I know, you aren’t like me, you don’t have boxes of stitched but unfinished needlepoint sitting around your house.
You’re good, and every piece you stitch immediately gets finished into something.
And I bet you never thought that one piece which languishes this way could never become the start of a gift so lovely, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this before.
Just about any needlepoint which is blocked so it’s square can quickly be made into an adorable tote bag with nothing more than a glue gun.
So now instead of stitching and finishing something, you can buy a ready-made tote bag at a local shop, invest in a glue gun (if you don’t have one) and make a gift.
Here’s what you need:
stitched and blocked square or rectangular needlepoint with 1″ canvas margins
low-temp glue gun
extra glue sticks
ready-made tote bag in fabric, straw or plastic
pencil or pen
Trim your needlepoint to a 1/2″ margin, Clip the corners along the diagonal so the bulk is reduced.
Plug in the glue gun. Usually these have short cords, so your work table will need to be close to an outlet.
Fold he margins so that they are turned to the back. Using the glue gun, work with on side of the needlepoint at a time and glue the margin to the back of the canvas. Hold it down briefly to make it stay.
Once this is finished, glue the needlepoint to one side of the bag. Test where you want the needlepoint to be and put marks with the pen or pencil, just inside the area to be placement guides.
Using the hot glue glue a side of the needlepoint and put it into place. Once the needlepoint is on the bag, you will need to shoot the glue between the bag and the needlepoint. I find this works best if I lay the bag flat on the table.
You may need to touch up the glue in spots to get a good seal.
Those of you who worry about heirloom quality are probably cringing right now, but shouldn’t needlepoint be fun sometimes, and shouldn’t we be able to use it without worrying about spoiling it?
The bag above is the first one I made using a pattern from Bargello Revisited and a plastic tote. I made another one this spring using another Bargello piece by Pat Mazu and a straw tote from Wal-mart.
BTW I was art my local Wal-mart yersterday and found in the small craft department packages of canvas bags, just for embellishing. There were two per package and some were natural canvas color and some were black. They were, I think, $5. With this, your needlepoint, some ribbon, and that trusty glue gun, you have it made.
And I’m planning on making lots more to use up that stash of projects in my closet.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
Very cute! I’ve always got unfinished bits of this and that, great idea!
Miss 376 says
What fantastic idea, and so simple
Gloria Morgan says
Hi, I love reading your blog. What a great idea this is about finishing things with the tote bag! Even I might be able to do this.
Thanks again, and good luck with your new home.
It looks like on this bargello tote bag, you just turned back the canvas, and glued it on there. When you have used ribbon, what do you do at the corners?
I would turn the corner as if I was mitering with the fold to the inside and glue it on. Another possibility would be to do each side separately, turn under each end, then glue parallel sides. the second set of sides would overlap the first set on the ends.
This is a really good idea, to turn an ordinary tote into something special. I like it.