It’s nearly back to school season already! So, whether you have kiddos at home or are just looking for an excuse for a new lunch bag, I have you covered with a DIY canvas and leather version that works for adults and kids.
They’re sewn from hand painted water-resistant canvas, so you can mess with the dimensions, designs, etc to get it just right for you (or your kid). Here’s how to make your own!
What You’ll Need to Make a Canvas Lunch Bag for Back to School
- medium to heavyweight canvas (11.5 in x 29 in makes one lunch bag)
- fabric paint and paint brush (if creating your own design)
- fabric wax sealant – optional (I use Otter Wax, which you can get on Amazon)
- leather strap or scrap (see dimensions needed in step 7)
- gold button and screw back
- leather / fabric hole punch
- measuring tape and marking chalk
- sewing machine
How to Make a Canvas Lunch Bag for Back to School
1. Start by measuring and cutting a 11.5 in x 29 in piece of canvas. If you’re painting your own design on the canvas or dyeing the canvas a solid color, now is the time to complete that process.
You can use fabric paint, a little water to thin out the paint if desired, and a paint brush. OR you can dye the entire piece of canvas using this technique: how to dye natural fibers. Wait for it to completely dry before moving onto the next step.
2. Once cut, fold the canvas in half and pin, as shown in photo.
3. Next, fold the top edges down 1/2 inch and sew a straight line (1/4 inch from the edge). Backstitch at the beginning and end of each side.
4. Then sew a straight line on both sides (1/4 inch from the edge), leaving the top open. Backstitch at the beginning and end of each side.
5. Next, match up the bottom corners of the bag to each other (as shown in the photo) and fold, forming a diamond shape. On both corners, mark a line 2 in away from the corner and then draw a horizontal line 4 in across. Sew over the lines and cut off the corners, leaving a 1/2 in edge.
6. Turn the bag right side out and press out all four corners. Then, form the bag into a lunch bag shape and iron all four vertical creases from the bottom corner to the top of the bag. Also, iron a horizontal crease from each corner on the bottom allowing the bag to stand on its own.
8. Next, attach the button, screw back, and 1/2 inch square piece of leather you just cut, 4 inches down from the top of the bag (on the front). You’ll have to use a hole punch for all the pieces. See photo for how assembly should look.
9. Then, sew one side of the leather strip to the back of the lunch bag and punch a hole toward the bottom of the loose end. You should now be able to roll the top of the lunch bag down and close it by hooking the other side of the leather onto the button closure.
Making it water resistant! If desired, you can finish the lunch bag off by making it water resistant with a fabric wax sealant, like this one. Just follow the instructions on the packaging to cover the canvas in a protective wax layer.
It’s really easy, but does take some time to complete. Depending on the strength of your sewing machine, you may be able to complete the wax step prior to sewing (like at the end of step #1). If not, you can wait until the bag is completed.
Photography Amelia Lawrence
What do you think of this back to school project?! Would you ever make your own lunch bag for work?