusion that you do not really believe in your words so much as you’d just like to cause upset. Lame.

  26. imakecutestuff says:

    Oh yay! I am so flattered that you chose my Tote2Go!s as the Ikeahack to feature for BlogActionDay! Thank you so much…that’s awesome :)

  27. Anonymous says:

    20 dollars or more for this. This person is robbing you. If you want a cheap bag, then just make your own. I sell mine for no more than 7. And the tutorial on how to make them is at craftster.org.

  28. julie says:

    I love this bag! and what a great Ikea fabric! coool!

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