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DIY Tote Bag from a Tea Towel in Less Than an Hour

Learn how to make a DIY tote bag from a thrift store tea towel. This project is easy, cute, and budget friendly! Makes a great gift idea.

Skills Required: Beginner. The sewing is very simple, so if you’re just starting out with a sewing machine, you’ll be able to tackle this project.

diy tote bag from a tea towel

If you’re a vintage and thrift store lover like me, chances are you have a sizable stash of favorite items that rarely see the light of day.

You’re either short on space to display them, or you’ve been holding out on using them for just the right occasion (like china settings) so they won’t be ruined.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from thrifting for nearly two decades, it’s that I can’t bring all the pretty things home, and if I do, I need to put it to use or pass it back along.

So, to go along with my unofficial resolution of paring down my vintage stash this year, I’m putting one of my favorite vintage tea towels to good use by sewing it into a tea towel DIY tote – perfect for a project bag or making a run to the farmers market!

Vintage Tea towel taped to the wall

This tea towel would have made a perfect wall hanging, but I just don’t have a good space for it in my house.

I love the bold flower print, and it’s 100% linen with finished edges – and it’s from the year my husband was born, so I couldn’t not bring it home with me.

But the thing is, I bought it like two years ago and I haven’t done anything with it! Time for a change. Here’s how I turned a tea towel into a tote.

tea towel tote bag

First you’re going to gather these supplies:

Tip: when you try this tutorial, ironing can help, especially if your towel is wrinkly. Use it on your edges and box corners if desired.

boxed edge of the tea towel tote

This is such a cute cottagecore craft idea. You can make a bunch of them in just a few hours.

DIY grocery bag from a tea towel

Get the printable how to card for this tote below.

Yield: 1 bag

DIY Tote Bag

diy tote bag from a tea towel

Learn how to make a tea towel tote bag the easy way! This is a perfect project for a beginning sewist.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $5


  • Tea towel
  • Thread
  • Webbing for straps


  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins


  1. Fold your tea towel in half with right sides facing each other.
  2. You'll make boxed corners. Instead of measuring and sewing off triangles. Simply take the folded bottom edge and push it up between the front and back of the fabric, creating a pleat.Folding the end of the tea towel
  3. Pin along each edge, making sure the folds line up at the bottom of your bag.Pins along the side of the tea towel
  4. Zig zag stitch in a straight line along both sides.Sewing down the edge of the towel in a zig zag stitch
  5. Pin and stitch your handles into place. If you're using webbing, I recommend sewing it on with a boxed "X" to provide more support.Braiding sewn on to the edge of the tea towel tote
  6. Flip it all right side out to use.How to sew a tote from a tea towel


My braiding was a little thick and finicky, so I just zig zagged back and forth a few times.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

This tea towel tote is so simple and quick, it makes a great last-minute gift idea. If you want more tea towel ideas, check out the other tutorials:

Floral Coloring Book Tea Towel

Adult coloring isn't just for the pages of a coloring book - use fabric markers on this DIY tea towel to make a unique Christmas, birthday, or hostess gift personalized with color! Great Silhouette or Cricut project.

Fruit Stamping on Tea Towels

DIY fruit stamping on tea towels


Saturday 20th of January 2024

Thank you for this pattern. Can't wait to try it.


Saturday 23rd of April 2022

THANK YOU! Just made 19 Tea Towel Totes from my collection (old collection!) of Tea Towels - some for gifts (with a meaning) and others for Cancer Care Kits (to put a smile on the patient's face, we hope) for our Prayer Shawl Ministry. Managed to get package of 1" herringbone cotton tape in various colours through Amazon - bit expensive but really set bags off with matching, or contrasting, handles. Have photos, if you are interested. Thank you again for helping me "get rid" of "stuff"!


Monday 6th of May 2019

I love this.


Sunday 24th of February 2019

Great idea! Seems very easy.


Monday 10th of September 2018

I hope to make a few of these bags for gifts!!

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